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Ali Honour

All the best places to eat, shop and stay in Ireland. A local guide to local places.

Keith Floyd did it for Ali Honour.
Growing up as a kid in Oxfordshire, Ms Honour's culinary gene was weaned on the iconoclastic television shows of Keith Floyd. Who could not be inspired by Floyd's madcap brilliance, his insouciance, his irreverence, his mad creativity, all honed under the eye of the brilliant producer, David Pritchard.
Floyd and Pritchard made food the most marvellous fun and, for Ali Honour, the combination of Floyd, a Mum who was a wickedly good cook, and a grandad who was a beef farmer in addition to being a butcher and a publican (now, that's multi-tasking!) all set the sails that have steered Ms Honour to her current position as chef and co-owner in Cork's brilliant Bakestone. She was in the food business aged 13, working weekends and holidays.
Mind you, the course wasn't a straight one. She went to college with ideas of being a barrister, but whilst working in various restaurants to pay her way “I decided: if work like this makes me so happy then why not make it a career?”.
Her family thought she was crazy.
She moved to Ireland a decade ago, after working around Europe and “I say I came home ten years ago as I love being here”.
The love is reciprocal. The biggest issue in Bakestone, for instance, is the simple act of actually getting a table at lunchtime. Why are there so many people happy to drive to this out-of-the-way spot, near to Carrigtohill, to get a slice of perfect lemon madeira cake, or a piece of roasted cauliflower tart? Simple. Ms Honour's ambition to offer “tasty, real food” draws in the devotees. The fact that she and her team can do it for so many people every day shows the graft and grind that underpin this happy food.
Away from the stove and the baking oven, she brings her unfazed calm to RTE's Today show, and there is a book in the pipeline, and cookery lessons. The fact is, there will be a lot more in the future from Ali Honour. Just think what she could do working alongside David Pritchard! Cue up that old Stranglers' tune...

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