A young Manorhamilton based chef who has come to the attention of such cooking luminaries as Darina Allen and Neven Maguire says her ultimate goal is to one day run her own food business. 22-year-old Eimear O’Donnell has received plenty of attention recently for her food blog ‘Home Bird’.
A Food Science graduate from UCD and now working with the Kerry Group, Eimear says her love for all things cooking and baking stemmed from her mother, Rosaleen’s affection for the craft.
“My passion definitely came from my mother. She’s a wonderful baker and taught me how to cook. Not a week goes by without her baking homemade loaves, Madiera cakes, scones or apple tarts. I would give her a hand when I was younger and as I got older we began entering our produce in agricultural shows and my interest just grew from there.”
Eimear’s interest in the industry grew and during her time at UCD she has worked with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland while also collecting a Product Development award for her soft cheese project.
Despite only setting up Home Bird in January of this year, Eimear has already attracted the attention of the nation’s top chefs.
Eimear visited MacNean House in February where she was given a guided tour by both Neven and his Head Chef Glen Wheeler.
Following the visit, Eimear documented her day courtesy of a post on her blog and so impressed was Neven, he quickly invited her back to take part in his cookery school.
“He was so kind and supportive. Neven is an incredible inspiration to someone like me and I have learned so much from him.”
Further attention was to arrive at Eimear’s doorstep just weeks later when she made the journey to Ballymaloe and to Darina and Rachel Allen and Rory O’Connell.
“Darina has always been somebody I’ve admired”, Eimear enthuses. “Her dishes are authentic and represent real home cooking.
“Ballymaloe Cookery School is somewhere I would really love to attend some day.”
For 2015, Eimear is setting herself the challenge of learning more about food produce and making the most of both the wonderful produce and food producers County Leitrim and the wider region has to offer.
“In doing this, I want to support local craftsmen and women and food producers. It’s about time we embraced what’s on offer to us locally.” Eimear hopes to one day own her own food business and sees her blog as a platform for that. You can visit Eimear’s food blog at www.homebirdfood.tumblr.com.