A native of Co. Wicklow, Catherine Fulvio’s culinary skills have transformed her into a household name in Ireland. As well as being a TV chef, food writer and cookery tutor, the mother-of-two also runs Ballyknocken Cookery School and Ballyknocken House in Co. Wicklow.
Her cooking style epitomizes the “farm to fork” ethos. What she cannot get from her own farm is sourced locally from farmers and specialty food producers.
Fulvio has worked in the tourism industry for over two decades and admits she inherited much of her cooking skills from her mother, who opened Ballyknocken House as one of Ireland’s first farmhouse guesthouses in the late 1960s.
Today, alongside her Italian husband, she runs the four-star bed and breakfast with the award-winning Ballyknocken Cookery School on-site. She has also written two cookbooks -- Catherine’s Italian Kitchen and Catherine’s Family Kitchen.
To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Fulvio will be in New York this week to promote Irish cuisine. She will be appearing on NBC’s Today show on Friday, March 16.
Speaking ahead of her upcoming visit, Fulvio pointed out that the demand for Irish food abroad continues to grow.
“Exports of Irish food have increased substantially in recent years,” she said.
“There is a real future and definite demand for quality Irish produce abroad and I am delighted to be in a position to showcase them on an international level.”
As well as sharing two of her delicious recipes with Irish Voice readers, the busy chef provided some cooking tips and an insight into her opinions on Irish food.
Read More Catherine Fulvio recipes:
Apricot, Date and Guinness Slices with Guinness Cream Sauce
Mustard and herb lamb chops with honey dressing
What does it mean to you to be in New York for St. Patrick's Day as an ambassador for Irish cuisine?
I am delighted to be in a position to promote the quality of Irish food as well as promoting Co. Wicklow as a destination. I am hoping to encourage more U.S. visitors to come to the garden of Ireland and indeed, Ballyknocken House and Cookery School, for a real Irish experience of both food and culture.
For an amateur cook, what is the easiest Irish dish to prepare?
There are many Irish dishes that are very easy to master including the traditional Irish stew, which is both easy and adaptable to various tastes. My motto when approaching recipe writing is that the dish must be both doable and delicious. One of the popular recipes in our cookery school is the mustard and herb lamb cutlets with honey dressing. This can be served with a choice of mash, and we like to give it a modern twist with a wasabi mash and this is definitely suitable for all levels of cooks. But I must stress that the most important factor to remember about any dish is about respecting good quality fresh ingredients.
From an international perspective, how do you think Irish cuisine has evolved in recent years?
Leaps and bounds I would say. Irish food has never tasted so good!
Nowadays we seem to like adding a modern twist to our more traditional tastes. This reflects the expanding tastes of the Irish palate with a fusion of flavors from around the world.
But most importantly the Irish, both at home and abroad, we have access to an unprecedented amount of quality Irish produce which we are very proud of and with good reason. This is due to lots of hard work and effort by the Irish Food Board and indeed Bord Iascaigh Mhara (Irish Sea Fisheries Board), not to mention Failte Ireland which is also promoting Ireland as a food destination with great results.
What is it about Irish food that so many people around the world love?
The simplicity and quality of the ingredients.
What do you say to people who brand Irish food as bland?
You haven’t tried real Irish food so! Oh and of course, come and visit Ballyknocken House and Cookery School where we use the best of Irish produce in both the bed and breakfast and the cookery school and we’ll change your mind!
What is your favorite thing about running a cookery school in Ireland?
I just love it. I have managed to marry my two favorite passions -- cooking and teaching. It is also a great portal to meeting people and exchanging tastes and flavors from around the world. I also get the chance to showcase some wonderful Irish produce to visitors and Irish residents alike.