Dermot Bannon is best known as the charming, straight talking presenter of the hugely successful RTÉ makeover show 'Room to Improve'. Dermot is a qualified RIAI architect and has just launched his own his practice 'Dermot Bannon Architects'.
Dermot was a bit shocked at his performance in the kitchen, when he watched his episode of 'The Restaurant' in 2008 "I don't think of myself as competitive, but apparently I am. My day at the restaurant, I really, really enjoyed it. I thought the whole day was really relaxed and good-humoured and when I saw it on television - I'm a bit of a fruitcake! Not that I was ashamed of myself but I was a bit surprised at how driven I was, and how pushy I was when it came to cooking. I come from a family of cooks and chefs so it was always 'let Dermot fry the sausages and we'll do the complicated stuff'
Dermot was thrilled at getting his 5 stars from Tom, Paolo and Neven Maguire, he was hoping to just acquit himself well 'I wasn't expecting the 5 stars, so it as a really nice surprise - I was on a high for nearly a week after'
Dermot is feeling the pressure of the competitive side of this return visit to 'The Restaurant', and taking part in a cook off with an institution like Des Cahill.. 'I am a bit more confident going up against Des than I probably would going up against Marco Pierre White! Des Cahill has been around for a long time, and everybody knows him and everybody loves him - I'm going up against an institution'
Dermot loved the feeling that winning 5 stars gave him, but now he has fresh worries that he might lose them in the cook off? 'Once you've got 5 stars before and you're going back and if you don't do well its almost like they're taken off you, and you've got it all to lose. That's the big worry isn't it?'
Dermot is slightly nervous of his choice of starter, it requires precision timing 'If you cook this wrong, they are rubber. Its fine at home, you know you can get your scallops ready, you've got your 30 seconds and your timer. But if you were trying to plate up and get other things ready and leave them on the pan for just that little too long..'
Dermot has chosen a meat that he loves for his main course in the cook off 'I love heavy meats. I love something with a bit of flavour and venison is like another step up. Its game - like there's a lovely background flavour to it. Venison, if its cooked right, is stunning just on its own. If my meat gets over-cooked, that's it. Ruined'
There was only one choice when it came to Dermot's dessert for the cook off 'Marco Pierre white said every meal should be finished with a lemon tart - so that's why I'm going with that. If it's good enough for him I think its good enough for me'