Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day 1

The last time I visited Ireland, I was 2 1/2 years old. My family was traveling the countryside and ended our week with a restful four day stop at the Ballymaloe House. Although I only remember playing in a swing outside the house, I have grown up watching my mother consult her Ballymaloe Cookbook while preparing dinner for our family of fourteen. As one can imagine, there was always plenty for me to do as a sous-chef! Despite having to feed such a large crowd every evening, or perhaps because of it, Mom loves to cook. She has always revered the Ballymaloe legacy and has instilled in me a respect for good ingredients, simple recipes, and always flavorful food.

I graduated from college last May and, within a month, had moved to New York to work for an information broker serving the finance community. In the midst of the stressful, fast-paced lifestyle typical of New York’s financial industry, my kitchen served as a welcome haven. It did not take me long to realize that, in the words of Ina Garten, “there’s got to be more to life than this!” Ever since my childhood I have loved to cook, and armed with many new skills acquired at Ballymaloe, I would like to pursue a new direction in my life, far from business suits and briefcases and centered on my passion for food.

But enough about me! For the next 83 Days, I’ll discuss the experience at Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shanagarry, County Cork, Ireland. Today, day one, was move in day. Around 60 students, from as far away as Japan and as nearby as Kilkenny, unloaded chef gear and wellingtons into the various cottages on the cooking school grounds- our home for the next 3 months. Tomorrow we’ll begin class…


  1. It is fitting that your first comment should be from your mom. Tonight we are having pasta with tomato basil sauce but I sure would rather you were cooking dinner. We miss you but know that your creative and industrious genes were made for this adventure. Good Luck and happy eating. Mom

  2. Helen told me about your space and I intend to really "tackle" your writing this weekend... sort of skimmed it all, loving your writing and the photos! Welcome to our world with your roux... our gumbos and redfish courvillion (pronouced koo-be-yon) all start with a roux. Enjoy the adventure. Mary Looney