Fintan O'Toole is an award-winning journalist, a political columnist, theatre critic, author of many books and not least deputy editor of the Irish Times. But when Fintan does have some free time, he likes to cook and was delighted to take on The Restaurant challenge and run his own professional kitchen for one day, but he wasn't brimming with confidence for the task ahead, saying...
'I have very, very limited skills in terms of the subtleties of cooking. But I have amateur enthusiasm and I also think I have enough humility to understand my own limitations'
However, Fintan is as competitive as the next person and he wasn't taking on the task for fun, he kept his eyes firmly on the main prize and even had a strategy ..
'If you're in the game you want to win, but I'm quite prepared to do that in a way that takes a few risks... But if we are going to have stars, lets have all the stars' Fintan's risky menu includes an eel dish, but Fintan was not apologizing for putting this on his menu...
'Eel is one of the great Irish delicacies. A lot of people find eel kind of disgusting, one of the advantages of smoked eel is that it kind of civilises it a bit' He first tasted eel in a restaurant in Hamburg and was immediately struck by it...
'They were absolutely delicious and I asked where does the eel come from and they said Ireland'
For his main courses, one of them just had to be lobster, he is a real fan of this shellfish..
'I think that if there is a heaven we will probably eat lobster al the time - for breakfast, dinner and tea. Lobster was put on earth for our delectation'
For desserts, he decided to make a simple Sherry Syllabub..
'It just takes two of the simple pleasures of life, cream and alcohol, and puts the two of them together, I mean what can go wrong?'
How will Fintan deal with the stress of a professional kitchen? Will regular critics Tom Doorley & Paolo Tullio give him a roasting? And how will guest critic Clodagh McKenna find his risky menu? Will Fintan get the stars he hopes for?
Tune in Sunday April 11th RTÉ One at 8:30