Wednesday 25 April 2018

Bon appetit!

Emma Gallagher

THE chef who will recreate Yeats' Nobel Dinner has been selected.

After a heated contest in St Angela's recently, Alan Fitzmaurice's five-course offering was deemed the winner.

Alan, head chef in the Glasshouse, was among three finalists picked from hundreds of entries.

Fellow chefs Mark Gallagher from Knock House Hotel and Philippe Farineau from Mount Falcon, both in Co. Mayo, were also shortlisted.

Alan decided to base his winning menu on local produce.

He explained: "Following the amuse bouche and salad, the starter is west coast ocean trout, with organic beetroot, Lissadell oyster, nettle mayonnaise and Donegal rape seed dressing.

"Everyone uses salmon, we thought something delicate and lighter for the summer would be best.

"We added lemon and lime and let the dish marinate for three days to get a lovely pink colour; it's a nice, light starter."

He added:

"A lot of people don't like the raw of the oyster, so we did tempura with tumeric, added butter, to get a crispy texture.

"We picked the young heads of the nettles for the mayonnaise to add a little bit extra."

The main is smoked Sligo lamb loin.

"For this, we slow cooked the lamb shoulder for 12 hours.

"Sligo is synonymous with good lamb, we lightly smoked it with oak chips in a vacuum packed bag, and added all the herbs and red wine jus.

"It all comes nicely in together, to get the right flavour."

Added to this was wild garlic potatoes, the garlic which was hand picked from near the Lake Isle of Innisfree.

"I live in Dromahair, so for the competition, I thought it would be good to pick some ingredients from where Yeats got his stories from," Alan explained.

He made the garlic into a pesto and cooked with the potatoes, adding milk and cream.

Heritage carrots and pea puree complemented the dish, along with juices from the lamb.

"For the dessert, we went with another seasonal option.

"We chose elderflower jelly and new season Irish strawberries.

"We added lemon mousse to enhance the strawberries and elderflower jelly, adding white chocolate fur coating, with fresh mint on top."

The competition was to find the meal most similar to that served in 1923 in Stockholm, when Yeats won the Nobel Prize.

Alan said: "The Grand Hotel served three course meals for people that night so we went along those lines.

"I'm delighted to have won.

"I'm looking forward to being head chef at the inaugural Nobel Dinner in the Radisson Blu.

"Joe Shannon, the chef there, is a pure professional and it will be great to work with him.

"I'll bring my own team too, it was a great competition, it was nice to be able to showcase local produce."

Alan will be recreating his winning meal for 100 guests on June 12th, the eve of Yeats Day.

Sligo Champion