Celebrity Interview | What you don’t know about Neven Maguire

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As a man continually celebrated for his cooking and love for Irish food and producers, we all believe we know a lot about Neven Maguire. But there is a lot more that people don’t know…as Woman’s Way discovers when they meet him at his restaurant.

A proud Cavan and family man that never forgets his roots. A lover of Irish food, and supporter of local producers. A sweet tooth. An author of 12 cookbooks. A loved RTE star with over 100 ‘Home Chef’ shows under his belt.

There is very little that we do not know about Neven Maguire. Or is there?

As he discusses the launch of his latest book – The Nation’s Favourite Healthy Food – we grill Neven on what he really loves and loathes, what goes on after he leaves the kitchen and much more.

Woman’s Way (WW): Cookbooks, TV shows, new cookery school, running your restaurant and two young children. How do you maintain your energy levels to juggle it all?

Neven Maguire (NM): I have a gym in the house and do three workouts a week with a personal trainer. Its very intense but it’s great for keeping me fit, maintaining my weight and my energy levels. I also stopped eating late at night. If I did none of that, I would be a tellytubby!

WW: Chefs are generally still on a high after a shift in the kitchen. What do you do when you leave the kitchen late at night?

NM: After meeting all the diners, I normally go home and catch up on the day’s news or watch Sky Sports. I am a mad Man United fan. Unfortunately, it’s not pretty watching these days!

WW: Over 2,330 reservations were made in a six-day period when you opened your two-year booking line in December. It’s the hottest table in town. How can us mere mortals get a table now?

NM: You can always get a table in Mac Nean! We get cancellations all the time as people book so far in advance, and then things pop up and they have to cancel. Don’t be afraid to ring and ask!

WW: If we were to offer you €10 million today, would you sell it all up and retire?

NM: I would pay off my loans and mortgages, give some to my family, put a nest egg aside for the kids and give a bonus to all my staff. I would take a few months off and go on a worldwide trip with the family. I would not stop working; I just love it it too much. Of course, I would give some to charities. I am the new Target Lung Cancer ambassador for St. James hospital. I lost my own mum to lung cancer so being able to help this cause means a lot to me.

WW: In three words, how would your wife (Amelda) describe you?

NM: Hard working, good fun and a family man…well I hope she says that anyway!

WW: Congratulations on your latest book, The Nation’s Favourite Healthy Food. Of all your 12 books to date, what is your favourite one?

NM: The MacNean Restaurant cookbook is one of my favourites as it gives the story of the restaurant’s journey from the beginning, showcases our dishes that we have created during this time and is dedicated to my father.

WW: What is your ‘I can’t be bothered cooking’ dish for the family?

NM: You can make a lovely fish dish in 15 minutes. Get some hake and prawns, cherry tomatoes, basil and noodles. It’s easy, and very healthy.

WW: What is the one food you hate?

NM: Snails. I detest them.

WW: What is your guilty food pleasure.

NM: Desserts are my weakness. My favourite is hot fudge sauce, sliced pears and homemade vanilla ice cream.

WW: What would be your ideal death row meal?

NM: It would have to be a tasting menu.

For starters, it would be chestnut and wild mushroom soup with truffles. To follow, barbecue quail breast with lentils and risotto. The next dish has to be scallops with pork cheek, and different textures of carrot.

A palate cleanser of passionfruit and orange jelly with ginger beer is perfect. 

For main, Thornhill duck with creamed cabbage and honey and ginger sauce

For pre-dessert, baby crème brûlée made from Lea Linster recipe. For main dessert, a warm raspberry shortcake, buttermilk panna cotta and raspberry sorbet.

To end, salted chocolate truffles. And all of the dishes served with matching wines; I would die a happy man after that feast!

*You can buy Neven’s latest cookbook – The Nation’s Favourite Healthy Food – from all good book shops or here.