Catherine Fulvio – award winning Chef
Catherine Fulvio is a multi-talent. There may be nothing she can not do. Read more about her truly extraordinary story here.
Today you are an award winning Chef/Author; TV Presenter; Consultant; Owner of Ballyknocken House, Farm & Cookery School, in Ireland. What a great path! Where does you fascination for food comes from?
I grew up on a working farm in County Wicklow holding on to the purse strings of my mother’s apron as she cooked for the guests in the Farmhouse B&B – she always encouraged me to get involved and I loved it! This experience and helping out on the farm, milking cows, making butter, growing and eating in season and collecting the eggs has been invaluable and has given me an appreciation for real food and the labour of love that is farming and its many rewards.
As Author of “Taste of Home”; “Bake Like an Italian”; “The Weekend Chef: Easy Food For Lazy Days”; “Eat Like an Italian”; “Catherine’s Family Kitchen Cook Book” and “Catherine’s Italian Kitchen Cook Book” you gained lots of experience in this segment. What is the most difficult part of writing a cookbook?
Writing a cookbook is genuinely so much fun. I love doing the research, which generally involves travel and lots of tastings! I love coming up with ideas for new recipes and trying out new taste combinations. I believe that every recipe should be doable to the regular home cook – and it’s always great to have a tasty twist on each recipe.
The recipe testing is really enjoyable too. As I prefer the kitchen to the office, I find the proofreading to be the most difficult part – the devil is in the detail, especially in baking where there is no room for error!
Today, there are thousands of cook/ chef cook books in the market. What are your expectations for the development/ new formats for cook books in the future?
There is a shift towards video recipes being shared online but there is nothing like the real thing. There is something therapeutic in today’s fast-paced world about browsing through a cookbook to select your chosen recipe for a dessert or a main course, so although I have moved with the trend creating online recipe productions for youtube, Instagram and facebook I am still a big fan of the physical cookbook which is part of the feel and the texture of so many kitchens.
Also in my cookery school here on our farm, I always recommend to our guests to write notes in their cookbook – so if they added to the recipe, they will remember for the next time.
You worked for highly popular Netflix and RTE TV Series such as “Lords and Ladles”; as co-presenter of BBC Best Christmas Food Ever; Guest chef at BBC Saturday Kitchen; as guest chef on NBC America’s Today Show; Presenter of Catherine Fulvio’s Tastes Like Home, Catherine’s Family; Italian and Roman Holiday Kitchen TV series,… . What’s your fascination as chef in TV formats?
I love the excitement of TV and camaredie on set and how ideas come together in a collaborative way when working with other chefs. As for live TV well that’s adrenalin rush– especially when you are trying to showcase a hero recipe from start to finish within 3 minutes!
With your several TV experiences, how did this business changed over the last years, and which trends/ new formats you see in the near future? Food and travel are good, and at the meantime commend, combined topics for a TV series. Which niches/ not yet shown areas you see in this segment.
When I first started my TV career it was very much chop and chat however I do think that my first two series, Catherine’s Italian Kitchen and Catherine’s Roman Holiday were new in their format at the time as they combined food and travel. Then of course there is competitive cooking with a celebrity as a host. For me I just really enjoy showcasing good quality produce and the benefits to ourselves and the world around us of using it in our daily lives.
YouTube, Facebook, Instagram…. , how do you use the social medias?
I embrace them all and am working hard on Instagram at the moment. Social media is one of the most important marketing tools at this moment and is particularly relevant to the food industry with such an emphasis on visual content. Styling is key to the success of this and I use all the above platforms to help grow my brand and to drive traffic to my website and ultimately to us here in Ballyknocken in County Wicklow.
If you would come up with a totally new TV chef/ cook/ travel… format, what would it be?
I’m not telling – you might take my idea and run with it!
Since Netflix, Amazon… the TV market is changing fundamentally, towards more streaming formats. How do you see this development within the chef/ cook.. series at the streaming segment?
Webinar are becoming big and can be easily used for teaching cooking and live lessons and then of course there is the coming of virtual reality with virtual cooking classes! We will soon have the virtual chef will be in the kitchen with us weighing out our ingredients.
You are as well Owner of Ballyknocken Farm Guesthouse & Cookery School in County Wicklow, Ireland. What do you offer there?
Ballyknocken House, Farm Guesthouse and Cookery School is located on 280 acres less than an hour from Dublin City Centre in County Wicklow, Ireland where we offer a charming 4* Victorian style farm. We offer an intimate, warm, friendly & welcoming, bed and breakfast experience and are listed in the McKenna Guide’s top 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland.
We also have a purpose built cookery school which is located in the old milking parlour where we offer unique corporate team building events and corporate away days complimented with a range of different team activity experiences. Each cookery class is tailored to offer a unique hands-on learning experience ensuring that each individual group get the results they want.
How would you describe the modern Irish kitchen best?
The kitchen in Ireland has always been the heart of the home and it continues to be so, it’s where the the family come together to eat and catch up on the day’s events. With today’s trend towards open-plan living the kitchen remains the central hub of many homes in Ireland providing a place where everyone can co-exist whether it be to cook, dine, relax and spend quality time together.
If you could spend 4 weeks in a country to explore the local kitchen and local people, which country would it be?
There are many destinations on my bucket list with great food credentials but one of my top ones is Vietnam. The food is just so tasty and healthy, one of the healthiest in the world they say. It’s all about the five tastes: spicy, sour, bitter, salty and sweet and uses so many fresh herbs in healthy broths and rice dishes. I might even lose weight while there due to the healthy ingredients!
Tasting a country’s cuisine and watching how the food is produced and consumed is for me the ultimate way to experience the country’s culture first hand.
Thank you very much Catherine.
Share your thoughts with an international community of chefs on Cook Concern!
If you are looking for some new adventures, take a look at the international job offers.