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Alternative to the typical Christmas Starter and the Christmas pudding with Kevin Dundon

Monday, 7 December 2009

Kevin Dundon Proprietor of Dunbrody House

Kevin Dundon is the Chef and Proprietor of Dunbrody Country House Hotel & Restaurant, located in Ireland's sunny South East. Dunbrody was established in 1997 by Kevin and his wife Catherine and has very quickly become a must-see for all foodies. It is now considered to be one of Ireland's Premier Hotels & Restaurant. Kevin's runs a cookery school at the hotel as well which already recognised as one of the most respected in the country.

Dunbrody is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of The World and Ireland's Blue Book. The hotel has won numerous awards including Restaurant of the Year 2004, 2005 & 2006, Chef of the Year in the Food and Wine awards 2004, 2005 & 2006, Andrew Harper's Grand Award 2001 for the best Hideaways in the World, Irish Bacon Dish of the Year 2000, Country House of the Year 2001 (Georgina Campbell's Hotel Guide) , Country House of the Year 2001 (National News Paper) Evening Herald RAC Gold Ribbon Award & Three Dining Awards and Red Chateau for the Michelin Guide, to name just a few.

Kevin started his career in Dublin, Ireland in a restaurant called The Old Schoolhouse and continued his studies at Dublin College of Catering where he graduated in 1986. He received a scholarship to work in Switzerland and worked in Zurich in a well known restaurant called La Mère Catherine.

From there, Kevin took a position on Wind Star Sails cruise ship on its maiden voyage from Le Havre, France to the Caribbean. His next position was as Sous-Chef in Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Canada where he represented Canada in culinary competitions in the US, Luxembourg and the culinary Olympics. Kevin also completed his Master's Degree in Canada and received honours in Chef de Cuisine in 1992.


Kevin has cooked for many well-known celebrities during his career including the Her Majesty, the Queen, President Bush and Bono. In 1994, Kevin was head-hunted back to Ireland as the Executive Head Chef of the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, widely recognised as one of the most prestigious Chef appointments in Ireland.

Over the past few years Kevin has steadily built his media profile and has appeared on numerous TV channels including ESPN Cable, CBC (Live) Canada, RTE (Live) Ireland and No Frontiers Travel Show. In autumn 2002 Kevin featured as Expert Chef on Ask Anna Series by Stopwatch TV for RTE. He is also a regular on Irish radio.


More recently he appeared on the NBC Today show live on St. Patrick's Day while in New York, representing the Face of Irish Food. During summer 2002 Kevin and Dunbrody Cookery School were the main feature for Hip Productions travel series 'Hip World', broadcast in April 2003 on the US Travel Channel. In addition to this Kevin has made a series of appearances at UKTV Food's Great Food Live, BBC 1's Saturday Kitchen and The Today Programme.

In 2003 Kevin was contracted by MGM Grand in Las Vegas to be the Signature Chef in their Irish pub/restaurant, The Nine Fine Irishmen, which has since been the recipient of numerous excellent reviews and awards. In 2004, Kevin filmed no less than 12 VTs for BBC Good Food Live. 2005 was a very successful year for Kevin whose media profile soared with his role as resident chef of RTE's hugely popular The Afternoon Show every week

In addition to this, Kevin has also regularly appeared regularly on TV in Nevada, US to promote the restaurant. He has also made appearances on Sara's Secret Food Network and Dinner and a Movie.TSB This year, Kevin has filmed a one hour documentary for an NBC prime time show.

Though Kevin's media profile continues to flourish, he still remains passionate about his role as a Chef and is Chef/Patron of an Irish Gastro Pub in Disneyland, Orlando called Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant. A second gastro-pub is opening in Disney, California in 2007.

His first book, Full on Irish, was published by Epicure Press in 2005. Kevin's writing extends to journalism as well and he has written for BBC Good Food Magazine and Delicious among others.

Kevin and Catherine have three Children; Emily, Sophie and Tom. Most recently Kevin was seen on the hit culinary series-Guerrilla gourmet with a host of other famous Irish Chefs.

Kevin has a regular column with the Irish Independent Newspapers where he imparts all of his culinary tips.


Alternative Christmas Starter

Roasted Butternut Squash & Cinnamon Soup

Ingredients
. 2oz/50g butter
. 2 carrots
. 1 leek
. 2 sticks celery
. 1 large butternut squash
. ½ medium onion
. 3 cloves of garlic
. ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
. 1200ml chicken/vegetable stock
. 4floz/110ml pouring cream
. Seasoning

Method:
1. Begin by peeling and chopping all of the vegetables into chunky pieces.
2. Select a large saucepan and slowly melt the butter.
3. Add in all of the vegetables and mix thoroughly and continue to pan roast them for 6-8 minutes. Adding a little cinnamon at this stage will give the vegetables a nice spiced flavour.
4. Continue to keep a constant stir on the vegetables to prevent them from sticking to the saucepan.
5. Season lightly at this stage.
6. Next you need to add in the cream and 2/3 of the stock.
7. Bring this entire mixture to the boil and then reduce the heat to a constant simmer.
8. Simmer for the next 15-20 minutes or until all of the vegetables have softened.
9. Blitz the soup until smooth, adjusting the consistency with the remaining stock as required.
10. Taste the soup and season accordingly. If you wish you can add a little additional Cinnamon at this stage.
11. Serve the soup in a small bowl or china teacup with a swirl of either cream or crème fraiche lighted spiced with ground cinnamon.

Additional Notes:
If you wish you can add in a cinnamon stick with the vegetables at the beginning and remove it before the blitzing stage.

Alternative to the Christmas Pudding

Steamed Orange Pudding

Ingredients
. 225g/8oz butter-softened
. 225g/8oz caster sugar
. Zest & juice of 2 oranges
. 4 large eggs
. 225g/8oz self raising flour (or plain flour with 1 teaspoon of baking powder)
. ½ teaspoon ground ginger

Method:
1. Soften the butter and beat in a large mixing bowl with the sugar.
2. Stir in the orange zest at this stage also.
3. When this mixture is creamy and fluffy add in the eggs, orange juice and the flour with ground ginger and mix thoroughly until completely combined. It is important to scrape down the bowl at this stage to ensure that all of the butter has been incorporated into the pudding mixture.
4. If you find the mixture is a little tight you can add a dessertspoon of milk to loosen it up.
5. Transfer the mixture to a well buttered 2 pint capacity pudding basin and secure it either with a lid or with some tightly fitting baking parchment and tin foil tied with string.
6. Put the pudding basin into a large saucepan ½ filled with water and bring it to the boil.
7. Cover with a lid and allow to simmer for between 1 ¼ hours to 1 ½ hours.
8. Invert onto the plate and serve with some freshly whipped cream flavoured with Grand Marnier.

Eggnog Sauce

Ingredients
. 6 egg yolks
. 75g/3oz sugar
. 475ml/¾ pint milk
. 150ml/ ¼ pint cream
. ½ vanilla pod
. ½ teaspoon cornflour (to prevent the custard from splitting when adding alcohol)
. 1 large brandy
. Pinch cinnamon

Method:
1. Split the vanilla pod lengthways and with a small sharp knife scrape out the seeds of one half of the vanilla pod. Put the seeds and the half pod into the milk and cream in a large saucepan. Wrap the remainder of the vanilla pod and retain for later use.
2. Bring milk, cream and vanilla pod to the boil.
3. Meanwhile in a large spotlessly clean bowl and using a whisk beat the egg yolks, cornflour and sugar together until light and creamy.
4. Spend about 2 minutes on this process.
5. Pour boiled milk and cream mixture onto the eggs and mix well.
6. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook until the mixture can coat the back of a wooden spoon. It is important to stir the mixture at all times to prevent it from curdling. This process should take no more than 2 minutes on a very gentle heat. Do not allow the mixture to boil at this time. Taste the custard at this stage and then quickly whisk in the brandy and cinnamon.
7. Serve the sauce over the steamed orange pudding

Kevin Dundon
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