Sunday 27 May 2018

Well-known FG faces cook up a storm at 'dinner with a twist' party

Health Minister Simon Harris' team came out on top at the cooking contest
Health Minister Simon Harris' team came out on top at the cooking contest
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

IT sounds more ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ than ‘Masterchef’.

Fine Gael ministers, TDs and senators were invited by the party hierarchy to 'dinner with a twist' last night.

And Independent.ie can reveal that the 'twist' was that the group, including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, had to cook for themselves.

After a five hour meeting to discuss Fine Gael’s  approach to a referendum on repealing the Eighth, the parliamentary party decamped en masse to Cooks Academy on South William Street in Dublin city centre.

FG ministers, TDs and senators show off their cooking certificates
FG ministers, TDs and senators show off their cooking certificates

The politicians were divided into teams and tasked with cooking dinner from scratch. And while some were hesitant to start with, sources insist everybody got involved.

"The idea was to keep morale up after what was a very constructive but tough debate," said a source.

Chefs from the academy passed judgement on the various meals produced – with a team including Health Minister Simon Harris coming out on top.

The minister, who is in charge of the Government’s approach to the Repeal referendum, was paired with junior ministers Patrick O’Donovan and Brendan Griffin, as well as senators Jerry Buttimer, Gabriel McFadden and Martin Conway.

It is not known what Mr Varadkar or Tánaiste Simon Coveney served but one participant described the competition as "intense".

"There was some suspicion that Harris was given the award because he’s the minister over all the bodies that look after food safety and regulations for restaurants," joked one TD.

The team building exercise came on the eve of the Dáil’s return from its Christmas break.

TDs are back in Leinster House today for the new term that will be heavily focused on whether to change abortion laws.

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