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Top chef Moriarty (28) volunteers to help feed healthcare workers


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Feeding frontline staff: Chef Mark Moriarty is helping to produce 250 meals three times a week for staff at the ICU in Naas General Hospital in Co Kildare  and Connolly Hospital in Dublin.

Feeding frontline staff: Chef Mark Moriarty is helping to produce 250 meals three times a week for staff at the ICU in Naas General Hospital in Co Kildare and Connolly Hospital in Dublin.

Feeding frontline staff: Chef Mark Moriarty is helping to produce 250 meals three times a week for staff at the ICU in Naas General Hospital in Co Kildare and Connolly Hospital in Dublin.

Former World Young Chef of the Year Mark Moriarty is using lockdown to help feed frontline staff with meals that have a Michelin star touch.

The 28-year-old Dubliner works under head chef Mickael Viljanen at Dublin's Greenhouse restaurant, which holds two Michelin stars.

Mr Moriarty and Mr Viljanen have been joined by chef Paddy Lee and are lining out to produce 250 meals three times a week for frontline staff fighting Covid-19 in the ICU at Naas General and Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown.

The chef's meals are going to four local nursing homes and community support projects in Kilcullen, Co Kildare, with the help of the local gardaí.

The food is being financed through a not-for-profit GoFundMe scheme which aims to raise €50,000.

Feeding frontline staff has a personal resonance for Mr Moriarty as his sister Laura is a nurse at a nursing home and his mother, Monica, is a strategic development manager in a private health care service.

"After the Greenhouse had to close in March, I got a call from Mickael Viljanen, our head chef, asking did we want to do something to support frontline staff which for me, made sense because my sister and mother are on the frontline as well.

"The idea is that people donate and the money we drum up is used to buy the ingredients.

"We are now producing up to 250 meals a day, three times a week. We have 10 venues on the roster at the moment, mostly nursing homes and intensive care units in the Kildare and Dublin area.

"Brian Fallon from Fallon & Byrne donated his kitchen, Fallon's of Kilcullen, and because it is a production kitchen and there are only three of us in the kitchen at one time, we have a kitchen each to prepare the meals, so we are following all the HSE guidelines," said Mr Moriarty who won the San Pellegrino World Young Chef of the Year in 2012 and has been on the Forbes 30 under 30 listing.

In Kilcullen, the three chefs are packing the meals full of flavours. One recent menu included Korean spiced beef with chickpea salad and cucumber and chilli relish followed by a dessert of 70pc chocolate mousse with raspberries.

During lockdown Mr Moriarty has been commuting from Ventry in Co Kerry.

This week he is splitting his time further, working three days cooking for frontline staff and three days filming 'Cook-in', a new lockdown-appropriate show using store-cupboard staples which starts on RTÉ One on May 6.

Irish Independent