This week’s secret chef is acclaimed actress Kate O’Toole who plays Lady Salisbury in the multi award-winning drama ‘The Tudors’. Daughter of famous acting parents Peter O'Toole and Siân Phillips, it was no surprise that Kate would study drama and enter the profession herself.
But before her career as an actress took off, Kate became very familiar with restaurants, and worked in many in New York where she used to live full time after her studies in Yale.
Kate loves food, and is passionate about where it comes from. She buys her food direct from people who rear and grow it whenever possible. Kate believes every meal should be a special event and made with the good, fresh ingredients..
‘People who don’t cook, think its crazy to spend two hours of hard work for something that only lasts for 2 minutes. I love the fact that you can eat a fantastic meal and it disappears but it stays in your soul forever’
All the ingredients for Kate’s menu at the Wineport Lodge were sourced locally and are all organic, which is also scores highly with Kate..
‘Its very important to support the artisan producers of food, so I only buy organic, but apart from the politics of food, I just love it, I love cooking, it’s a great way of making people happy’
Kate will not as a rule buy any foodstuffs from Supermarkets, and thinks that their affect on farmers and the land is devasting..
‘The demand of supermarkets has made agriculture so intensified. The soil is becoming depleted, and what happens is you don’t get all the nutrients. So an apple an day kept the doctor away, up until the 1960’s, now you’re talking 20 apples a day’
For her starters of ‘Air-dried Sliabh Luachra beef with fresh figs and Desmond cheese’ and ‘Ceviche of sole marinated in fresh limes with coriander’ Kate had a clever plan based of her time working as a waitress..
‘I know the craziness that goes on in the kitchen, so I’ve chosen two starters which don’t require any cooking’
Kate still travels a great deal but home is definitely in Connemara and when it came to the main courses of ‘Cleggan crab stuffed fillet of brill with oyster velouté’ and ‘Noisette of roast Connemara lamb wrapped in pancetta’, Kate kept the ingredients close to home..
‘You know, its just normal, natural, simple food which has actually become increasingly difficult to get‘
For desserts, Kate was conflicted as she doesn’t really like sweet dishes...
‘Me personally, I don’t have a sweet tooth, so for me the perfect end to a perfect meal is a good piece of cheese. But then I panicked, and I’ve chosen to make little puddings and they take up more work and effort than the whole rest of the meal put together’
Kate served an ‘Unpasteurised Cooleeney cheese plate’ and a ‘Trio of desserts’ comprising rich chocolate mousse, banoffi pie, and lemon posset, with the posset offering the judges a clue ..
‘The lemon posset for the judges is a clue. It’s a Tudor dish, it’s a medieval dish. They used to love having dinners as theatrical entertainment. So they would make pies with live frogs in them. Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie, they actually used to do that’
Will the judges spot this clue and guess who is cooking for them in the Kitchen? Paolo Tullio and Tom Doorley will be joined by guest critic, the michelin-starred chef Dylan McGrath from Mint Restaurant in Dublin.