Sunday 18 March 2018

The Edge: Chef-to-the stars Marc finds love in Marbs

Loved up: Marc Quinlan with his new love Penny
Loved up: Marc Quinlan with his new love Penny
Surprise: Tanya and Baz
Now: Aoife Walsh at the Pride of Ireland Awards
Pantoland: Karen Koster is heading to the panto
He's behind ya: Alan Hughes (centre) as Sammy Sausages.
On the catwalk: At the Oireachtas Charity Fashion Show last week were, from left, Senator Catherine Noone, Minister for Health Leo Varadkar, and Helen McEntee TD
Dail show: Model Sarah Morrissey was also at the Oireachtas Fashion Show.
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

From London to Cape Town, from Monte Carlo to Marbella, the Irish have been spending their new fortunes with an alacrity that would have made their forefathers blush," the late Alan Ruddock wrote in the Observer in July 2001.

During the Celtic Tiger era, the wealthy Irish seemed to spend a lot of their money - and time - in Marbs. Dubliner Marc Quinlan cooked for a lot of them in his restaurant Beckitt's in Camilo Jose Cella. Michael and Norma Smurfit, Annette and Patrick Rocca, Kathleen and Albert Reynolds, Noreen and Charlie McCreevy were regulars, as was Bertie Ahern and his flame at the time Anna Bogle (remember her?); and Bertie's pop star son-in-law Nicky and wife Georgina were among many other sun-kissed glitterati who dined there.

In the summer of 2008, the super-chef who started off working in Bono's Clarence Hotel even hosted the Marbella Ball at Finca De Conception in Istan. Marc has found a new dish, it turns out. A beautiful Spanish dish (I know, groan!) by the name of Penny Candaras...

"We met a few months ago. We've just moved in together," Marc told me. "She used to run La Sala Group and has her own restaurant in front of mine called The Boardwalk." (BTW Virgina Macari, who lives in Marbs, was at a charity event in the Boardwalk on Thursday night.)

"I met her there. She's absolutely amazing," he says of Penny. "I've known her for a few years," says Marc, who was dating Monika Rona prior to falling for pretty Penny.

That's not all that is new in Marc's life. He closed his restaurant for a few months, bought the two buildings next door, knocked them down and expanded it all into one bigger Beckett's (it's all change for Marc, he has changed the spelling of the restaurant's name too.)

"We're having a big launch on January 15. Penny, who is going to manage Beckett's, has invited a lot of big names like Eva Longoria. Big sports stars too. There are lots of people coming over from Ireland," Marc said, mentioning Finbar Furey. "He was in a few times during the summer. He gave me his hat one night."

How very Marbs.

Tanya throws surprise bash for other half Baz

Fifty Ways To Throw A Surprise Party For Your Other Half?  Tanya Evans would be the one to talk to about this, then.

The weekend before last, the Belgrade beauty hosted a surprise bash for her partner Baz Ashmawy (they met in the summer of 2006 and now have almost as many kids as Miriam O'Callaghan).

The unexpected soiree for Baz happened in Bronze on Baggot Street and was to celebrate his recent winning of an Emmy in New York for 50 Ways To Kill Your Mammy.

Baz and Tanya arrived at the venue at 10pm on the Saturday night completely unaware that 40 of his nearest and dearest were waiting for him (no, the mammy wasn't there. Hopefully, she won't kill him).

Once the surprise was revealed, Baz and Tanya and the rest of the revellers had Champagne in a reserved area of the establishment

On the same night in Bronze, retired rugby legend Victor Costello threw a 50th birthday party for his VBF Robbie Lyons in the reserved outdoor heated terrace area, attended by over 80 people - including many ex Ireland and Leinster players with their wives and partners, my Deep Throat informed me.

Other grandees who pitched up included the newly married Gary Lavin and wife Rachael Gilmore Murphy, as well as Brent Pope, Shane Horgan, Denis Hickey and many others too numerous to mention here. They had a specially made cake for Robbie presented by his sister. And the party peopled by many rugby gods of the recent past went on well into the wee small hours on the VIP terrace.

Another rugby phenomenon Brian O'Driscoll was in Airfield working farm in Dundrum last Tuesday with his family.

Aoife and her new beau Gary take  Manhattan

Aoife Walsh and her new beau Gary must really be getting serious, mustn't they? They jetted to New York for a pre-Christmas romantic break last Tuesday morning. Were they buying something over there? A ring, perchance? I'll tell you next week.

"Off to the Big Apple," the one-time Miss Tipperary posted on her Facebook page at Terminal 2 of Dublin Airport. "I'm. So. Excited." So I am for them in New York.

Well - if they make it there, they can make it anywhere.

The former Miss Ireland and her Sligo solicitor Gary are certainly running up the air miles as well as revving up the Love-o-meter. They had recent romantic breaks away in London and Vienna - where they went to the Vienna State Opera and the Viennese ball at Hofburg Palace; whereas in London Love's Young Dream dined at Marylebone's hipster haven Chiltern Firehouse. So don't be overly surprised if Aoife and Gary visited a few of the hotspots in Manhattan during their US sojourn last week.

Not quite Love's Young Dream, Marty Whelan and his wife Maria visited a hotspot closer to home on Wednesday night. They had dinner-a-deux in Rita Crosbie's Cafe Bar H in Grand Canal Plaza in Dublin.

Alan to host TV3 'Xmas party'

As a child I was taken to the pantomime,' movie-star Ewan McGregor once recalled, 'and I would always, always fall in love with somebody on the stage.'

This will doubtless happen for someone in the audience when Alan Hughes takes his bow as Sammy Sausages for the opening night of the Cheerio's panto Beauty And The Beast this Tuesday at the Tivoli. Be that as it may, there will be a fair smattering of Alan's TV3 colleagues who presumably already love him.

So expect Karen Koster on the night with husband John Maguire and their son Finn - to say nothing of Debbie O'Donnell with her husband Johnny and their children Marcus and Sam; Alan Cantwell and his family, Aidan Cooney and his family, Anna Daly and her family (sons Euan and James), Colette Fitzpatrick and her family (children Milo and Olivia).

I'm told that Victoria Quinn (head of daytime in TV3 who is currently on maternity leave) will also be there with her husband John and their daughter. Why don't TV3 have their Christmas party at the Tivoli and be done with it?

Minister for Innovation adds a bit of fashion innovation

I always said Richard Bruton had it in him. He was in the audience at the 3rd annual Oireachtas Christmas Charity Fashion Show at the Great Room at the Shelbourne Hotel on Tuesday night when he was obviously caught up in all the excitement.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation added a bit of fashionable innovation of his own to the evening.

Your diarist was mightily impressed at how Richard The Lionheart spontaneously jumped on stage and skipped and twirled his way along the runway. (His boss Enda will need to develop a spring to his step come the Election in February, or else he could be out on his ear.)

Perhaps not to be outdone by Bruton, Senator Eamon Coghlan showed off his "athletic prowess" (as one female admirer told me) on stage - jumping off at one point.

Michelle Mulherin didn't quite jump off the catwalk, but the TD did cause a frisson in an outfit by Leuween Beattie, a hotly tipped designer from Foxford in her own home county of Mayo.

Leo Varadkar also caused a stir in his red trousers. Indeed, the future Taoiseach got huge applause when he hit the catwalk.

The night was in aid of Research Motor Neurone and in memory of "our dear and late colleague Nicky McFadden, TD who passed on 25th March 2014 from this cruel disease," as Michelle Mulherin told me.

Another female politico who modelled was Senator Catherine Noone, who wore a red gown by Sheena L from the Design Centre. The audience on the night was an illustrious bunch - chief among them being Norma Smurfit, Fiona Foy-Holland, Paul Galvin (wearing his own collection from Dunnes Stores), TV3's Noel Cunningham, and PR deity Astrid Brennan.

Trio of stunning Brazilian beauties bounce around in Ballsbridge

There was more than a touch of South America in Ballsbridge on Monday night. Rob Kearney was surrounded by beautiful Brazilian girls.

No surprise, really, for the dreamboat to be surrounded by pulchritude - well his girlfriend, the utterly glamorous Jess Reddan.

The reason on Monday night that our rugby hero was flanked, innocently, by beauty was because he was seated at Michael Bradley's Solar 21 table (Green Energy Investments).

Rob perhaps managed to pick up some Portuguese phrases from the stunning trio of Brazilian girls - Regiane Vasconcelos, Laine Tavares and Carolina Oliveira?

How do I know their names?

Because your diarist was introduced to them - and Rob - on the night. And what a night.

Or to be precise, the 27th Irish Youth Foundation Excellence in Sport Awards at DoubleTree by Hilton (with presenters Matt Cooper and Joanne Cantwell handling proceedings perfectly).

More glamour was provided by Celine Gilmer and Maryrose O'Shea from Starbucks, Helen O'Shea from Google, and Kathryn Grace from Elm Park Golf Club.

Barry Murphy had the audience in stitches by conducting the charity auction as the straight-talking German, Gunther.

Particularly memorable was his onstage impersonation of Stephen Roche, as Stephen Roche stood beside him on the stage - auctioning a cycling holiday to his own cycling camp in Majorca.

Gunther also pulled Paddy Power up on stage and got Shane Lowry to sign his winning Bridgestone flag.

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