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The Afternoon ShowRTÉ One, Weekdays, 4.00pm

Budget Food with Richie Wilson

Thursday, 4 February 2010

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 Ireland'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."

Tips for keeping food shopping under budget

1. Make a list with all the meals for a week you like to cook. That makes shopping quicker and cheaper.
2. Try not to cook more than you need for the meal.
3. Always try to grow as much of your own stuff as possible especially herbs and garlic.
4. Never throw leftovers away. In the fridge or freezer you can store them for at least a few days and create new recipes with them.
5. Go to the supermarket half an hour before it closes, - on the one hand, because there are no queues at the checkout - and on the other hand, fresh products like fruit or vegetables or meat, which they can't sell the next day, are also about 50 % cheaper.
6. Cook less expensive cuts of meat and offals. They often give more flavor anyways - just need to be cooked differently.
7. Never shop when you are hungry!!!!

Beef Cassoulet with Boulangere Potatoes

4 portions:


  • Price
    400g Diced Beef 3.39

  • 100g Streaky Bacon 0.49

  • 100g Mushroom 0.99

  • 100g Carrots 0.17

  • 100g Leeks 0.36

  • 100g Celery 0.18

  • 1Clove Garlic 0.02

  • 5 Shallots 0.87

  • 1 can Tomato and Herb 0.45

  • 1can Chick Peas 0.35

  • 500 ml Beef Stock 0.08

  • 100g Plain Flour 0.13

  • 250ml Red Wine 1.31
  • 1.2kg Potatoes 0.63

  • 2lg Onion 0.22

  • 10gThyme 0.17

  • 1Chicken Stock cube 0.08

Total 9.89


1. Begin by preparing your vegetables. Peal the shallots and leaving them whole set aside. Peel and cut the carrot into large pieces an inch or so squared. Wash and cut the celery and leek into large chunks. Peel and cut the garlic roughly into 4 pieces and set aside along with the mushroom.

2. Now pre heat your oven to 160 degrees. Heat a large pan. Turn the beef pieces in a bowl along with the flour and plenty of salt and pepper. Add a little oil to the pan and place the beef in. Continue turning the beef until it is golden brown all over. Remove the beef and place it in a large casserole dish. Return the pan to the heat and add half the red wine to wash out all the flavors from the pan ("Deglaze") after simmering for a minute or so pour over the beef in the casserole dish.

3. After cleaning the pan return to the heat and a little oil. Now fry the smoked bacon and add to the casserole. Return the pan to the heat once more but be sure to keep all the bacon fat in it. Now add the vegetables to the pan and continue to turn them over a high heat until they begin to color. Now add the remaining wine to the pan and bring to the boil. Once it has boiled add all the vegetables and wine to the casserole. Now put the strained chick peas and all the whole can of tomatoes into the casserole along with the beef stock.

4. Cover the casserole with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven for one and a half hours before removing the lid and continuing to cook for a further 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and Serve

Boulangere Potatoes


1. Peel and slice all the potatoes into thin rounds and do the same to the onion.
2. Grease an earthen wear dish and lay down a layer of potato slices on the bottom followed by a little seasoning and chopped thyme, then a few of the onion slices.
3. Continue layering like this until the dish is almost full.
4. Pour over the chicken stock until it just comes to the top of the potatoes.
5. Cover the dish with tin foil and place in a pre heated oven at 160 for 45 minutes
6. Remove the foil and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes.

To Present:

The whole idea of this dish is that it is kept simple yet full of flavour. Simply place in the centre of the table along with some hot plates and let everyone help themselves, Enjoy!

Bacon and Mushroom Pie with a Boxty Lid

4 portions


  • Price
    400g Streaky Bacon 0.97

  • 200g Mushroom 1.98

  • 1/4Head of Cabbage 0.24

  • 200g Leeks 0.71

  • 100g Plain Flour 0.13

  • 500ml Chicken Stock Cube 0.08

  • 25g Butter 0.16

  • 1.2kg Potatoes 0.63

  • 50g Self Raising Flour 0.06
  • Seasoning

Total 4.96

Pie Filling


1. Begin by heating the stock in a pot and keep it hot until ready to use.

2. Cut the bacon into thin strip(lardoons) and fry in a hot pan until the bacon starts to brown.

3. Now add the butter to the pan.

4. Once the butter has melted add the sliced mushrooms to the pan, continue to fry over a high heat until the mushrooms soften.

5. Now add the flour and reduce the heat.

6. Mix well ensuring the flour has soaked up all the juices.

7. Now add a little of the stock to the pan mixing well as you add it to avoid lumps.

8. Continue adding the stock and and stirring until it has all ben added.

9. Now add the finely sliced cabbage and leeks and continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the leeks and cabbage have softened.

10. You can now add this mix to your pie dish. I think it's nice to use individual pie dishes but of course you can use just one large dish

Boxty Potatoes


1. Cut half the potatoes into quarters and boil in salted water until cooked (12-15 minutes.)

2. Drain, mash and place in a large bowl.

3. Using a large holes grater, grate the remaining potatoes into a small bowl lined with a cloth.

4. Squeeze the cloth to extract as much of the liquid as possible, into the bowl.

5. Now add the grated potato to the mashed potato and add a little seasoning along with the self raising flour.

6. Heat a large non stick pan and add a little oil.

7. Drop the mixture into the pan, spreading it to the size of the pie dish you are using.

8. Once it turns golden brown turn and continue to cook until golden on the second side. Remove from the pan and place on top of the mushroom and bacon filling.

To Serve:

For best results, prepare the pie a day in advance and reheat in the oven at 160 for 30 minutes or until hot through. Enjoy!

Richie Wilson