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Interviews

In the kitchen with Barry Sun

The chef talks seafood, his inspiration and more.

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

That's why in our new series In the kitchen with... we talk to some of our favourite chefs about their food habits outside of the workplace and today, we're chatting with Barry Sun, head chef at Volpe Nera in Blackrock.  

Barry, who came to Ireland from China at the age of 19, has worked in some of Dublin's best restaurants, starting as a kitchen porter in Mint in Ranelagh, before training in l'Ecrivain, Chapter One and Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud. Barry made his name in Etto, the tiny restaurant best-known for its delicious red wine-soaked prunes, before becoming head chef at Volpe Nera in the seaside town of Blackrock in South Dublin. 

Here, Barry tells us about his life outside of the kitchen.

READ MORE: Quick breakfast ideas to get you through this week 

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We have a couple of fantastic new dishes on our menu for two for next weekend: Stracciatella with heirloom tomatoes, basil, balsamic, whole meal tuile. Braised short rib and wasabi dumplings, pickled walnuts, kohlrabi, aged soya. Barry @barry_sun_ has sourced the wasabi for the dumpling dish from a fantastic company in West Cork @singing_frog_gardens As usual, order on our website www.volpenera.ie from 12 noon this Wednesday for collection this weekend. This week’s Menu - €52 for two people sharing Homemade Lemon & Garlic Ciabatta with Picual first press olive oil Coppa Salami with House Pickles Stracciatella with Heirloom Tomatoes, Basil, Balsamic, Wholemeal Tuile Braised Short Rib & Wasabi Dumplings, Pickled Walnuts, Kolrabi, Aged Soya Px Poached Peach, Roast White Chocolate, Pistachio Tuile Hegarty’s Cheddar Cheese with Homemade Crackers Vegetarian and Dinner Party Box menus will be available to order also on Wednesday.

A post shared by Volpe Nera (@volpeneradublin) on

Do you cook a lot at home?

Not a lot, but I do cook sometimes, and if there’s a family occasion or celebration, it's usually me that prepares the food for it.

Who do you usually eat with?

My wife Jo-Jo and my kids

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

No, I love ALL the food!

What five ingredients do you always have in your kitchen?

Apple, lemon, milk, flour, côte de boeuf.

What's in your fridge right now?

Blue cheese, cucumber, leftover dumplings from last night, lots of tomatoes, ginger and garlic.

What is your default dinner after a busy week?

Any sort of dumplings with a glass of sherry.

What is your favourite kitchen gadget?

A paco-jet for making ice-cream.

Do you have a favourite chef or cookbook?

Derry Clarke, who I worked for in L’Ecrivain, and Paul McNamara, who I worked for in Etto. Both inspired me as a person and a chef. Derry is a fantastic restauranteur and an all-round great person.
In terms of books, at the moment I’m loving The Book of St John by Fergus Henderson, Bocca from Bocca di Lupo which is an Italian restaurant in London, and Barrafina’s book.

READ MORE: In the kitchen with Jess Murphy

Dumplings from Volpe Nera.
Dumplings from Volpe Nera.

Have you ever had a kitchen disaster?

Yes definitely, I think every Chef has!

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

It’s hard to say, but my favourite was a coq au vin.

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

Taste, taste, taste

What would be your last meal?

As long as it was a family dinner with my loved ones then I don’t think I’d mind too much what was on the plates.

What is your favourite dish to cook?

My father was a fisherman, so I remember eating amazing, fresh seafood every single day, and I’ve loved and respected fish and seafood so much since. I love everything from the sea, and love to cook with fish. My favourite fish dish to cook is steamed seabass.

Keep up to date with Barry and Volpe Nera here and on Instagram.

READ MORE: In the kitchen with Paula Stakelum