‘Cook In’ TV show urges consumers to support Irish producers

Westmeath dairy farmer Emma McCormack and Ballymakenny Heritage Potatoes, known for its potatoes by post and drive-through spud shack, are among the producers featured in a TV foodie series ‘Cook In’ with award-winning chef Mark Moriarty which is currently running.

Mark, a chef at the two Michelin star Greenhouse restaurant in Dublin, previously presented the popular RTÉ show ‘Beyond the Menu’.

This new series focuses on what can be achieved with ingredients many people have at their fingertips during Covid-19 lockdown, as well as showcasing leading Irish food producers. With restaurants closed, the idea is to catch the imagination with appealing nutritious meals that can be rustled up at home.

A native of Ventry, Mark gained an appreciation for Irish produce while working in local restaurants from the age of 14.

He currently works in Kilcullen three days a week, making meals for frontline workers in ICU, Naas general and Connolly hospitals as well as four nursing homes and community support meals through Kilcullen Gardai, as part of a not-for-profit initiative.

Supporting farmers and food producers

‘Cook In’, which is sponsored by the Bord Bia quality mark, provides inspiration for creating interesting and uplifting dishes such as Fusilli Beef Ragu, with plenty of Michelin star tips and an emphasis on supporting farmers and food producers in viewers’ localities.

Mark said that his aim is to provide useful and practical advice for creating simple dishes, while people stay safe at home during the ongoing pandemic.

“It’s all about using what you already have in the kitchen cupboard and giving it a new lease of life, seeing as we can’t head to the supermarket as frequently as usual,” he said.

“I’ll be taking inspiration from the food we usually cook after work in the restaurant as well as my new-found experience in preparing food for frontline workers; meals that have to be prepared quickly, on a budget, using what you’ve got left over and, of course, they have to be delicious.

“I’m aiming to keep things simple, using three or four steps for each dish but, hopefully, my experience as a chef and knowledge of ingredients can help elevate your cupboard essentials into a delicious dish.”

Directory

Aways a champion of Irish food producers, Mark puts the spotlight on the likes of the GastroGays, based in Boyne Valley, Co. Louth. The company has set up a directory on its website of over 300 food producers across Ireland that are operating food deliveries during lockdown.

Mark encourages viewers to use a range of quality assured red meats; poultry; fruit; vegetables; Irish whitefish; and dairy products to create healthy and comforting meals at home. He checks in weekly with different Irish food producers and viewers at home through video links to see how they are getting on.

I’m extremely proud to be working alongside Bord Bia and RTÉ and showcasing the fantastic ingredients and food producers we can boast of here in Ireland. It’s a difficult time for many industries. I hope we can showcase the hard work being done in the food and drink industry in Ireland right now, keeping shelves stocked and businesses afloat.

There will be three more episodes of ‘Cook In’ which can be seen on RTÉ 1 on Wednesday nights at 8:30pm.