True characters


Catherine Fulvio,chef, author and cookery school proprietor

Ballyknocken is a family home as well as a business... I am third generation here, training the fourth generation in at the moment.

My family have lived here... since the early 1900s. We are farmers. My sister, Eithne, is the farmer now. She is very patient and lets the Fulvios help, even though my husband is definitely a city boy.

We’re a multi-cultural family now we have a Sicilian side to the family. My husband, Claudio is from Palermo

We met... in O’Dywer’s pub on Mount Street in Dublin. Sadly, no gondola in Venice.

We live in Ireland rather than Sicily... because of me. I just love Ballyknocken, the farm, the family heritage and the location. I can’t leave here for too long without getting homesick.

In the next few weeks... I am cooking at a restaurant in New York for US Food media, followed by a slot live on NBC’s Today show (can expect up to 11 million watching… nervous) and then I fly to London to cook live on Saturday Kitchen with James Martin on March 16th.

Irish food gets a warm welcome wherever I go... because we have a reputation for high-quality produce, our grass-fed animals, and our rich butter, cream and cheese.

It gives me a buzz when… I dabble in my vegetable garden, especially when the artichokes and the courgette flowers appear.

The best advice I’ve ever been given… is “the glass is half full”. My mum used to say this and I try to see positives rather than negatives.

If I wasn’t doing this… I’d be restoring antiques or designing dresses, something creative.

When I’m not working... I cook with my children Charlotte (10) and Rowan (9) and have fun in the kitchen.

My favourite restaurant is... San Giuliano in Erice, Sicily. It’s perched on top of a mountain with views over the Med and the salt beds of Trapani.

My dream dinner party guests would be… Graham Norton and Jennifer Saunders. I would be guaranteed a laugh.

And I’d cook them… An Irish antipasto platter with artisan cheeses, relishes and meats, followed by roast Wicklow lamb with Ballyknocken green mash and finishing with my signature meringue chocolate tower.

Five things I always have in my larder are… pasta, sun dried tomatoes, egg noodles, nam pla, oyster sauce

If I only had a tenner to go shopping I’d buy... spaghetti, eggs, Irish bacon and Desmond cheese and I would make my version of carbonara.

I’m really good at… Cleudo – I am the reigning family champion

I wish I was better at... ironing, I am a drip-dry girl

I often imagine myself …becoming a sheep farmer.

Not many people know this about me, but... I used to renovate lots of antiques and in fact, renovated a stinky old bath into a useable piece for the Late Late Show many years ago.

My guilty pleasure is… chocolate

In conversation with Marie-Claire Digby


Sign In

Forgot Password?

Sign Up

The name that will appear beside your comments.

Have an account? Sign In

Forgot Password?

Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In or Sign Up

Thank you

You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.

Hello, .

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

Thank you for registering. Please check your email to verify your account.

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.