In our new food feature we ask some of our food heroes to share their insights and secrets. Whether it’s an ingredient, a cherished meal or a utensil they can’t do without, we’re finding out what lies behind ‘The Pass’. First up Ken Doherty and Gwen McGrath of Assassination Custard.
Ken: At the moment it has to be kid goat kidneys from Broughgammon Farm.
Gwen: Kiln dried salt or marmalade kumquats. Kumquat, what a word though.
Ken: It’s a classic of southern Italy …Dandelion and Fava (dried broad beans). Also, currently trying to master Paratha flatbreads.
Gwen: Tomato & fish curry it’s just eight ingredients – tomatoes, cumin, coriander, onions, garlic, ginger, asafoetida and fish.
Trick of the trade
Ken: Ignore people’s eating habits. It’s personal!
Gwen: Peel ginger or artichokes (tricky things) with a cheap tin spoon
Ken: Anyone (be it farmers, butchers, foragers, teachers, bakers, candle stick makers) who dedicate themselves to the seemingly thankless task of preserving a food or tradition.
Gwen: I met a women who lives in direct provision and is not allowed work or cook. Faced with all this, she wants to be a chef. She’s my hero.
Ken: Watching my late father eating tripe, milk and onions. I was no more than eight or nine. It will stay with me well into my dotage.
Gwen: Seafood memories of shelling, shucking, foraging and eating. I remember my mother chasing me down the back garden to make me eat a periwinkle off a pin.
Ken: Dinner. Most warm food memories usually involve lunches…long or short. That (and our kids being in school) partly explains why we open lunch-time only
Gwen: Michelin or croquettes. Most fried things are good anyway and Michelin we can pretend they don’t exist either (or we haven’t been open when they come along)
Trend worth noting
Ken: We are forever pushing the bitters leaves and vegetables on people. Worth noting that we are still doing it.
Gwen: Early retirement – who wants to retire in their 30’s?
Ken: A most recent one in Gelida in Barcelona stands out (and if you have never been to La Cova Fumada in Barceloneta, do yourself a favour).
Gwen: Spleen sandwich in Sicily on the street outside the cafe.
Gwen: Pints and crisps in the pub or popcorn in the cinema.
Fav. instagram account
Ken: Am a little obsessed by photography. There are two reasons for this: Having studied it a long time ago I have a huge interest in it, and it’s not food. And while I do appreciate food photography (and our own instagram account is glaringly in favour of it) there is a fetishisation of food that might not be healthy. A few favourites that pique my interest on Instagram: kromirko, brutgroup, Margaretdurow, tas0ma.
Ken: Our kids eating offal!
Gwen: Matty Matheson I also watch this Chinese dessert channel on You Tube. Tahini, cream & sugar or rose water and orange blossom water. I’m giving away my secrets now!
Utensil of choice
Ken: Everything bar the cooker. It’s a bit of a banger at this stage. But it’s our banger I suppose.
Gwen: My salt pig. It’s so reliable and like a pet loyal, best present ever!
Table for Two
Gwen: There was a restaurant in Rome it’s name was ‘table per due’. Never went, but they just served two people a night. We thought about doing it and sometimes at the Assassination Custard, it just happens sometimes that there is only 2 people in for lunch and it’s weird and nice and then six people walk in on them and break it up and the place is full and shouty or weird.
Love sitting outside in my back garden at the table dining, nature creates a nice atmosphere and we don’t need to pay a babysitter that way!
Assassination Custard 19 Kevin Street Upper, Dublin 8