Award-winning Chef Neven Maguire was recently showcasing recipes from his new book – The Nation’s Favourite Food Fast! – at a cookery demonstration for Zwilling J.A. Henckels, in Arnotts Department Store Dublin. I was taking some photographs of this event on behalf of Zwilling J.A. Henckels, and what an event it was! The weather could not have been worse, but even torrential rain and wind did not deter the large turn-out on the day.
He is the proprietor and Head Chef at MacNean House & Restaurant, and, earlier this year, classes began at his new Cookery School, where he uses Zwilling J.A. Henckels’ knives, cookware, kitchen gadgets, and Staub ceramics. Incidentally, the name “MacNean” comes from the MacNean Lakes which are located near the restaurant, on the outskirts of Blacklion village.
His career took off after his first award, back in 1997, when he won Best Student in the UK and Ireland, and in 1999, he won the Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year competition. His talent did not go unnoticed. His TV career began as the resident Chef on RTE’s “Open House” programme. He went on to represent Ireland in the Bocuse d’Or World Cuisine Competition in 2001, and has won many awards since, the latest of which is Best Chef in Ireland 2014.
The majority of the audience were invited by Ms. Irene Beattie, Consignment Manager at Arnotts for Zwilling J. A. Henckels, who, single-handly, organised the event, through her extensive presence and interaction on Twitter, which made it the huge success it was.
The great personal friendship between Chef Neven and Ms. Beattie and the rapport between them brought a jovial atmosphere to the entire presentation.
From the moment the show began, Chef Neven engaged his audience with his passion for food, and the best quality Irish produce, which he champions in his Restaurant, Cookery School, his TV programmes, and in his travels around the world.
In 2002, his first cookery book – Neven Cooks – was published, in which he wrote….“I still can’t believe it when I’m out shopping how many people come up to me to discuss food. I love it, and will never tire of talking food matters with them”. The passion he felt then for food has grown even stronger throughout his career. This was self-evident during his demonstration.
Something which stuck me, was his referral to “Family”. He mentioned it several times during his demonstration. He cited his own family, and his staff, some of whom have been employed there for quite a number of years. Staff turn-over at MacNean House & Restaurant is low, and it is no wonder. He also said that shouting at staff will never bring out the best in them, and they, in turn, will feel alienated, and won’t learn anything. He treats his staff with the utmost respect.
Chef Neven’s own “Chef’s Knife” which he used during the demonstration. A very versatile knife to have in the domestic and professional kitchen, as it can be used for a variety of chopping jobs.
Speedy Coq Au Vin
Ms. Anjula Devi, (invited audience member) being guided by Chef Neven, constructing a sugar cage for desserts
A thoroughly enjoyable, and very informative demonstration of recipes for those with skills from all cooking levels, using tried, tested, and trusted kitchen equipment.
Disclosure: Blogpost was not requested, and written at my discretion. Photos used here were taken for such a purpose. Opinions expressed are my own.