True character: Ann McNamee, owner of Kitchen Complements


There has been an explosion of interest in baking in recent years ... I put it down to the excellent cooking and baking programmes on the television.

People are getting much more technically proficient at cooking ... in recent years the new going out is staying in to entertain friends.

We sell a lot of products to do with baking and cake decorating ... it has become more of an art form. We are now offering baking and cake decorating classes in our new 50 seater kitchen.

Some of the more unusual things we’ve been asked for in the shop are ... a spitoon – the customer was looking for a spatula. Shaky things – the customer wanted salt and pepper mills. Saucepan with holes – customer wanted a steamer.

The single thing that will make a difference to your baking is ... really good quality bakeware as it will last forever and can be passed to the next generation.

If I were to pick one “game-changing” product from the shop it would be ... Microplane graters. The old graters tore at the food, microplane graters are made like knives therefore cut they cut the food.

It’s a bit of a luxury, but if I could have any piece of culinary equipment in the world it would be ... a set of copper saucepans and fry pans. Copper is the best conductor of heat giving you even distribution which is what you need for cooking. Copper also cools very quickly once it’s taken off the heat therefore stopping the cooking process.

The best advice I’ve ever been given is ... nothing is a problem it’s an opportunity.

If I wasn’t doing this ... I’d be a potter or milliner.

When I’m not working ... I’m reading cookery books

My favourite restaurant is ... Stoops in Skerries

My dream dinner party guests would be ... Brian O’Driscoll, Dougie Howlett, Daly Thompson, Jessica Ennis, Nigel Slater, Paul Holywood, Elvis Presley, Imelda May and Graham Norton.

And I’d cook them ... Pea and lettuce soup - with bread rolls made in my kitchen by Paul Holywood; salmon en croute with dill parsley and lemon zest stuffing served with hollandaise sauce, new potaotes, sugarsnap peas and baby carrots. Red velvet dessert cake and chocolate truffle tart. Irish cheese board followed by coffee with homemade filled chocolates.

Five things I always have in my larder are ... duck eggs, cheese, butter, olive oil, baked beans and champagne

But if only had a tenner to go shopping with ... I’d buy pasta, tinned tomatoes, garlic, onion, Parma ham and Parmesan cheese.

My ideal day off is spent ... in the garden if it’s dry, or in my kitchen testing new products.

I’m really good at ... cooking and entertaining, at least that’s what my family and friends tell me.

I wish I was better at ... organising my life.

I often imagine myself ... tall, willowy and size 10!

Not many people know this about me but ... I have 394 cookery books and counting.

My guilty pleasure is ... sausages and ice cream, but not on the same plate.

In conversation with Marie-Claire Digby, tel: 01-6770734