Me & my money
Derry Clarke, Restaurateur
Are you a saver or a spender?
A spender I am afraid! I work hard and play hard.
Do you shop around for better value?
Where my business is concerned, absolutely, but I will not compromise on quality. After all, you get what you pay for.
What has been your most extravagant purchase ever and how much did it cost?
Definitely Sallyanne – and she is still costing me a fortune, but worth every cent.
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
I started up a company called Grazerfield with my butcher, Michael Bermingham, last year. This was a considerable investment/purchase and I am delighted with the reaction to it all. We are producing the Derry Clarke Kitchen Range, and the products are bacon – both regular and dry cured – breakfast and flavoured sausages, breakfast and flavoured black and white puddings, and we are adding to the range regularly.
Have you ever crossed the Border to shop?
Never. I love Belfast to socialise in, but I shop locally where possible.
Do you haggle over prices?
Sometimes, but mostly with suppliers when trying to get the best for our customers at l’Ecrivain restaurant.
Has the recession changed your spending habits?
Completely. I think it hit everyone like a thunderbolt out of the blue. It has lasted so much longer than anyone predicted. I really do think now before I do anything and impulse purchases are a thing of the past. (Maybe because I am still paying for my impulse purchases bought during the boom!)
Do you invest in shares?
No, never have.
Cash or card?
Always card. I can keep track of things that way.
What was the last thing you bought and was it value for money?
I bought a pair of lovely boots not so long ago and I have lived in them ever since, so they have more than paid for themselves.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
Yes. When Sallyanne and I got married 25 years ago, we first saved the money to open L’Ecrivain restaurant and then when we got the business up and running we saved very hard to buy our first house together.
Have you ever lost money?
Like everyone else in this country, in the last four years I have lost considerable money and value, especially if you take into account what things were worth and what I paid for them when I bought them and what they are worth now. Sallyanne and I have used our savings to keep the business afloat and we are very proud to say that we have not made any redundancies in the last four years.
Are you a gambler and if so have you ever had a big win?
I like a flutter on the horses – I have a share in Oscars’ Well (the Molly Malone Syndicate), and he has done us all proud. It has been great fun the last couple of years. I also like the odd game of poker!
Is money important to you?
No, money is a means to an end, a tool if you like, that allows me to participate in life. I have never had a lot of it to be worried about it.
How much money have you on you now?
I have €52.56 in my pocket – yippie!
Derry Clarke is among the chefs/ restaurateurs appearing at Theatre of Food at the Electric Picnic, from August 31st to September 2nd.