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.

Latest News Articles:

Global Shares to create 80 new jobs
Ford 100 Fest on Ford family farm to mark 100 years of Ford in Ireland
A Taste of West Cork Food Festival launches delectable programme
Healing with a harp
Plan the perfect wedding day at the Fota Island Resort Wedding Forum
Clutching at straws for Coalition
Lee’s and Nils: West Cork clubs in the city
The walk of a lifetime
West Cork farmers take gold at National Farmer of the Year Awards
Shining success for Union Hall Centra store at 2017 Quality Awards

Join us on Facebook

Dunmanway Historical Association regrets to announce that the talk on Sile na Gig which was to take place on Thursday, 24th August in Atkins hall @ 8:30pm has been cancelled. ... See MoreSee Less

18th August, 2017  ·  

This year Wild Atlantic Tag sponsored by Marine Harvest will take place in Adrigole on Saturday August 5th. All are welcome, whether you are a team entry or an individual looking to join a team. The teams will be divided into two sections, Social & Seriously Social! Please contact Sean (0879568363) or Joey (0879865827) to register. It promises to be great craic with plenty of refreshments available pre and post-match! Fantastic local musician Eoghan McEllhenny will entertain the rugby masses from 4.30pm followed by Peadar O’Callaghan and renowned Natural Gas will round off the night from 9.30pm! ... See MoreSee Less

14th July, 2017  ·  

A woodland walk will take place on the 22nd June at 7pm in Glengarriff Nature Reserve. This is a great opportunity to learn about woodlands, their plants and wildlife and is an opportunity not to be missed. Glengarriff Nature Reserve was designated as a Nature reserve in 1991, and covers over 300 acres in size. It is a beautiful and unique woodlands containing many different habitats and is owned and managed by NPWS primarily for conservation and amenity purposes. The event is led by National Parks Ranger Clare Heardman and has been organised by Cork Nature Network For further information please contact events@corknaturenetwork.ie ... See MoreSee Less

19th June, 2017  ·  

Jump to:

Top