From The Archives: Derry Clarke Talks To Chef Adrian Martin

By Publications Checkout
From The Archives: Derry Clarke Talks To Chef Adrian Martin

Exclusively for Premium Plus and digital website members, Hospitality Ireland presents a piece originally featured in the August 2017 issue of our print publication in which Irish celebrity chef and proprietor of Dublin's L'Ecrivain restaurant Derry Clarke talks to TV chef and author Adrian Martin about working under Neven Maguire, viral videos and his future plans.

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Derry: Can you tell me a bit about where your initial passion for cooking began?

Adrian: My obsession began with Richard Corrigan as a young kid. I was always fascinated by Richard's style of cooking. He just had this way about him, which was sort of the starting point for me. At aged 14, I walked into Neven Maguire's MacNean Restaurant and asked him for a job. In fairness to him he gave me a great opportunity. I started off by peeling spuds, washing vegetables, etc. I was in school at the time so I was working evenings there. I stayed there for six years. After my Leaving Cert, I went to college in Enniskillen to study professional cookery, which covered off all the basic skills. From there I went on to complete the Culinary Arts degree at the tourism college in Killybegs.

Derry: Did you enjoy the academic aspect of that course?


Adrian: No. I enjoyed French because I'm obsessed with French cuisine. I found international cuisine great and also the product development module. I've actually used that in my career since. Some of the modules I didn't really see the purpose of. Killybegs is a top college. They really do look after you well.

Derry: So, after finishing the course at Killybegs, what came next?

Adrian: I had an opportunity to go to Australia with friends, but I decided to stay at home. I took a chance and set up my own website and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram pages, and offered my services to businesses, the likes of butcher shops, cafes and small restaurants. So, I would do some work for them and charge very little for my services. I think I travelled to 128 different businesses. It was a great way to get my name out there and meet customers. I did that for a year before I got picked up by schools who wanted me to teach their students how to cook. I've visited over 200 schools and I'm still doing it. After that, I started doing cooking demos and was soon picked up by TV3 to be on Late Lunch Live. I’ve been a regular there since. In the last year, everything has really exploded. I actually put it down to one viral recipe video I posted online, which was picked up by RTE, Lovin Dublin and loads of newspapers.

Derry: What recipe was that?

Adrian: A spicebag, would you believe? I did it on the back of some kids coming up to me at one of the schools in Dublin I was visiting and saying, "why don't you do a recipe for a spicebag?". That video now has over 300,000 views. It's insane. Then I started to create the videos for Lovin Dublin. It's been a great way to earn a bit of money. Following that, RTE contacted me about doing videos as well. I did ten recipe videos for them that went down great. They commissioned me to do a series on the RTE Player platform, where the audience is younger, which suits my style, I think. The reaction online has been brilliant.


Derry : Do you feel that you might have lost out by not going through the traditional kitchen route? Doing a significant apprenticeship in different restaurants around Ireland and the world?

Adrian: Not really. I've been on numerous stages in various different places. I worked at Bon Appetit under Oliver Dunne, because I wanted the experience of working under a Michelin star chef, so I worked the pastry section there. To be honest, down the line, I will open my own place. I'm still only 25. I’d love to open a really exclusive place, where only around ten or 15 people can eat at one time. I'm always learning, every day is a school day for me. I'm so addicted to learning. I'd say if I went into your kitchen, Derry, I'd have everyone's heads wrecked, asking questions every two seconds, taking videos and photos.

Derry: Your new book is just out. It seems to have received a good reaction so far?

Adrian: I wasn't expecting such a good reaction. Again, I just listened to what the students in the schools were asking me to do. Recipes like spicebags, doner kebabs and cheeseburgers. Doing them as "fakeaway" recipes in the book - healthy versions of traditional takeaway food.

Derry: Most people release their books close to Christmas, but you released it in the summer. Why so?


Adrian : Yeah, it got on the bestseller list this summer, so that's great. I just think the Christmas market is so flooded with food books, I would have been throwing myself into the deep end against some established names in cooking, the likes of Neven, Rachel Allen, Jamie Oliver, etc. We will give the book a boost with some more publicity coming up to Christmas as well.

Derry: You mentioned opening your own restaurant. When do you see this happening?

Adrian: I'm planning for my early thirties. At the moment, I've got a lot of projects going on, with TV content, magazines and the book, and the plan is to do some stuff in the UK shortly. If I tied myself down to a restaurant now, I don't think I could excel in my career as much as I want to. For now, I'm very lucky. It's a one a million chance I've been given, so I'm blessed to be able to do it. It's been a dream.

Derry: Outside of working and cooking. What do you like to do?

Adrian: I'm big into running. It clears your mind. Chefs have very addictive personalities. I've worked with quite a few chefs that have put on weight, then looked at themselves in the mirror and suddenly become addicted to going to the gym or running or cycling. You do need some sort of exercise. The hours are long.

© 2019 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Interview conducted by Derry Clarke. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.