An Interview with Paula McIntyre

Paula McIntyre - The Show's Resident Chef

1. What sparked your interest in cooking?

My mum was a really good, adventurous cook. We had “exotic” things like spaghetti in the seventies! A visit to Valvona and Crolla in Edinburgh, when I was 8, inspired me to take up cooking as a living.

2. Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

Northern Irish food producers and growers inspire me every day. I go to St George’s market most Saturday mornings and what’s available dictates what I cook. I’m Director of Slow Food in Northern Ireland and have met so many inspirational chefs and producers through this global movement. I travel a lot and pick up lots of recipes and techniques through eating out and visiting wine makers and producers abroad.

3. What is your all-time favourite plant to cook with?

Lemon verbena for desserts and I’ve been experimenting with heather lately when smoking food.

4. If you were having a dinner party, who would your top 3 guests be? 

The singer James Taylor, the chef Dan Barber (author of the Third Plate) and Bette Midler.

5. What would you cook a vegan who doesn’t like nut roast or carrots?

I really like taking a local vegetable like an onion and roasting it, smoking it, grilling it and trying to bring out as much flavour as possible. I roast the skins and grind them into an “ash” which I use to roll in roasted vegetables.

6. Do you have a favourite cooking gadget?

A really good, sharp, well balanced Japanese knife.

7. What is the best piece of culinary advice you have ever been given?

Keep it simple!

8. What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Allianz Garden Show Ireland in Antrim Castle Gardens? 

I’m looking forward to cooking with great local ingredients, catching up with and meeting new people, and trying to add to my minuscule knowledge of gardening!


Paula is busy cooking up a fabulous programme of food for you!


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