Of all the celebrity TV chefs, Catherine Fulvio is my favourite. You can keep your Rachels and Rozannes, Catherine is the one for me. She has a natural style and an endearing ‘nose crinkling’ smile. My copy of her last book Eat Like An Italian bears all the hallmarks of a good cookbook, being dog-eared and splattered with oil. Her enthusiasm shines through on every page. It is clear to see that she enjoys all aspects of her work from the growing of the ingredients to the creativity of the cooking and, of course, the tasting of the results.
Even though she has trained in Ballymaloe, Catherine, like many women working in the kitchen is a ‘cook’ rather than a ‘chef’. Hers is not macho, confrontational cooking, but an easy pared back approach which is all about the flavours of the ingredients and the practicality of getting the food on the table. Learning to cook while holding on to the apron strings of her mother, it is no surprise that her recipes are so family friendly as well as achievable.
One of Ireland’s top culinary stars
From a farming background, she has turned her family farmhouse, Ballyknocken, into a thriving B&B and respected cookery school. She now spends her time between the farm in Wicklow, and Palermo where she and her Sicilian husband Claudio have a villa and spend time whenever possible. Catherine is a champion of the Italian style of eating, but using the best of Irish seasonal products. As a mother of two young children, she is most passionate about bringing families together through food. As she says herself, food is always a learning curve, there is always some fresh, exciting, product coming into season and the anticipation of how this ingredient can result in a mouthwatering dish is exciting and fun.
“Honestly, I enjoy every aspect of the work that I do,” she said. “It’s the variety that is so great. I do love the work in the cookery school, showing people how to make great dishes that taste great and are not complicated to do. The sense of achievement when people realise they can make their own pasta or cook a particular dish, especially Asian dishes, from scratch, is so satisfying. As for writing cookery books — we all love the recipes testing, especially on the desserts!”
This evening, June 19, will see her taking time out from her busy schedule of penning cookbooks, running an award winning cookery school, and guesting on TV and radio programmes, when you will have the rare chance of spending an evening in her company at her demo in the Clayton Hotel in Oranmore.
Some local food producers will also have stands at the event including O’Rourke’s Farm baked goods and preserves, Karen’s Cuisine sauces, and Mary’s Fish. “I always like to try and involve some of the local producers so in this case I will be looking at the artisan food market that will be present to see what goodies I can pick up there,” Catherine tells us.
Recipes from Ballyknocken House and Cookery School
Using her recipes from Ballyknocken House and Cookery School, you will be guided through the art of pasta making with plenty of tips and tricks to achieving tomato and basil pasta perfection at home. “People are always amazed to see just how easy it is to make their own pasta,” she says. There will be a Palermo chicken dish, a Fulvio family favourite, full of big Italian flavours, a punchy North Indian prawn curry with a fragrant saffron cinnamon basmati rice, and an impressive thyme-infused strawberry and blueberry meringue tower to finish things off.
Cookery demonstration are always fun, a great way to encourage healthy eating and an interest in cooking food at home. Catherine Fulvio regularly hosts these cookery demonstrations and is known for her entertaining style, easy charm, and passion for good food. A perfect evening’s entertainment for all Galway food enthusiasts.
If you are lucky with your raffle ticket there is a cookery class for two with Catherine Fulvio with accommodation in Ballyknocken House, and an overnight stay for two in the beautiful Renvyle House Hotel up for grabs. Learn more about Catherine’s other cookery course at Ballyknocken House, www.ballyknocken.com, which is now celebrating its first decade with a host of celebratory courses and special offers.
This evening’s event in the Clayton Hotel is organised by Scoil Mhuire Parents’ Association with all proceeds from the event going to the school. Tickets can be purchased in Oranmore at Scoil Mhuire, from www.eventbrite.ie (search Catherine Fulvio), or at the venue this evening. Doors open at 6pm with the demonstration starting at 7.30pm sharp. Tickets are €20.