Society: Roz steps out for Galway Food Festival, Moet's spring party and Paul Galvin
I was literally tripping over Michelin stars at the fifth Galway Food Festival which kicked off on Holy Thursday with a reception in the Kitchen Café at Galway City Museum.
Michelin-star chef Ross Lewis, from Chapter One, was down to open the event, and later I spotted him dining with JP McMahon, owner of Aniar on Dominick Street, which has one shiny Michelin star to its name.
The no-drinking rule on Good Friday didn't halt the craic. McCambridge's of Shop Street, celebrating 90 years in business, held a 'secret' Prohibition party upstairs in what was formerly the family parlour of Natalie McCambridge's grandparents when they first opened their shop in 1925. It was another full house, guests enjoyed a Teeling-infused five-course tasting menu featuring ingredients all sourced from artisan producers stocked in their food store downstairs.
The busiest man in town was the festival chairperson, JP McMahon, who chaired a talk in the Mick Lally Theatre, Druid Lane on a century of food, and that night hosted a 1916 influenced six-course tasting menu at Aniar which included a stuffed pig's head.
Natural Born Feeder Roz Purcell hosted a sell-out dinner at the award-winning restaurant Brasserie on the Corner on Eglinton Street where she cooked alongside head chef Joe Flaherty, who has been influenced by the late Gerry Galvin of Drimcong House in Moycullen.
Dishes included courgette, kale and chicken noodle soup, avocado feta and orange salad, slow-roasted Connemara Hill lamb with fresh figs, red onion and rosemary jus, pistachio-crusted roast hake with cauliflower purée and coconut rice.
I was up early the next morning to attend the Agri Aware farm at Woodquay Market, which is where I bumped into Joe Healy, presidential candidate in the IFA elections and his dynamic wife, Margaret, a theatre nurse in Galway.
I could have done without the hailstones on the way to watch Connacht vs Leinster and the blow-ins like myself from Dublin saluted the home team at dinner at Oscars Seafood Bistro.
The chef-owner Michael O'Meara got a notification this week to say that his cookery book Sea Gastronomy: Fish and Shellfish of the North Atlantic is now shortlisted in the Top 3 Fish and Shellfish Category of the World Cookbook Awards, and the final announcements will be made at the end of May.
Sattar serves up style at Shelbourne soirée
Everything was coming up roses at the Shelbourne Hotel as the German beauty brand Dr Hauschka hosted a stylish get together.
Guests included Dr Hauschka's stockist stores throughout the country and they were treated to a selection of drinks and super tasty canapés.
The event was hosted by Melanie Morris, editor in chief at Image Publications and I met Orla Doyle, general manager of Dr Hauschka here.
The event included a talk from special guest, singer Niall Breslin, judge on The Voice of Ireland, who spoke passionately about mental health and his experience with anxiety and depression.
International make-up artist Karim Sattar from Dr Hauschka (pictured here with Orla Doyle) treated guests to a live make-up demonstration as he highlighted the key trends for 2016 and offered hints and tips on make-up application.
Razzle dazzle for Killian at the Oliviers
Kirsty Blake Knox
And I'm happy to report that our very own Killian Donnelly is in the running for a gong.
Meath native Killian is up for Best Actor in a Musical for his high-kicking role in Kinky Boots - which was scored by legendary 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' singer and Broadway star Lauper.
He joins a stellar list of nominees including Dame Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman, Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch and renowned thespian Kenneth Branagh.
"It is going to be frantic and fantastic night," he said.
"The cast of Kinky Boots will be performing on stage and walking the red carpet so there will be lots of costume changes."
It's the second time Killian has been up for the gong - last year he was nominated for his role in Memphis the Musical.
"I really had to pinch myself when I heard I had got the nod again," he said.
The show will take place in the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden with Eddie Izzard, David Gandy, Rob Brydon, and Kit Harington all handing out awards.
High octane show Kinky Boots is about a struggling shoe maker who starts making a buck or two by tapping into the drag queen market.
"My character realises that no one is making over-the-knee leather boots in a size 9 so goes after that niche market," Killian explains.
"Every night backstage there is a ton of glitter and men walking around in heels and wigs - it's a pretty surreal sight."
Talking of red carpet showdowns; I'm happy to see that Oscar-winner Benjamin Cleary has returned from the Hollywood hills.
Benjamin scooped an Academy Award for his emotive short Stutterer and the shiny statuette now sits pride of place in his parents' kitchen.
The Dubliner is now busy promoting his new film, Love is a Sting - which is up for an IFTA.
The film is narrated by actor Ciarán Hinds and tells the tale of a struggling writer who finds an unusual muse in the form of an ageing, hyper-intelligent mosquito named Anabel.
"It's already on the long, longlist for next years Oscars so I have everything crossed for 2017," he said.
Jane's singers more Barry's Tea than Mafia
Kirsty Blake Knox
Reality TV stars don't tend to have a long shelf life.
One minute, they are everywhere. The next, kaput - gone.
But Jane McDonald seems to be the exception to the rule.
The Yorkshire singer sprung on to our screens in spangly 1998's docusoap The Cruise and since then she hasn't stopped.
"I can't believe I'm still around, singing and slogging," she laughed.
Jane will be starring in That's Entertainment which opens at The Gaiety Theatre next week and was full of vim and vigour about the show. "It'll be filled with big songs and 'over-the-garden-fence' chats," she said.
Jane will be joined on stage by Corkonian Timmy Matley, a member of doo-wop group The Overtones. "We're like a modern version of the Four Seasons - except instead of the Mafia and Frank Sinatra back stage we have Barry's Tea," he said.
Blooms and bubbles at Moët
Kirsty Blake Knox
According to Bette Davis, there comes a time in every woman's life when the only thing that helps is a glass of cold champagne.
And after a testing Wednesday evening, I was in serious need of liquor with an aggressive fizz.
So I nipped into Drury Buildings for Moët & Chandon Rose Imperial's scenting session with Brooke & Shoals.
The room had been decked out with fragrant bouquets of dusty pink roses and clusters of scented candles.
Sommelier Julie Dupouy discussed the importance of smelling champagne before necking it. "Champagne should dance on your tongue and fizz on your palette, it should make you feel more beautiful with every sip," she told the room.
Milliner Martha Lynn and designer Helen Cody child chatted while Alison Banton from Brooke & Shoals told me about studying potent perfumery at Grasse.
The following night I headed to the launch of jewellery designer Chupi Sweetman-Pell's spring-summer collection in the Powerscourt Town House on Thursday night.
Chupi is in the process of opening new store 'Home for Irish Design' upstairs in the centre. "It's a place for all our wonderful designers," she said.
Galvin's jacket goes down a bomber
You have to hand it to Paul Galvin, he has a way with bomber jackets!
The Kerry footballer turned creative director of his own fashion brand at Dunnes Stores is now into the second season of his own brand and he is wowing it with the boys.
In particular, it is his zipped black bomber jacket which is stealing hearts and when I turned up to judge at the semi-finals of the DIT Fashion Show, who should I see wearing the same jacket but fellow Dunnes Stores stable designer Brendan Courtney and also Snapchat sensation James Kavanagh (above) who has left his full-time job in PR, he told me, to help his partner, William Murray, launch his own food brand, named Currabinny after his scenic home place beside the sea in Cork.
We chose nine student designs and they will battle it out at the DIT Fashion Show in Vicar Street on April 19 with prize money of €2,000 for the top place.