Friday, March 15, 2013

French Fry Diary 473: Bobby's Potato-less Ireland

This Food Network special starring chef Bobby Flay takes a look at both the traditional and the new wave of Irish cuisine. Predictably, Bobby puts the poo-poo on traditional Irish fare. In other words, meat and potatoes are bad.

Darina Allen, one of the most celebrated chefs in Ireland, head and founder of the Ballymaloe Cookery School, is one of the forerunners of the new food movement in Ireland. Early in the program, she makes Bobby pick potatoes (for his first time) on the farm that provides food to the school.

The whole farm to table concept is the core of the school. Eventually the potatoes Bobby picked were boiled in salt water and served as is with butter. What no fries, I mean chips? This is Ireland, right?

Next Bobby takes his daughter to the English Market in Cork where they look at blood pudding, smoked salmon, oysters, and artisanal bread. Yep, just about everything you could imagine - except potatoes! Could it be that the new food movement in Ireland is solely because they've run out of potatoes?

His food tour continues with pork from Cork, and a tour of a vegetarian restaurant, Cafe Paradiso, and the farm that supplies it. Guess what? No potatoes there either. They did batter and deep fry flowers (squash blossoms), of all things, but not the one thing you would think the Irish would deep fry.

Moving on to Dublin, with the help of Irish chef and food star Clodagh McKenna, Bobby explores some cafes and pubs trying out 'traditional' Irish foods like porridge, soda bread, sponge cake, and ice cream.

Finally in the last ten minutes of the hour long show, almost as an afterthought, Bobby stopped at a place called Leo Burdock Fish & Chips, because "you just can't leave Dublin without having some fish and chips." Leo's is apparently, based on the signage, Dublin's oldest chipper. I was surprised he didn't go to Cookes, but then again if the original Irish restaurant is slouching as bad as its WDW counterpart, that's a good thing.

For a mere 8.95, Bobby gets a huge cod and a healthy portion of chips. He goes on to say what a big part of Irish cuisine fish and chips are. If that's true, Bobby, why only a fraction of the show about them, eh? Well, if it's any consolation, beer only got a few more seconds airtime than fish and chips.


Ray Cornwall said...

Having eaten at Bobby's bust of a burger joint, I'm suprised that Ireland didn't hide the potatoes.

Unknown said...

Just for the record, here's the review Ray is referencing: