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Danette Milne

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For some cooks, their entire world is in their food.
And for some other cooks, the entire world is in their food.
All of it: history; culture; philosophy; mathematics; poetry; belief; aesthetics; learning; the culinary arts. You take a bite of something they have cooked, and it's all there.
We call that magic. And one of the cooks who manages not just to demonstrate this in her cooking, but also to explain it in her writing, is Danette Milne. Here's what she says:
"I've become a firm believer in reincarnation for the simple reason that often, when I cook, I am aware of what I refer to as 'The Food Gods'.  There is a place one can connect to/with that's a point of letting-go and allowing the 'magic' to take over.  This is when food becomes not just delicious or amazing looking, but sublime.  This place is, in my experience, a hub of knowledge and I thrive on visiting and tapping into it."
The sublime is where Ms Milne's cooking is always headed, whether she is making her Danette's Magic sauces, or when she helmed her restaurant, Danette's Feast, in Bennekerry, County Carlow, where she produced the sublime for seven hectic, magnificent years between 1994 and 2001. She was minded and influenced by two Mexican chefs when growing up as a child in Southern California and her food, as a consequence, seems to give us a Culinary Magic Realism – the simple, made sublime, made fantastic, made surreal and alive. The labels of her Danette's Magic Sauces  all list as their first ingredient: “magic”. That is neither boastful nor fanciful. These sauces show the magic that great cooks have in their hands, in their instinct, in their creativity. Back in 1996 we described Ms Milne as“ an original, inventive cook”, and the intervening years have simply underscored her gifts, as maturity has led her to trust her intuition even more. So, there is magic, and realism, and the sublime, all in the smallest, tiniest thing that Danette Milne cooks.

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