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Photo by Katie Moran

In the kitchen with Gráinne Mullins

The award-winning pastry chef talks Irish cheese, curry and more.


Have you ever wondered what chefs eat when they're not in work? Us too.

That's why our series In the kitchen with... sees us chat with some of our favourite chefs about their food habits outside of the workplace. Today, we're chatting with Gráinne Mullins, pastry chef extraordinaire and Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year 2019

Known for her exceptional desserts, Gráinne has worked in some of the countries best spots, including Ox, Cliff House Hotel and Ashford Castle. Her affinity for intricate chocolate work has led her to start her own business, Grá Chocolates, and an artisanal chocolate company which features heaps of local Irish ingredients. The company will officially launch on July 24th, so get ready to place your order!

Here, Gráinne tells us about her life outside of work.

Do you cook a lot at home?

Generally, I don’t cook at home, but I’ve been thrilled with lockdown as it has meant I’ve been making home-cooked meals for my whole family almost every day. I’ve been having great fun with lots of new ideas and I’ve tried not to repeat any dishes unless I get a special request from one of the family, such as chicken fattee or ramen.

Who do you usually eat with?

For the past few months, dinner time has been shared with my family. I also love to eat with friends and if I’m working, the team meal is always a nice part of the day. But every so often, I've also gone for a meal by myself “for research”.

Are there any foods you have to or choose to avoid?

I am willing to try absolutely anything, there are just two veggies that I avoid: cauliflower and celeriac. But I am open to having my mind changed about these vegetables! By choice, I also avoid all artificial sweeteners.

What five ingredients do you always have in your kitchen?

Eggs, flour, butter, cheese and more butter!

READ MORE: In the kitchen with Jess Murphy

Image by Katie Moran.
Image by Katie Moran.

What's in your fridge right now?

Lots of cheese, including Killeen, St. Tola, Cashel Blue and Cnoc Dubh.

What is your default dinner after a busy week?

After a busy week I need something quick, so I love nasi goreng. It's a delicious Indonesian dish with fried rice and egg.

What is your favourite kitchen gadget?

The Thermomix. It's so versatile, can help you to really reduce down your workload and even do the clean up.

Do you have a favourite chef or cookbook?

Melissa Coppel, Cedric Grolet, Antonio Bachour, they are all fantastic pastry chefs.

Have you ever had a kitchen disaster?

Oh yes! But we learn from our mistakes and it leads to a better understanding of your products and methods.

READ MORE: In the kitchen with Paula Stakelum

What's the best thing you've ever cooked?

I cannot say, I believe that every dish can be improved on. Part of the enjoyment is sharing food with friends and family, and the atmosphere in which you are enjoying the dish. One meal that I’m extremely proud of is my winning dishes for the Eurotoques Young Chef of the Year Competition 2019.

What is the best cooking tip you've ever been given?

Take notes. I have years worth of recipes, notes and knowledge. Reading back over them can be such inspiration or can trigger your memory of some fantastic recipes.

What would be your last meal?

I’ve been craving potato and pea curry from the Galway market for weeks now so I'd have to say that!

What is your favourite dish to cook?

I couldn’t say I have one particular favourite dish. Yes, there are techniques that I really enjoy using, but if I can put a smile on someone’s face then that will make me happier than anything.

Keep up with Gráinne and Grá Chocolates on Instagram, Twitter or here.

READ MORE: In the kitchen with Finn Ni Fhaolain