She has worked as a pastry chef in some of the country's best restaurants, but now Tara Gartlan is turning her hand to teaching with a series of gluten-free masterclasses as part of Damien Grey's new project, The Chef Supper Club.
It might come as a surprise, but did you know that one of the country's best pastry chefs is coeliac? Tara Gartlan is well-known for her incredible desserts - she was part of the team that helped win The Greenhouse on Dawson Street its second Michelin star and when head chef Mickael Viljanen announced his move to the northside to found Chapter One by Mickael Viljanen with Ross Lewis, Gartlan was one of the first to follow him across the Liffey. Her desserts, which she has created in the pastry section alongside head pastry chef Darren Hogarty, have been notable highlights on every menu that the newly-refurbished restaurant has produced, acknowledging her exceptional talent.
"So far, it's been really good, even though it's been a bit of an adjustment," Gartlan says of her experience so far at Chapter One by Mickael Viljanen. "The amalgamation of the two teams has gone really well and everyone has been really nice. It's so great to see everyone really push service on such a high level."
While working at one of the country's hottest restaurants is hardly a mean feat, Gartlan has somehow also found time to join Damien Grey of Liath restaurant's newest venture, The Chef Supper Club, as the first host of the project's 'From Scratch' masterclasses.
The six-week 'From Scratch' course with Gartlan will focus solely on gluten-free baking, a task that many cooks find extremely difficult. Gartlan, however, has completely mastered it and has been more than generous in sharing her knowledge across her Instagram page, website, and various publications, including a delicious winter spread in the November 2020 issue of Food&Wine Magazine.
Her upcoming 'From Scratch' series will allow participants to up their gluten-free game with multiple recipes, starting first with crumble and custard, before moving on to the likes of crackers, truffles, soufflés and biscuits - her Mikado biscuits were hugely popular on Instagram, with followers clamouring to try the recipe for themselves, but this will be the first time that Gartlan will reveal her secret recipe to the public.
"I picked recipes that I knew had done well online and that I knew people would want to try," Gartlan says. "Some, like my brownie recipe, have already been published a lot, so I made sure to include new, exciting recipes that would be great for gluten-free bakers of all abilities."
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While The Chef Supper Club, a series of interactive cooking experiences hosted by chefs from around the country, only launched a short while ago, Gartlan was actually one of the first chefs that Damien Grey approached to take part.
"Damien actually came to me in early 2021, when we were still in lockdown, and told me about The Chef Supper Club," Gartlan explains.
"He wanted to do something with pastry and gluten-free is still a bit niche, so he saw it as a unique selling point and asked me to take part. During the lockdowns, I had a lot of time to think about it and plan, so I think it will be a popular series for The Chef Supper Club."
Gartlan's 'From Scratch' programme starts on Sunday, October 3 with options for participants to book one class, two blocks of classes or the whole six-week course. You can also add on nationwide delivery of ingredients for an additional cost, helping to take the stress out of planning to bake and allowing you to just learn as you go.
Tara's 'From Scratch' course kicks off this Sunday, October 3 and there are still some spaces available - click here to secure your spot now.