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A Tale Of Two Foodies
The word on the street is that RTÉ has a major hit on its hands with the new cookery competition show, MasterChef Ireland. It features two of the country's leading restauranteurs – the fiery Dylan McGrath of Rustic Stone and the genial Nick Munier of Pichet – who adjudicate on the efforts of 16 aspiring culinary stars. It’s a series in which the sparks are guaranteed to fly – and on occasion the tears to flow.
Olaf Tyaransen, 16 Sep 2011
DYLAN: In the kitchen? At home? I’ve had it everywhere! (laughs) Fuck me, he’s asking all the questions this morning, isn’t he? Go on, Nick, you answer that.
NICK: An honest answer right (grins)… catering is one of those... . If you’re a single man, opportunities arise, and temptations arise, and why not? As for sex in the kitchen, it’d be more so on a round table, in the dark, when everyone has left, for me. Or one of the chefs (laughs). I worked in a lot of hotels, and went to a lot of parties and there’s a lot of mixing going on, so hey, why not?
DYLAN: I say don’t screw the crew. Not if you want the job done properly.
NICK: I learned that lesson! (laughs) I learned that lesson! It’s a learning curve.
Anthony Bourdain has some fairly full-on hedonistic stories in his autobiography, Kitchen Confidential. So what about after-hours drinking and drugging?
NICK: Well, I had a very good friend, who was a head waiter, who was fond of the bottle and unfortunately didn’t get the correct help and was found at the bottom of the Thames. So I know it happens.
DYLAN: The catering industry is very, very demanding. But to be creative and do the work, you have to be clear-headed to some degree. We all like to go out and let our hair down, we all like to go out and have a few drinks and get drunk, just like anybody else, but at the end of the day... (pauses) Me personally, when I was in the depths of being creative and working really hard, you’re focused. I didn’t even drink Red Bull, because it was a cop-out. I drank huge amounts of coffee. You need to be very focused and on the ball. I do hear stories of people in London who can supposedly keep up doing this, that and the other, and I don’t really believe in all of that. I don’t believe in the Anthony Bourdain Kitchen Confidential stuff. If you’re gonna mix those two worlds, in your work... (looks outraged) Like, you can’t even taste, how’s that going to work? How the fuck are you going to be able to season everything, and think about everything, and get everything to perfection every fucking day if you’re gonna be off your face every night? It doesn’t add up. However, when you’re young, it’s a very relentless pace and there is a party hard/work hard kind of attitude.