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The Restaurant RTÉ One, Sunday, 8.30pm

Bill Cullen

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Bill Cullen grew up in Dublin's inner city and is famous for selling penny apples on the streets alongside his mother Mary and Granmother Molly Darcy. In 1956, when he was just 13 years old, he went to work for Waldens Ford Dealership as a messenger boy for £1 a week.

By 1965 he was the Director General and had set up Fairlane Motor Company, the biggest ford dealership in Ireland. In 1986 Bill took over the ailing Renault Ireland car distributor franchise and turned the company round to an annual turnover of ¤350 million.

Bill has always attributed his success in business, and life, to his close-knit and solid family background and in particular the wisdom and business nous of his mother and grandmother. Bill tells this story of growing up in 1940's Dublin in his record-breaking autobiography, 'It's A Long Way From Penny Apples'. Bill then took the homespun philosophy and wisdom he had learnt on his journey and to write another best-selling book 'Golden Apples', a lesson in how to be successful in business.

Alongside his work, Bill in deeply involved in the Irish Youth Foundation of which he is a director. In 1998 he received the Lord Mayor's Award for his work with the disadvantaged young people in Dublin and in 2004 he was awarded the inaugural Princess Grace Kelly Humanitarian Award.

This year as well as taking part in 'The Restaurant', Bill plans to fly into outer space aboard Richard Branson's 'Virgin Galactic', the world's first commercial space flight.

Bill on the team in The Restaurant..

I have the greatest team in the world here today. I mean, they will do a superb job for me today, I just have to direct. I'm the controller. I will delegate and let them get on with it and I'll be just as much a critic of it as everybody else

Bill on why he chosse his starters

Crubeens or Pigs trotters are something that were very much Dublin food. Whereas Clonalkilty is from Cork, we always had this Jackeen/Culchie thing and I have to say that both these words are terms of endearment and I want to re-enact that situation of times gone by.

Bill on why he chose his main courses

Well Ox Tongue is something special again, mainly based in Dublin, whereas the salmon and the prawns go down around the coast.

Bill on his desserts

Ireland is gone, the way everything's moved on, society has changed. We're getting prosperous and we're getting fancy stuff from all around the world. Lets bring it back to what Ireland is all about. Apple Pie and Jelly- Lovely

Bill Cullen
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