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Rachel and I are good friends but the critics leave a bad taste, says Clodagh

Top chef Clodagh McKenna has spoken about the importance of her female friendships and how in the internet age food critics can be particularly hurtful.

Clodagh trained at Ballymaloe and spent three years working there with the Allen cooking dynasty. And a strong friendship resulted between herself and Rachel.

"So many people think that Rachel Allen and myself should be arch enemies but she's actually a good friend of mine," Clodagh said.

She said she is a strong advocate of female friendships and women empowering each other saying: "The support of females is untouchable by men, there's nothing else like it. Myself and Rachel have a lot in common, we have that history together where we were living in each other's shoes for three years".


However, while Clodagh says her relationship with food critics has not been so smooth.

"The night my dad passed I was driving back to Cork when my phone started beeping. I pulled in to check it because I thought it might have been messages coming through but it was a food writer bitching about me on twitter and because I was included in all the tweets, it built up a whole momentum.

"I had to keep my phone on so it was buzzing, buzzing, buzzing with negativity for the whole drive".

However, Clodagh feels she really learned from the experience and how she now tries to find the positive side to everything: "It was kind of a turning point for me on negativity. At the time I wanted to turn my phone off but I couldn't because my sisters were calling and I remember thinking there's a reason this is happening now, he's obviously leaving me with this.

"And so now when I get a negative comment I kind of look at it and think is there a truth in it? Or is it just a negative person who's unhappy with themselves?"

Clodagh, who recently opened Clodagh's Kitchen in Dublin's Blackrock and is currently reworking the Aer Lingus in-flight menu.

She told Irish Country Magazine that she meditates regularly and also practises yoga with best pal Síle Seoige.