Celebrity Chef and TV personality Donal Skehan

Growing up in County Dublin, Donal was inspired by his family of passionate food lovers imagewho have successfully worked in the food industry for over 60 years. While other children were out playing sports, Donal was on the bus every Saturday, hunting out the ingredients to make dishes from the Encyclopaedia of Chinese Cookery, a gift from his grandmother. Years later, and a detour singing in bands Streetwize and Industry, he realised food was his true calling and started his popular food blog, “The Good Mood Food Blog”. This chronicled quick cooking dishes and the cheap meals he prepared when he frst moved out of home. The blog received the award for Best Irish Food Blog in 2009.

Since his last series (Donal’s Asian Baking Adventure), Donal’s life has changed greatly. Not only has he upped sticks and moved to California, he has also become a father for the frst time to a son, Noah. This new adventure has taught Donal the importance of quick and tasty meals on the go, and he wants to share this knowledge with his viewers.

BEAM: Why the move to LA?
Donal: It was a career choice but a lifestyle choice too, we needed a change and my wife and I both jumped in feet frst. We are loving it! We’ve been there three years now and it feels like home. As time moves on, and with the advent of a child, there is a bit more of a draw to be near family as we both have a great support system back home which we don’t have in L.A. But for the time being it’s working and we are enjoying the weather and lifestyle.

BEAM: How are you enjoying your Asian stay?
Donal: I’m having a great time. I love Asian cookery full stop so it’s always a source of inspiration and I often come away from these trips with new ideas for dishes. A lot of
my recipes are more simplifed versions of traditional ones making them a little more accessible to home cooks. Asian cuisines tend to be what I am drawn to, being more punchy in flavour and quick to prepare which is the big attraction for me at the moment. 22 July-August 2019BEAM: Have you had time on your whistle-stop tour to enjoy any Singaporean food?
Donal: Yes, we have tried the Old Airport Road and East Lagoon Hawker centres. I just loved the sambal stingray! Hawker style is my favourite way to eat, I’m defnitely not here for high end restaurants and want to try the ‘real food’.

BEAM: Has having a child altered your outlook on cooking at all?
Donal: I always feel that my books are somewhat autobiographical in the way the recipes fll a need in my life. Meals in Minutes came about because we’d moved out of our home of ten years that had had a kitchen flled with kitchen equipment, was full of ingredients then all of a sudden we were living in Air B&B’s and had one pot, one pan and sometimes not even an oven. For about six months we were more or less nomads so I devised simple recipes that we could use. Then we had the baby and I saw the real urgency for meals in literal minutes: A hungry wife and a crying child!

BEAM: What is your next project?
Donal: I’m writing the next book as a follow on from Meals in Minutes. Now we are past the urgent phase of parenthood and so I’m concentrating on what we are actually putting in our diets. It’s called, Superfood in Minutes, so there’s a little more of a healthy slant to the book but it’s in the same vein. I will be shooting the series for that in June and July in Ireland. I also have a large YouTube following and have a whole series of new videos on there called Click Plate where I decode the internet’s most popular recipes, and one called Sweet Tooth about baking, and also one called Weeknight Pasta. I am also about to launch a food range of foods called Cali Cali, which focuses on Californian inspired cuisine.

BEAM: Tell us a little bit about the food scene in Los Angeles? Do you have any favourite restaurants?
Donal: The food scene in LA is my obsession! Something exciting opens up there all the time. We live in a hip and happening area near Highland Park. We love Joy, a fantastic Taiwanese restaurant, Mason’s Dumplings, Triple Beam Pizza, Hippo, all headed by well respected chefs, I could do a whole piece on the restaurants in that one area!

BEAM: Would you ever consider opening your own restaurant?
Donal: I would love to do something more food event based rather than a regular restaurant. We have always dreamed of having a Swedish summer house and hosting one off projects there - creating food styling workshops – almost like retreats.

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Donal has kindly shared one of his favourite summertime recipes with the British Association.

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