Irish chef and TV personality Donal Skehan, author of the new cookbook "Home Kitchen: Everyday Cooking Made Simple And Delicious," says Irish food has come a long way.
"Traditional Irish cuisine unfortunately gets bastardized by the Americans – if you have a quick Google search, the version of what Irish food looks like is grey and miserable," Skehan recently told PA.
"Google is not our friend when it comes to representing Irish food! Traditional food is simplistic in its nature."
He added: “There’s this other side now where you have Irish people and chefs who have travelled and bring back techniques and ideas that meld together quite nicely with seasonal Irish produce."
Skehan, who lived in Los Angeles for nearly five years, says his time in the US heavily influenced his cooking and encouraged him to be more adventurous.
“It’s an incredibly diverse city – it’s a city of nearly 12 million people, so as someone who comes from a country of nearly six or seven million, a town of a couple of thousand [Howth], it was absolute a shock."
Skehan said he loved the food diversity he encountered while living in California.
“I tried a lot more food than I possibly would have. It certainly influenced me in terms of the cuisines we were trying – like Ethiopian food and Korean food and Sichuan cuisine.
“So from that perspective, it definitely changed my tastebuds and definitely changed my lust for wanting to try new things, more so than I ever thought before.”
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Skehan left Los Angeles and moved back to Howth with his wife Sofie and their two sons in 2020 during the pandemic.
But his time abroad is reflected in his latest cookbook, "Home Kitchen," which has a recipe for Vietnamese turmeric fish cake bánh mì as well as mushroom al pastor tacos and poke bowls.
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Skehan's 11th cookbook is also his most personal, featuring family photographs and anecdotes, as well as images of recipes handwritten by his late grandmother, Elizabeth Ryan, who passed away in 2015.
“She was the overarching matriarch of fantastic food and a constant source of inspiration to me," Skehan told Irish News about his grandmother.
"In 1970s rural Ireland, she was making croissants because she found them with a cookbook - nothing stopped her trying something."
Speaking about his new book, Skehan said: “The last couple of years have been tumultuous in that we moved back to Ireland and finally found a home, and I was very much trying to pull together a book that was reflective of where our family was at.
“The essence of 'Home Kitchen' is all about celebrating, sitting down with your family at the kitchen table and sharing moments together."
"Home Kitchen: Everyday Cooking Made Simple And Delicious" by Donal Skehan is available now.