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The Afternoon ShowRTÉ One, Weekdays, 4.00pm

No Chef Required with Richie Wilson

Thursday, 12 November 2009

This theme will run on every Thursday in November. The idea is that we will get our chefs to demo simple but wow recipes that the viewers can easily do at home.

Richie Wilson Head Chef at the Morrison

In November 2006, the Morrison appointed Richie Wilson as Executive Head Chef in its newly restyled Halo restaurant.

Richie has a wealth of experience and has worked in a number of Irelands's top restaurants and hotels. Richie's love for the kitchen began in The Gresham Hotel and was followed by Jobs in Chez Hugo's and the renowned McGrattain's Restaurant before attending college in Athlone I.T. After graduating as Ireland's Young Professional Chef of the Year, Richie received a scholarship to Johnson and Whales Culinary Arts University in Rhode Island.

On his return he took up a position in The Hibernian Hotel before taking a position in Paul Flynn's Tannery Restaurant and after 3 years with Paul he spent 3 years with the 2 Michelin Starred, Kevin Thornton in Thornton's Restaurant. The Westin Hotel was the next stop and most recently Richie was responsible for opening the food operations at the new Hilton Hotel Dublin Airport.

Richie serves up a fusion of modern European cuisine using Irish produce wherever possible. He ensures that all produce used is of the highest quality and he believes that the secret to good food is having an excellent relationship with your supplier. Richie believes in carefully selecting his suppliers and he prefers to deal with small suppliers who take great pride in their produce.

The menu in Halo offers a range of styles to suit every palate and the emphasis is on rounded tastes that are artfully presented. The White Asparagus Mousse starter is a wonderful example of this. Here Richie provides art on a plate with wild asparagus, white and green asparagus, gentle twists of white asparagus mousse and edible flowers including blue salvia and daisies for a pretty and fresh look.

When asked who Richie's influences are he reveals that his grandmother was his first influence. He remembers watching her deftly make pastry from a very young age and he claims she made the best pastry in Ireland - due to her cold hands, but warm heart. His second influence is Delia Smith who according to Richie brought basic cookery skills to the masses and was the Nigella Lawson of the 80's in terms of sexy housewife appeal.

Richie believes in using traditional menu items as his inspiration and then bringing them back to life with new flavours and twists. His Coffee Break dessert is a great example of this. Richie remembers queuing at the counter of a Café with his mum who would take a tray and order a cup of coffee with a slice of cake, dollop of cream and a fork on the side of the plate. His Coffee Break replicates that idea. The plate is the tray, the dried raspberry wafer coulis is the plate, the coffee, chocolate and crème brulee flavoured mini slice of cake sits on top of that with a swirl of fresh cream to the side. He even recreates the cup of coffee with a miniature chocolate cup on a wafer saucer filled with coffee flavoured fondant. The finishing touch is the chocolate dusted fork on the side of the plate.

So how does Richie run his kitchen? "No shouting. I have worked in kitchens over the years where you got roared at and it never made me cook any better. This is a stressful game with long and unsociable hours but it is passionate and I love it. My team are super and I want to keep them and show them what I have learned. I just don't see the point of abusing your own team members to the point where they break down, it's a stressful enough game but I couldn't ever imagine doing anything else."

Honey and Pistachio Glazed Duck BreastDauphinoise Potatoes, Cauliflower Puree and Balsamic Jus

(4 Portions)


. 4 Magret Duck Breast
. 1 tbsp Honey
. Olive Oil
. Seasoning
. 50gChopped Pistachios

Cauliflower Puree

. Head of Cauliflower
. 250ml Cream
. 250ml Water
. Salt
. Lemon Juice
. 12` Baby Leeks (allowing 3 per person)

Dauphinoise Potatoes

. 1kg Peeled Potatoes
. 300ml Milk
. 300ml Cream
. 2 Crushed Garlic Cloves
. Bunch of Thyme
. Nutmeg
. Seasoning

Balsamic Sauce

. 300ml Demi Glaze (You can also use a beef stock jelly made up to 300 ml with boiling water)
. 200ml Balsamic Vinegar
. 50g Butter

1. This method is laid out in two halves.
2. The first half should be done the day before your dinner party.
3. The second half is completed when you are serving dinner.
. This way you can have all your preparation done and the majority of your pots pans and chopping boards are clean and put away before your guests arrive leaving you free to enjoy the evening along with everyone else.


Very little preparation is required of the duck the day before. You could just score the fat crisscross and season with a little salt. This will help to break down the fat when the time comes to cook it.

Dauphinoise Potatoes

1. Begin by peeling all the potatoes and leaving them in a bowl of water.
2. Line deep oven tray (try to choose one that you have two of and that one can fit inside the other for pressing later!) with grease proof paper.
3. Place the milk, cream, garlic, thyme, seasoning and nutmeg into a pot and bring gently to a simmer, set to one side.
4. Now use a Mandelin or the slicing blade attachment on the food processor to slice all the potatoes into thin even rounds, like crisps.
5. Layer the potatoes on top of the grease proof paper and pour the cream mix, through a sieve, over the potatoes ensuring you cover them.
6. Place a sheet of grease proof paper over the top before covering with tin foil.
7. Place in a pre heated oven at 170 degrees for 45 minutes.
8. Allow to cool enough to be placed in the fridge before placing the second tray on top of the other.
9. Place this in the fridge with a carton of milk or something similar on top to press it down over night.
10. This will give you really firm potatoes, easy to slice and more presentable.

Cauliflower Puree

1. Cut the cauliflower into small, even sized florets.
2. Place in a pot with the water, cream and a pinch of salt.
3. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15min or until the cauliflower is soft and easy to crush. Pour into a jug blender and blend until smooth.

Balsamic Jus

1. Pour the balsamic vinegar into a hot pot and allow to boil until the liquid has reduced by half and half again.
2. Now add the demi glaze or the beef stock jelly and water.
3. Bring to a simmer and cool before placing in the fridge until ready for part two.


1. Begin about 20-30 minutes before you wish to serve the meal.
2. Firstly cut the potatoes into whatever shape you wish for a portion. I like to cut them into triangle, there is very little waste this way and gives a contrasting shape to a round plate.
3. Once cut place on grease proof paper on a tray in the oven at 160 degrees.

Duck Breast

1. This will only take 20 minutes to cook. On a moderately hot pan place the duck fat side down, no oil is required on the pan but you should season the breast well.
2. Keep the duck over the moderate heat with the fat side down for as long as possible, from time to time, pour off any excess fat.
3. Once the fat is a dark golden brown turn the breast to the flesh side and continue to cook for just 4-5 more minutes.
4. Now remove the breast from the pan, pour off all the fat and return the pan to a high heat, add the honey and pistachios along with the duck, turn the duck in the honey for a minute or two and now place on a tray in the oven with the potatoes until ready to serve.

Cauliflower Puree and Balsamic Jus

1. Simply place both of these into small pots over a low heat until hot through and ready to serve.

Baby Leek

1. In a pot of boiling salted water place the leeks for just 4 minutes.
2. Strain and brush with a little butter.
3. Place in the oven with the meat and potatoes for what should be just 3-4 minutes while you heat the remaining ingredients.

To Serve
1. Ensure the plates you are going to use a hot first!
2. Place the potatoes to one side of the plate.
3. Dredge some of the puree across the opposite side.
4. Now cut a small piece from each end of the duck breast before cutting in half and placing on the plate, crisscross the leeks around the plate.
5. Now drizzle the sauce over the breast and serve, enjoy!

Typical problems you might encounter while cooking the Duck Dish

The biggest problem with Duck is that it is tough and dry

Cooking the duck slowly on the fat side for as long as possible ensure that plenty of flavour and moisture gets through the breast. Once cooked you must allow the dusk to rest this will prevent it being tough and dry as the moisture is kept in.
Duck should be served pink anything more and it will become tough.

Dauphinoise Potatoes brown on the outside before being cooked through

Cover the potatoes dish well in tin foil and cook at a relatively low temperature

Potatoes fall apart when cutting

The potatoes should be placed in a fridge over night with a weight on top in order to press them together making them easy to slice

Sauce Splitting, the butter or fat has separated from the sauce.

You should only use real butter in a sauce, artificially butters will not work.
Once the butter is in do not boil again.

One of the biggest problems when serving dinner to a group of people is making sure everything is hot.

You should place all your plates in an oven at about 70 degrees to heat them through before putting anything on them. Also each item for your plate can be placed in this oven until the next is ready.

Strawberry Crème Crumble

(4 Portions)

Crème Brulee Mix

. Vanilla Pod
. Egg Yolks
. 50g Caster Sugar
. 300ml Cream
. 60ml Milk
. 250g Strawberries or any other berries.


. 150g Plain Flour
. 150g Unsalted Butter
. 150g Caster Sugar
. 1e Vanilla Pod

1. This method is laid out in two halves.
2. The first half should be done either the day before or the morning of your dinner party.
3. The second half is completed when you are serving dinner.
4. This way you can have all your preparation done and the majority of your pots pans and chopping boards are clean and put away before your guests arrive leaving you free to enjoy the evening along with everyone else.

Crème Brullee Mix

1. Begin by removing the seeds from the vanilla pod. Place the seeds in a bowl and the pod in the pot.
2. Now place in the milk and cream in the pot along with the vanilla, bring gently to a simmer and remove from the heat immediately.
3. In the bowl with the seed place the egg yolks and sugar, giving it a gentle whisk before adding the hot cream mix, stirring all the time you are adding.
4. Remove the green stalk from the berries and cut in four. Place a few of each into 4 ramekins. Fill each ramekin with the cream mix leaving a little space at the top for the crumble later.
5. Place the ramekins into a deep oven tray and put this into a pre heated oven at 120 degrees.
6. Once the tray is in the oven pour in hot water from a kettle into the tray around the ramekins bringing the level to about half way up the ramekins.
7. Cook for 40 minutes.
8. Carefully remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool before removing the ramekins and refrigerating until ready for part two.

Crumble Topping

1. In a food processor, place the seeds from the vanilla along with all the other ingredients and blend until the mix takes on a rough sandy type texture.
2. Place this into a non stick oven sheet and bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes.
3. Remove the tray from the oven and place on the counter, now using a spatula or something similar, break up and stir up the crumble well.
4. Return to the oven for another 2 minutes and repeat the process until the crumble is golden brown all over.

To Serve

1. This just doesn't get any easier. Simply remove the strawberry crème from the fridge about 30 minutes before serving so it is not fridge cold when serving, this really helps bring out the flavors.
2. When you are ready to serve cover each ramekin with the crumble mix, which you may need to break up a little more.
3. Serve on a side plate or saucer, enjoy!

Typical problems you might encounter while making Strawberry Crumble:

The baked custard is grainy

This is caused when the sugar is added for a period before the hot cream is ready to go in.
The sugar should only be added to the eggs when the cream is ready.

I have scrambled eggs not baked custard

The dish must be baked in a water bath; this will keep the temperature down and regulate it around the dish.

My crumble is gone soft

This is a fresh biscuit base and so doesn't contain preservatives.
You must keep it in an air tight container and in a dry place, not the fridge!!

There is a lot of juice on top of the brule cream

This dish is suitable for a lot of different flavours but it will not work with fruit that contains a lot of acid, like orange or pineapple.

Richie Wilson