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Adam and helen medcalf
Adam and Helen Medcalf

In the kitchen with Adam Medcalf

The head chef chats family life, culinary inspiration and more.


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

That's why in this series we talk to some of our favourite members of the food scene about their food habits outside of the workplace. Today we're chatting with Adam Medcalf, head chef at the renowned Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa in Clonakilty, West Cork. To see more about Inchydoney, click here

Here, Adam tells us about what he likes to eat when he's not working.

Do you cook a lot at home?

Before Covid, not really as I would be in work most evenings, however, with the lockdowns, I’ve really enjoyed being able to spend time with my family around the table at mealtimes.

Who do you usually eat with?

Normally it is staff meals at the hotel, which we cook for all staff members every day. My wife and three kids have dinners at home planned for the week so everyone knows what’s for dinner every night. It helps with food shopping but also the kids and myself work better when there is a plan in place

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

I try to limit sugar and snacks, which can take a lot of willpower around the pastry section!

What five ingredients do you always have in your kitchen?

Eggs, pasta, cheese, tinned tomatoes, and garlic. It means you can start the day with eggs for breakfast and no matter how the day has gone, you can make a meal in minutes that will fuel everyone.

What's in your fridge right now?

Eggs, broccoli, onions, carrots, mushrooms, parsnips, sprouts, sweet potatoes, leeks, rocket, lettuce, asparagus, sugar snap peas, peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, cheese, ham, yoghurts, cream cheese, chicken breasts and thighs, salmon, smoked ham, sausages, rashes, apples, and oranges.

What is your default dinner after a busy week?

A full roast dinner – the whole family enjoys it.

What is your favourite kitchen gadget?

It has to be my Le Creuset ovenproof Dish, it's great for one-pot cooks.

Do you have a favourite chef or cookbook?

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, I read it as a student and it is still a great read.

Have you ever had a kitchen disaster?

My kids are the harshest critics, they have no filter. If I do a dish differently than their Mum would, they don’t hide their opinions.

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

Right now I am trying out some different meals, including homemade burgers, spinach and ricotta cannelloni, salmon en croute, for the family at home during this lockdown. I have been told these are some of my best to date!

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

Taste and season as you go.

What would be your last meal?

Steak followed by a warm fudge sundae.

What is your favourite dish to cook?

Anything that gets a few of us together peeling, chopping, cooking it and chatting as we go, then sitting down to enjoy it together.

To see more from Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa, click here