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 Irish food scene about their food habits outside of the workplace. Today, we're chatting with Graham Neville, chef at Dax on Dublin's Pembroke Street.
Having studied culinary arts at DIT's Cathal Brugha Street campus, Graham has worked at well-known restaurants around the world, including Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck, Le Caprice in London and Thornton's in Dublin. As well as holding the post of Commissioner General of Euro-Toques Ireland from 2016 to 2019, Graham has also taken home several titles at previous FOOD&WINE Awards ceremonies - he was named Best Chef in Dublin and Best Chef in Ireland in 2014 when he worked at Restaurant FortyOne in Dublin, while the restaurant itself also took home the Best Restaurant in Dublin award.
Graham joined the team at Dax in 2017 and has been cooking up some of Dublin's best food ever since. Here, Graham tells us about what he likes to eat when he's not at work.
Do you cook a lot at home?
During the lockdown period, I’ve probably cooked more at home than I ever have and I’ve experienced some bad reviews from my family - nothing in writing, just the dreaded silence and the scraping of leftover food into the dog's bowl. Actions speak louder than words!
Who do you usually eat with?
When at home, we try to eat together so that would be with my wife Kate and our three boys, but the two dogs are generally not far away.
Are there any foods you have to or choose to avoid?
Professionally and at home we try to eat local, indigenous fresh foods at all times. I wouldn’t say I avoid any food types - I'm trying to set an example for the younger generation and the restaurant customers of the future.
READ MORE: In the kitchen with Jess Murphy
What five ingredients do you always have in your kitchen?
Dairy, seafood, vegetables, sugar, and sea salt.
What's in your fridge right now?
I haven’t done the shopping yet so I only have milk, cream, half a head of baby gem, cheeses including cheddar, Parmesan and Cashel Blue, my sourdough starter, ham, carrots, and broccoli. That's about it.
What is your default dinner after a busy week?
If I have time, a whole roasted chicken with roast maris pipers potatoes, green beans and mushrooms. If I'm under pressure timewise, I have toasted sourdough with a runny fried egg runny and lots of white pepper. We get our eggs from a neighbour and nothing tastes better.
What is your favourite kitchen gadget?
A good kitchen porter - I’ve yet to find one, although my wife might disagree.
Do you have a favourite chef or cookbook?
Larousse Gastronomique was one of the first books I bought and it has lasted the test of time. Good quality never ages.
READ MORE: In the kitchen with Eoin Cluskey
Have you ever had a kitchen disaster?
I've worked in kitchens since I was about sixteen years of age, so I’ve had many disasters. Not sure if I’m ready to disclose my disasters just yet, could be traumatic - I’d have to speak with my psychiatrist first!
What's the best thing you've ever cooked?
This is a very difficult question to answer, however, courgette flowers stuffed with Irish lobster and served with a nice bisque made from the shells has got to be up there.
What is the best cooking tip you've ever been given?
There's a saying that "mother nature provides and chefs translate", so following that I would say buy and cook with top quality ingredients and let the ingredients do the talking.
What would be your last meal?
Toasted sourdough and a soft fried egg with lots of butter, white pepper, and for the day that’s in it, lashings of black truffle.
What is your favourite dish to cook?
I love cooking with seafood. It’s so versatile and we have superb variety and freshness in Ireland. As a nation, we don’t realise how lucky we are.