And the winner is . . .

Dublin couple will enjoy St Valentine’s Day tasting menu at Restaurant FortyOne


Clodagh Grimley of Mornington Road in Dublin 6 and her husband, Derek Fish, will be VIP guests of executive chef Graham Neville for dinner at Restaurant FortyOne at Residence on St Stephen’s Green in Dublin tomorrow night. The couple will have a tasting menu cooked especially for them, based on Grimley’s winning entry in the St Valentine’s Day competition in The Irish Times Magazine .

The ambitious six-course menu Grimley dreamed up featured two amuse bouche – wild écrevisses (crayfish) in Cognac cream, and foie gras with apple compote. Oysters or Irish crab starters were to be followed by cod Viennoise or fillet of beef. A cheeseboard was to feature, before a dessert choice between “petite coeur de chocolat fondant” and “Méli-mélo” of passion fruit and pineapple, with Amaretto coffee and truffles to finish.

Grimley, a mother of three, admitted that her menu was “aspirational”, but she “really enjoyed putting it together”. She consulted her cookbook collection for inspiration, and her menu was influenced by Marco Pierre White’s Wild Food From Land and Sea (Melville House Publishing, 2010).

The winners will start their Valentine’s dinner at Restaurant FortyOne with lobster tortellini, served with Sancerre chosen by restaurant manager and sommelier Jean-Baptiste Letinois. Clogherhead crab, crispy hen’s egg and caviar will be partnered with a glass of Chablis.

The luxe factor will continue with warm foie gras, white truffle and crushed artichoke (Sauternes), and moulard duck with honey and Sichuan pepper (Gevrey Chambertin). Farmhouse cheeses and a dessert of white chocolate, berries and Champagne (Maury), will bring the winners’ banquet to a close, but not before they round off the night with Amaretto coffees and petits fours.

Thank you to readers who entered the competition in their droves and submitted clever, thoughtful menus, many of them with great stories alongside. The divide between couples where one partner is meat-eating and one is not, was a recurring theme. Interesting menu compromises were sought and harmony at the dinner table was key – all in the spirit of the day.

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