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‘I never thought a buffet would produce an unforgettable experience but alas, it did’

My treasured food memory: Gary O Hanlon, chef

Gary O’Hanlon: ‘It was easily one of the best days of my life spent with a great buddy.’

Throughout Food Month people will share with us their most treasured food memory. You can share yours at magazine@irishtimes.com

It was in September 2015. My best buddy, Frankie Mallon of An Port Mor Westport, and I are trying to figure out how Olivia and Netty (our respective wives) let us bounce off to Lisbon on an eating trip.

We’d many places lined up to dine in including Leopold, Mini Bar and Belcanto but it was to be a buffet in The Four Seasons Hotel, where we were shacked up, that proved to be the winner and a meal that we talk about every single time we meet up.

A buffet is not something I ever thought would produce an unforgettable experience but alas, it did. Possibly, because it was a trip down memory lane for Frankie and I. We started on light salads, a caprese and moved through asparagus soup, buttered lobster, duck a l’orange, braised veal shank and much more before moving on to crème brulee, eclairs and various petit fours.

All in, we sat in the dining room laughing, talking, drinking, relaxing and eating for just shy of five hours. It was easily one of the best days of my life spent with a great buddy.

To top it all off, the French national soccer team rolled into the hotel and we got to talk to some incredible professional footballers and then we finished up with a tour of the kitchens with Bruno, the head chef.

Heaven.

Gary O’Hanlon is head chef at Viewmount House, Longford