I went on to live in New Zealand for a few years and then on to Australia, for a further eight years, giving me dual citizenship, which has its perks. After returning back to Ireland, seven years ago, I continued my career in HR and had amazing opportunities, travelling around the globe.
However, my passion has always been around food. I adored cooking and was lucky to come from a family of foodies and was taught from a very young age how to cook and use some of the amazing local produce available to us. In 2019, after many years of deliberation, I decided to take a leap of faith, quit corporate life, and start my own business, which is all about educating and inspiring people about food and cooking. I firstly did the 12-week intensive course at Ballymaloe and then had the opportunity to stay on there for a while and experience life as a teacher.
Last year, I went out on my own and started to do private classes in people’s homes, reorganising your kitchen, private cheffing for small, intimate dinner parties, food-walking tours in Cork, some podcasting (called Cork Food Stories), where I talk to the wonderful producers and suppliers in Cork, and also writing food articles and recipes for a local paper.
It’s been up and down with the year we have had, but I’m still doing my podcasts and doing classes online and I cannot wait to be back in people’s kitchens, cooking for them and teaching them how to be amazing home cooks. My website is www.claracooks.ie. You can find out all about my business there and, also, there are some delicious recipes that I have for you to try.
I’ve tried so many things over the years. Honestly, as cliché as it sounds, I love to travel: That is somewhat a hobby, isn’t it? I love new cultures, exploring new cities, and, of course, new cuisines. I do some exercise most days — not sure if we can call that a hobby, but I do enjoy it — and long walks in coastal areas is another one I love. I’d love to learn the piano, but I’ve never got around to it.
I love Good Day Deli for lunch; they are at the Nano Nagle Place in Cork City. Not only is the setting so beautiful, but they serve deliciously fresh, organic local food. Restaurants are all about the mood; we have so many to choose from in Cork, which makes us very lucky.
Outside of Cork, I am dying to try Aimsir, as a treat. That will be one of my definites when we can travel freely around the country again.