Food news: Getting serious about that cookery course
Whatever about the fantasy of throwing it all in and heading off to Ballymaloe for a career-changing three-month cookery course, the fact is that a Dublin-based course is a more practical option for many.
Dublin Cookery School is highly regarded within the industry, and the guest chefs joining the school's resident tutors on its upcoming full-time Three-Month Certificate Course include Danni Barry from Belfast's Michelin-starred Eipic (the first Irish woman to hold a Michelin star since the late Catherine Healy of Dunderry Lodge), John Wyer of Forest Avenue, and Sunil Ghai of Pickle.
The school will run two three-month courses during 2017, the first of which kicks off on January 3. This should give prospective students - those with dreams of starting a food-truck, opening a restaurant, starting a food business or simply sloping off and working in a ski-chalet - just about enough time to hand in their notice from that Dullsville job.
The course is also ideally suited to those who want to up their game when it comes to home-cooking and entertaining - and there can't be many people interested in food who wouldn't jump at it, given half a chance.
"The Dublin Cookery School course is an intensive, hands-on, practical route to acquiring the expertise and skills needed to pursue a career in the food industry," says director, Lynda Booth (pictured), "or simply an opportunity to deepen and broaden the personal kitchen knowledge of students with no particular career agenda in mind."
The school is housed in a slick 3,000 square foot, purpose-built, state-of-the-art premises in Blackrock, Co Dublin. Classes on the course are for a maximum of 24 students, who take frequent field trips meeting Irish food producers, industry experts in wine and cheese, food business advisors and health and safety professionals.
They participate in three of the school's pop-up restaurant nights, helping to prepare and cook a five-course tasting menu for up to 70 paying diners. Students also get the opportunity to take a 'stage' placement in a top Dublin restaurant as part of the course. Previous students have gained experience at Chapter One, L'Ecrivain, Bastible, Delahunt, Forest & Marcy, Forest Avenue, One Pico, Etto, Mulberry Garden, Restaurant Forty One, The Pig's Ear, Bang Restaurant and Dax.
Graduates have gone on to work in some of Ireland's best restaurants and abroad, opened their own food businesses, or fulfilled their own potential as home cooks. The next course runs from Tuesday, January 3 to Friday, March 24 and costs €8,590. The second course runs from Monday, September 11 to Friday, December 1. Ask Santa! To book, visit dublincookeryschool.ie
Burgers & beers
At Clonskeagh House, chef Gaz Smith is so taken by Irish Dogs for the Disabled that he's selling his excellent rib eye burgers with a three-cheese rarebit and Ballymaloe relish, fries and a pint of Foxes Rock IPA or Finns Pilsner for €13.90, with €1 from each sale going to the charity. Available until the end of December. For more details, visit clonskeaghhouse.ie
It's show time
Dinner cabaret may be on the way back, if new venue Magistorium is anything to go by. Located on South Anne Street, Dublin, upcoming acts include Frankie Gavin and De Dannan, Mary Coughlan, Dervish and west of Ireland band Moxie (pictured), with prices from €55 for dinner and show, €25 show only. For more information, visit magistorium.com