Galway is a city of fire and salty air. (Jp McMahon)
As I sit at my desk working on possible tour options, it suddenly dawned on me that like many of you no doubt, during these extraordinary times, I had been spending a lot more time cooking , taking out my favourite recipe books and enjoying the extra time to sift through the pages, picking out the most enticing pictures and enjoying the luxury of making a list of the ingredients I needed and in the early afternoon, slowly following the instructions of what the best Chefs in the world have to offer.
Naturally being the passionate Irish women I am, the moment I came across an article about Jp McMahon in culture trip, I immediately wanted to write a blog about his cook book, Galway, it’s incredible bohemian feel and the wonderful weekend my partner and I experienced in August 2019.
By the way, I have never met Jp Mc Mahon, I am just a fan of his restaurants and the lovely wine bar we visited for lunch.
Over the coming months I hope to introduce my clients both past and future as well as the ones who are serial return visitors to some of my other favourite Irish chefs, artists, and designers of mine.
This article was entirely sourced from a Culture trip e mail I received.
You would be hard-pressed to find an advocate for his cuisine as vociferous as Galway’s Jp McMahon – the renaissance man of Irish cuisine. From his groundbreaking Michelin-star restaurant, Aniar, McMahon celebrates the produce and history of the Emerald Isle with a deftness that most (unfairly) do not associate with Irish food. More than this, however, is McMahon’s latest project, The Irish Cookbook, a 430-page tome that details the 10,000-year culinary history of Ireland, from the Paleolithic hunter-gatherers to the Celts, the Normans, the Spanish port-traders, all the way through to legendary cooks and writers like Myrtle Allen and Theodora FitzGibbon.
The level of detail and scholarship present in The Irish Cookbook is to be expected from McMahon. A voracious reader with a keen interest in literature and art history, McMahon is someone who thrives on learning. Despite running three restaurants (and plans for a ‘fast food chain with a slow food philosophy’), McMahon still finds time to intern with other chefs, and is open to inspiration from anyone. He has also transformed Galway into a hotspot for the international food scene with his annual chef’s symposium, Food on the Edge, which has brought figures like Albert Adria, Magnus Nilsson, Rene Redzepi and Sean Brock to speak about their philosophies and approaches.
McMahon’s food at Aniar is rooted in terroir, and the flavours that can be found in the West Coast of Ireland. As such, comparisons have been drawn to New Nordic restaurants like Noma and Faviken, but there’s nothing modish about his food. Over 16 courses, McMahon takes you along the coastline, into the dunes, the long grass, the meadow, the marshland, and back into the homely village centre. Combinations like beef and nasturtium, or beetroot and elderberry, may seem unfamiliar on paper, but the impression they give on the plate across the course of the menu is compelling – the story of Irish cuisine is told to you, note-by-note, dish-by-dish.