There’s usually a pregnant pause when you ask people about what they think of Irish food. The most common replies are likely to be Guinness, Irish stew, and whiskey, but Ireland’s culinary bounty goes beyond these typical associations. More than ever, Irish produce is gaining acclaim globally—a reflection of the country’s excellent exports and the growing importance that discerning diners place on traceability. If anything, the image of rolling green hills, craggy cliffs and Atlantic waters tell us that nature is certainly thriving on the Emerald Isle.
“Most people know Ireland has great produce due to the rich land and fruits of the sea. They’re intrigued by our seasonal products as well as our artisanal methods,” says Singapore-based Irish chef Andrew Walsh. His restaurant Cure is testament to his—and his country’s—ingrained focus on seasonality, sustainability, and traceability.
“I reflect on my roots and approach cooking by choosing the best produce driven by nature’s seasons, all sourced from the water and the wild.” Galway oysters and Achill lamb are some of the key Irish ingredients he showcases at Cure, and you’ll be pleased to know that Irish produce is available in Singapore via online store Inish Bia, established earlier this year.
Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, we speak to Walsh about Irish food and how he’ll be celebrating the national holiday.
What dish would you recommend to those who haven’t had a true taste of Irish cuisine?
For me, a simple dish like lamb cooked in a broth and thickened with potato and herbs, served with Irish soda bread and butter, would be a great way for anyone to acquaint themselves with the cuisine.
Why is traceability important in Ireland and for you as a chef?
Traceability helps me keep a guideline on what’s best from a certain area or farm, and how we can retain the standard of the product we want now and in future.
What is your favourite St. Patrick’s Day tradition?
One thing I always do on Paddy’s Day is to call home to wish my family well. The morning before I start work, I cook a full Irish breakfast fry with all the trimmings for myself and my staff. During service, we go and party hard Irish-style.
What’s your tipple of choice?
Simple—Teelings whiskey on the rocks.