In the kitchen with Clodagh McKenna

Clo Cooking with Cabbage

Posted on: 4th August, 2015

Category: Food & Wine

Contributor: West Cork People

Chef, restaurateur, television personality and food writer, Clodagh McKenna has journeyed a long way since she first started out on a stall at the farmer’s markets in West Cork, which incidentally she looks back on as being one of the highlights of her career. Over the past 15 years, she has become one of the most recognised faces and brands in Ireland’s Food and Lifestyle sectors. Combining a passion for food with her business savvy, Clodagh has developed her brand into an emerging business empire encompassing Clodagh’s Kitchen restaurants, her television shows, cookbooks and a food column. She speaks to West Cork People about her ‘hunger’ to get ahead and why she always loves coming back to West Cork.

Clodagh, whose father is from Bandon in West Cork, grew up in a household where sharing food around the table was an important part of daily life. “I’m not sure exactly when my love affair with food began…looking back I love how food brings people together to create a special moment.

“My favourite memory is the delicious baking smells that filled our house on Saturday mornings. In particular the smell of the Rock Buns that we would make and of course the utter delight of eating them!”

Clodagh went on to train and work at Ballymaloe before becoming involved with Slow Food and the Farmer’s Markets movement in Ireland and opening her own stall selling fresh homemade pasta, pates and chutneys. She then spent a number of years living in Turin, Italy where, among other things, she lectured at the Slow Food University of Gastronomy. “I learned a lot in Italy — about food culture, cooking, and the importance of food being inclusive. The Italians start planning their dinner over breakfast and I now find myself doing the same thing; it’s about creating a time to give back to yourself and your family. If it’s only for one hour a day, it’s important to make that time.”

Although she has lived in many countries and places around Ireland, Clodagh maintains that West Cork has always been her favourite place to live. She tries to visit as much as her busy schedule allows, about once a year. “I relax the minute I arrive in West Cork, it is an oasis for me — I love the creative bubble that exists here and the incredible farmers markets in the towns.”

The author of five cookbooks, Clodagh draws her inspiration in the kitchen from all over the world. “Everywhere I travel, whether it be in London, or NYC or France, I am always discovering new combinations; you can never stop learning, that’s what is so exciting about cooking.”

Never one to ‘watch a pot boil’, she has just started writing her sixth cookbook. “It is a much bigger book than I have ever done before so it will take some time to complete but I am very excited about it.” She says that holding her first book in her hands was a very special moment in her career.

Clogagh admits that the biggest challenge working for herself is “self-belief and motivation.”

“There are so many challenges when you work for yourself. Someone once said to me to think globally and act locally — I think that is great advice for anyone working for his or herself. And also to never stop dreaming…

“I genuinely love what I do…I am so lucky to work in the food world, there are harder sides to this business but I try not to lose sight of my passion for cooking and discovering my ingredients.”

Setting up and running two busy restaurants and working 24/7 in the first six months of start-up have taught Clodagh important lessons. “It does take over your world, but it is worth it, if you love it; it’s also so important to take time out – I have learned that in recent years. I love cinema, theatre, running, listen to audio books, discovering new restaurants, dancing, and of course cooking!”

Clodagh has launched five very successful cookbooks ‘The Irish Farmer’s Market Cookbook’, ‘Fresh from the Sea’, ‘Homemade’ and ‘Clodagh’s Kitchen Diaries’ and the latest, this year, ‘Clodagh’s Irish Kitchen’.

For more information www.clodaghmckenna.com.

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Strict visitor restrictions have been put in place with immediate effect at Bantry General Hospital due to the number of patients who have presented with flu like symptoms.

In the interest of patient care and in order to restrict the spread of the flu virus within the hospital, it is necessary with immediate effect to ban all visitors to Bantry General Hospital, with the exception of following: critically ill patients are restricted to one visitor per critically ill patient and confined to visiting times only, and attendance at the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) and Local Injury Unit (LIU) should only take place if absolutely necessary, only one relative per patient attending these areas.

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8th January, 2018  ·  

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What makes Christmas special? Children and adults we support, our incredible staff, families and supporters - these are the people who make our organisation so special every single day, but especially at Christmas! Meet some of them here... Thank you to the wonderful team at AV3 Media who kindly produced this video for us as a Christmas gift! To make a Christmas donation today, go to www.cope-foundation.ie/donate. We believe that together we can do great things and with your support we can do so much more! Please SHARE our video so that more people can learn about the amazing things that happen at Cope Foundation! Evening Echo; Irish Examiner; The Southern Star; The Avondhu; Cork Independent; West Cork Times; West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork; Bandon Opinion/The Opinion; Vale Star; East Cork Journal; Cork Chamber - Faces of Cork Business; Cork City FC; Cork Institute of Technology - CIT; University College Cork; Corks RedFM 104-106; The KC Show Corks 96 FM; Cork's 96FM; Cork's Best; C103 Cork; Cork Airport; Cork Opera House: The Everyman; Cork County Council; County Cork; Cork City Council; CorkLike; CCCahoots; Cork On Ice; Glow Cork; CIT Cork School of Music; RTÉ Today; Ciaran Bermingham - Actor; Rob & Marian Heffernan; John Spillane; Ger Wolfe; Eimear O'Brien PR; Jack O Rourke; Theo Dorgan; Mahon Point Shopping Centre; Blackpool Shopping Centre & Retail Park

18th December, 2017  ·  

This is the real spirit of Christmas at Caseys of Clonakilty. ... See MoreSee Less

Are you alone or do you know someone who will be alone this Christmas? If so, then we here at Casey’s would like to make your day that little bit easier. We are offering a full Christmas dinner on us! Christmas dinners can be collected Christmas Eve from 12:30pm - 8:30pm. Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas from everyone at Casey’s

15th December, 2017  ·  

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta’s has just announced its Christmas schedule and it features several programmes of interest to listeners in West Cork.

On New Year’s Day at 12.08 pm we’ll hear highlights from the Éigse Dhiarmuidín Festival that took place in West Cork in early December, remembering musician and broadcaster Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin. An Nollaig ar Oileán Chléire is an archive show presented by Mícheál Ó Sé on Wednesday 27 December at 5.30 pm about Christmas on Cape Clear and on Friday 29 December and 5 January at 7 pm, Peadar Ó Riada will bring us very special editions of his Cuireadh chun Ceoil programme from Múscraí. Keep an ear out!
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15th December, 2017  ·  

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REMINDER: An Garda Siochana are hosting a Retail Crime Prevention Meeting, to be held at 7pm on Wednesday 29th November 2017. This meeting will be held in the Munster Arms Hotel in Bandon. This meeting is one of a series being held across the West Cork Garda Division, in association with Operation Thor, the Garda National Anti-Crime Strategy. The purpose of the meeting is to increase the cooperation between Gardai and the retail sector, ensuring that the current low levels of crime in the locality extends past the busy approaching Christmas season. The meeting will be addressed by the local Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Ian O’ Callaghan, who will discuss burglary prevention, shoplifting, fraud, and cybercrime. There will be a particular focus on cash handling and cash exposure of businesses in the run up to the Christmas shopping period. All aspects of commercial crime will be discussed, and we would strongly urge all businesses to make a special effort to attend on the evening.

28th November, 2017  ·  

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