Thanks for joining me for this, the rare second post in a month. June is traditionally a quiet month in the video production calendar, with people on holiday or holding back on budget until their half-year figures have been analysed, but this month has been hectic, with two major projects to produce.
Before we move on to the main course, there’s the explanation of the post title to get out of the way. Back in 1982, an English band called XTC unleashed ‘Senses Working Overtime’ on the record buying public and gave the band their first UK Top 10 hit. The band had been around in various guises since the mid 1970s but were more critically acclaimed than commercially successful and had only one foray into chartland with the single ‘Making Plans for Nigel’. From the album ‘English Settlement’, the success of Senses Working Overtime prompted a tour which was – unfortunately – short-lived due to the mental breakdown on stage of singer Andy Partridge during one of the opening concerts in Paris. The song itself may be construed as either jolly or sarcastic, but I’ve never read anything about the true meaning of its lyrics so I’ll take the ‘glass is half full’ tack.
My working month started with a trip to the wonderful Ashford Castle in Mayo to film the actor Chris O’Donnell in a photoshoot for CBS Watch! magazine. The finished piece will also feature on Entertainment Tonight at some point in the future. A great trip and all went off smoothly, but this was merely an aperitif for the main event for us.
Taste of Dublin 2012 came to town for the seventh time and was every bit as big and brilliant as expected. We’re contracted to film the event from day one, so I had three camera crews onsite for the weekend. It rained on a biblical level for a lot of the time we were there, but there was also some glorious sunshine over the course of the event. I met and interviewed lots of people, most of them chefs or restaurateurs, but the two stand-outs for me were Jamie Oliver and Valentine Warner. Straight up, my expectation levels were set to low when it came to Jamie, but he’s actually a really nice guy who’s passionate about everything he does. He’s opening a restaurant in Dublin later this year and whilst he’s admitted that he won’t be in the kitchen cooking, he told us that he’s got a personally-selected team of chefs to whom he leaves the running of his kitchens. That’s good enough for me.
Valentine Warner may not be as well-known as Jamie, but I’ve been a fan of his since I first encountered him in Olive magazine and the TV series, ‘What To Eat Now’. His food is wholesome and hearty and like me, he’s a big fan of mackerel and all things fresh and seasonal. He’s got a great sense of humour and ‘gives good interview’ and is definitely somebody I’d be happy to sit down with and drink a lot of pints.
There is so much to see and do at Taste of Dublin, but ultimately, it’s all about the food. The Irish scene was – as always – well represented, with chefs such as Chapter One’s Ross Lewis, Bon Appétit’s Oliver Dunne, Derry Clarke from l’Ecrivain and Kevin Thornton demonstrating just why they’re four of Ireland’s six chefs holding Michelin stars. Not only are these guys brilliant chefs, they’re also great to deal with and have none of the attitude one might expect from people at their level. Special mention to Ross and his pulled pork in steamed bun – perhaps not what you’d imagine from Chapter One, but as festival food goes, it was perfect.
One of my camera crew had never eaten oysters, so I introduced him to the delights of the Carlingford variety on offer at The Saddle Room [Shelbourne Hotel] stand – they were the sweetest oysters I’ve ever tasted, and Chef Garry Hughes also had a brand-new smoker onsite in which he was smoking these and whole salmon. It’s great to see somebody like Garry taking the time out to create what is sure to become a very popular item on his menu.
I bumped into Kwanghi Chan [whom I marked as one to watch in a previous post] and was delighted to hear that he’s stepped up to another level as Head Chef at Martijn Kajuiter’s Michelin starred The House at the Cliff House Hotel.
Sunil Ghai and Asheesh Dewan of Ananda and Jaipur restaurants gave a great talk on regional Indian cuisine and the importance of keeping signature dishes on menus. The guys from The Exchequer were running the main bar for the weekend, always useful when it came to beer stops, and a big shout must go out to the San Miguel crew who kept Derry Clarke, Kevin Dundon and myself well refreshed on Friday evening.
It’s a hectic four days, but if you haven’t been, I highly recommend it as a great day [or evening] out in the heart of Dublin city. In fact, to fully appreciate the Taste of Dublin experience, go twice!