John Waters - journalist, author, playwright and songwriter - is this weeks Head Chef in The Restaurant. This is a busy week for John, as his song 'They can't stop the Spring' written with Tommy Moran, has just been selected as a finalist in the Irish Eurovision 2007 shortlist. The song will be performed and put to the public vote on Friday 16th February, and if successful, it will be performed in Helsinki in May by 'Dervish'.
John is best known for his weekly column in The Irish Times and also for his books - the bestselling 'Jiving at the Crossroads', about the cultural underbelly of Irish politics and 'Race of Angels' a study of the roots of U2's music in Irish history and culture.
John was born and raised in Castlerea, Co Roscommon and he drew on his rural Irish roots when devising his menu. He wanted to take some classic dishes from his childhood and 'exoticise' them for a modern palate. Dishes he chose were 'Irish Gammon and Greens' and 'Cally and Lamb Bangers' (Cally being the Roscommon name for Colcannon)
John also brought some of his artistic influences to his menu, his starter 'Strokestown Mushrooms on Toast' was inspired by the Cherokee Artist Jimmy Durham, who was astonished when the local people in Strokestown would not eat a hearty wild mushroom soup that he had prepared for them as a thank you meal. The locals feared they were poisonous and refused, this led the artist to reflect on what other local delicacies were overlooked by the locals.
For his desserts Johns inspiration came from his daughter Roisin, who appointed herself 'Minister for Desserts'. She advised him to make Apple Pancakes, Apple Crumble and Apple Upside Down Cake, all personal favourites. These desserts evolved into this substantial dessert 'Apple Plate'
Of his day in the Kitchen John says 'I'm not a cook by any stretch of the imagination, but I know what I want. So I feel that I have that to bring to the mix'