The mental-health advocate and entrepreneur talks about his favourite meal on honeymoon, and how lasagne always calls for a celebration
What was your favourite childhood meal?
My mum, Susan, makes the best lasagne. I'm slightly biased, but when lasagne was on the menu in our house, it meant all the family were coming over for dinner or a celebration, so that, to me, was always welcomed.
What is the meal you will always remember?
I think my most memorable meal was in Bali, on my honeymoon, with my wife, Alison, at a place called Restaurant Locavore. It was such an incredible experience. Each dish was prepared by a different chef, who would then serve it to your table and talk you through your dish.
What was your defining food experience?
I knew I wanted to get into the hospitality business since I was young. I was brought to The Orchard, The Dropping Well, or The Goat with my father, and I enjoyed the exciting atmosphere of people enjoying their Sunday lunch, or an engagement party, Communion, or just a rugby game. Growing up visiting those pubs and seeing what they did for a community was inspiring, and I knew it was definitely the future for me.
What's the first dish you ever cooked?
Probably a Pot Noodle, if I'm being honest, but my first proper meal would have been a Sunday roast followed by a cheesecake. I always loved experimenting with cheesecakes having visited America when I was younger - however, I never ate them!
What is your comfort food?
A roast chicken with some avocado, rice and one of my many hot sauces over the top. A big bowl of that in front of the TV, watching Netflix, is my comfort. It's what I miss most when I'm abroad!
Worst meal ever?
I ordered andouillette sausage [a smoked sausage made with innards, lean pork chunks and other seasonings] without knowing what it was, and I nearly got sick from the smell alone. It was like eating something on Fear Factor!
What is your hangover cure?
Wing It [burger] or Bujo Burger! Easy! Ideally someone else goes and gets it for me, while I stay in bed nursing the man flu of hangovers.
What do you drink?
My favourite quick-and-easy drink is a spiced rum and Coke - but not normal Coke, it has to be the Signature Mixers Range and, ideally, the Spicy Notes version. My house favourite rum is Akal Chai Rum, if I'm feeling like I deserve to celebrate. I also like anything from Bacardi and Plantation. My favourite cocktail is a Mai Tai, and my favourite glass of white is a Picpoul. Down in the pub, I'd have a Murphy's or now and then, an Appleman's Cider.
What's always in your kitchen?
I cannot cook without hot sauce. I have a drawer of hot sauces in my kitchen, and there are about 30 different varieties in there at any one time.
What's your favourite restaurant in Ireland?
For a high-end treat, I'd choose L'Ecrivain on Baggot Street, or Clanbrassil House on Upper Clanbrassil Street.
Zinc in Antibes, in the South of France - ask for Philippe.
Doug is the creator of 'Ohana, Ireland's first tiki bar, on Harcourt Street, D2.
Sunday Indo Life Magazine