Sunday 17 December 2017

The Taste of success - pastry chef Aoife heads up food festival

Chef Aoife Noonan at Luna on Drury Street in Dublin. Photo: Colin O’Riordan
Chef Aoife Noonan at Luna on Drury Street in Dublin. Photo: Colin O’Riordan

Laura Lynott

At just 28, Aoife Noonan is reaching dizzying heights in the cooking world as an executive pastry chef at a restaurant empire. And it seems there is no stopping the girl who ditched a dream of teaching for the kitchen.

Ms Noonan, from Rathfarnham, Dublin, will be on hand to enthral the Taste of Dublin audience with a sweet delight - brioche pain perdu, poached apricots and whipped orange ricotta.

The dessert, a fusion of French and Italian, is atypical for a woman who loves nothing more than to experiment in the kitchen.

"I wanted to become a teacher and when I finished school I realised I'm too impatient to teach primary school children," she said. "But I loved home economics, so I decided to do a culinary arts degree at DIT."

The pastry chef has a key position shaping the dessert menu in five top Dublin eateries owned by restaurateur John Farrell.

She spends most of her time in the stylish Luna, an Italian on Drury Street, planning and creating.

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But just because she has achieved success at such a young age - even instructing other chefs - it doesn't mean she's finished there.

She recently won a prestigious award for creating a sumptuous chocolate dish for the Valrhona patisserie competition, which only comes to Ireland from France every two years.

And she has just finished a stint teaching at the Dublin Cookery School - it seems a little piece of her didn't leave the aspiration to teach behind.

"I love teaching," she said. "I love the interaction with students and watching them improve, it's so rewarding."

And when she isn't busy being superwoman, Ms Noonan is keeping tabs on the social networks of French and Italian chefs.

"I get great inspiration to see what a pastry chef has on his menu on a particular day. But I want to go much further than that - I want to travel around Italy and France and beyond. I admire chefs who want to cook Irish dishes but for me it's important to look to other countries too," she said.

Ms Noonan said that despite being able to master some of the most difficult creations, sometimes simplicity is key.

"My number one favourite is a Victoria sponge with a cup of tea," she said.

Ms Noonan will treat the Taste audience to a Make Life Delicious cooking demonstration on Saturday, June 17, at 8.45pm.

Irish Independent

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