Battle of the chefs on November 16

This is an event which promises to be great fun and a great culinary experience while helping four worthy charities. The charities to benefit are Console, Down Syndrome Ireland, Cancer Care West and The Galway Lions Club. The event will take place in The Salthill Hotel on Wednesday November 16. Tickets cost €50 and are available from The Salthill Hotel on 091 548808, and also from the designated charities above.

The night begins at 7.30pm with a mulled wine reception, with the meal sit down time 8pm. There will be seven top chefs in the kitchen all ‘battling’ to get your top score of the night. Each diner (hopefully 250+ ) will have a scorecard for each course so it should be great fun to see if your opinion of the food is matched by the results.

The format of the evening will be a starter, risotto course, fish course, main course, dessert, cheese and petit fours. There will be wine to partner certain dishes also. Between courses there will be short surprise entertainment acts and after dinner a live band. During the meal Tadgh Keady will have live cameras rolling in the kitchen with screens dotted around the dining room. Chef Johnny Carroll will be master of ceremonies, thus adding to the pressure in the kitchen. The actual dishes will not be announced until the night.

Everything on the night has been sponsored: food, wine, services and all the staff. Add to that the great causes and it must be worth your support. Why not get a few friends/workmates together and book a table.

The seven chefs are: -

1.‘The Elder Lemons’ will prepare the starters; these chefs are all retired lecturers from the GMIT Catering College.

2.Tu Tul Abdul Hasneath hails from Bangladesh and has worked in top hotels such as The Pan Pacific Akaka before moving to the UK and then Ireland. Tu Tul will be preparing the risotto course.

3.Corporal Michael Loughnane, Head Chef in An Chead Chathlan, Dún Ui Mhaoilíose (Mellows Barracks ) in Renmore. Michael has cooked for An Taoiseach, several ministers and on overseas missions in The Middle East, The Balkans, West Africa and South East Asia. Michael will be preparing the fish course.

4.Kieran Cooney, Head Chef with Sodexho Catering in Medtronic. Kieran started out his career in Donnelly’s in Barna, followed by Fitzpatrick’s in Killiney. He has catered for lots of large events such as The Rose of Tralee and The Irish Open Golf Championship. Kieran will cook the main course.

5.Tony Ryan, Head Chef at The Salthill Hotel, has travelled widely to hone his culinary skills. He worked in The Cumberland Hotel in London, Lords Cricket Grounds and, while in New York, he catered for celebrity parties such as The New York Times, MTV, and various political conventions. Tony represented New York in a TV show called Ready Set Cook and he won. He has appeared on the Food Network and worked with celebrities such as Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. Tony will prepare the desserts.

6. Mark Duffy, Head Chef with Compass Catering in Boston Scientific. Mark has worked in The Gresham Hotel, The Clarence Hotel and Dublin Airport. If Mark manages to cook for 3,000 people in Boston Scientific each day then 250/300 people should be a ‘walk in the park’. Mark will prepare the cheese course. Mark has cooked for our outgoing President McAleese and for the Gold Jubilee of the Panel of Chefs of Ireland.

7. Martin O’Donnell, Head Chef at The 12 in Barna. Martin has worked in the USA, New Zealand and Australia. He has also spent time in The Salthill Hotel but has been working in The 12 in Barna since it opened. He will be preparing the petit fours. He has appeared on TV3 and RTE showcasing food in the west.

The event is being organised by Maurice Mc Carthy, himself a fine chef and lecturer in catering. He deserves our support so go on, go on, go on , organise a night out with friends and support a very worthy cause.

Mauritian Creole Restaurant, Forster Street

I had passed the sign for this restaurant a couple of times and wondered what exactly is a Mauritian Creole restaurant and also wondered about the significance of the bird on the signage that looked a bit like a fat turkey. First of all the Mauritian part of the title indicates that the owners and chef are from Mauritius and the Creole part of the name comes from the fact that the French created a huge plantation business in Mauritius during the 1700s and the language that developed among the slaves was a version of the French that was called creole. The slaves were from Africa, Madagascar and India, so as you can imagine the food has many influences. Finally the picture of the fat bird is a dodo, which became extinct in Mauritius around the end of the 1600s.

The restaurant is located upstairs in Forster Street, roughly across from Park House. They have a Facebook page, if you would like to see some pictures. The food is indeed a mixture of influences, somewhat like a cross between Indian, Chinese and Indonesian. The menu is 98 per cent coeliac friendly and the only oil they use is olive oil. They do not use any dairy products and all spices are selected for their ayurvedic qualities, the most popular being cumin, fenugreek, mustard seeds, saffron, cardamon, salt, sesame and turmeric. Careful use of these in their preparation of any dish should create a good balance for the body.

They have an la carte menu but they have just launched four set menus of either five or six courses, plus some side dishes of condiments, costing between €20.50 and €27.50 per person. The price includes a non-alcoholic fruity cocktail. I had the ‘Le Palmier’ dinner, starting out with tuna fish cakes with herbs and pineapple relish. They were tasty and not at all as oily as I imagined. I then had fresh water jumbo prawns in mustard seeds with turmeric, onions and vinegar. This was my favourite dish and while it looked like a hot curry sauce I was in for a surprise. I found out that their tradition is to serve the home made fresh chili paste on the side so you can mix it to whatever amount of heat you like; very clever. Next were the egg noodles in soy sauce, again very good with lots of egg through it. I should mention that all the dishes after the first one come together. The next was stir-fried beef in cumin and soy, this was too tough for me and a bit too heavy on what was possibly a dark soy sauce. There was also a pineapple, cucumber and lettuce salad, which was fine without being anything special.

The staffs are exceptionally friendly and encourage their guests to make comments in the visitors’ book on the way out. For bookings, call 087 9450708. The restaurant is open from 4pm to 10.30pam, each day except for Tuesday.

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