Five Galwegians will be going head to head to see who can cook the best food and throw the best dinner party on TV3’s Come Dine With Me Ireland.
The Galway episodes of Come Dine With Me Ireland will be shown from this Monday to Friday and among those taking part is the New Zealand born, Galway based comedian Danny Dowling.
Danny has been living in Ireland for the last 11 years after meeting, falling in love, and marrying an Irishwoman, but he is originally from Fairview, a village outside of Timaru, on the south island of New Zealand.
“The English went mainly to Christchurch, the Scots to Dunedin, and the Irish congregated around Timaru,” says Danny. “Our main street is called O’Connell Street and Fairview was named after the Fairview area in Dublin.”
Danny is passionate about cooking, even if he admits to not always being busy at the stove. “My wife does most of it at home,” he admits, “but when I cook though I’m one of those guys that uses every pot and pan in the kitchen, I love it.”
However Danny’s love of cooking was originally born out of the need for his family to pull together after their mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
“One of the saddest things for me growing up was when Mum got Alzheimer’s,” he says. “We started noticing things were happening to her when she was about 45, by the time she hit 47, I was 11 or 12, she had become incapable in the kitchen. Me and my brothers all pulled together as a family and looked after Mum and part of that was we got given a night to cook and that’s where it started.”
Later on Danny worked in a number of luxury hotels in New Zealand and “got a taste for fine dining” in both preparing food for the guests and during staff lunch hours. “I enjoyed eating caviar with a dessert spoon,” he laughs.
Over the last couple of years Danny has been building his reputation and profile as a comedian, regularly hosting his Mad Hatter comedy nights in the Róisín Dubh as well as completing a recent and well received tour of Northern Ireland. His skills in the kitchen and the chance to raise his profile combined to convince him to enter Come Dine With Me Ireland.
“I’m a major fan of the show,” he says. “I often watched it and thought, ‘How hard could it be to cook for four people and provide some entertainment?’ but having taken part realise that it’s much harder than you think, and then you have a camera crew trying to make a programme at the same time so you have to get the timing right for the food as they are doing their edits and re-shoots.”
“Also, entering the programme is publicity that money can’t buy. It’s a chance to promote myself. The estimated viewing figure for the first programme was 350,000 but it got 700,000 a night. There is a repeat on Saturdays which gets 100,000. Also Channel 4 is looking to broadcast Come Dine With Me Ireland in the run-up to Christmas, and that could be five million viewers.”
As a result, Danny’s new website www.dannydowling.net will go live after the first show on Monday and feature links to video clips and stand up comedy routines of Danny in actions, with new clips being added after every show throughout the week.
Being a comedian means Danny is bound to be in competition with the show’s narrator, Dave Lamb for coming up with the wittiest lines. “I got a Tweet from Dave Lamb after he recorded his narration for the show which said ‘Well played sir’, and that was great to get,” says Danny.
Until the show is broadcast, Danny is unable to discuss what food he prepared for the night, but he does joke, “I can’t tell you what flavour the packet was, but it was easy to add water to, boil, and stir”.
Of course being a comedian means we can expect something fun for Danny’s dinner party entertainment. “Oh yes the entertainment is what we expect everyone to be talking about,” he says, but Danny is also confident that the show, indeed all the Galway episodes, will be one of the best in the series.
“One of the cameramen said it was the best he had worked on and he’s been on 8-900 episodes,” says Danny. “There are five great contestants; a very sharp, quick witted Canadian, myself; two great Galwegians, and a man who is one of life’s unique characters.”
Danny’s episode will be broadcast on TV3 on Thursday August 4 at 9pm. Campbell’s Tavern, Cloughanover, will show the episode on a big screen. See www.dannydowling.net