1. Pick the one that best describes you: discerning foodie or meat-and-two veg man?
If I’m honest I’m probably closer to discerning foodie. My food journey really began when I was about 15 and a family friend taught me how to make my first curry and it was a real eye-opener. Since then I’ve loved cooking for friends and I see food as very much a social thing – I did it all the time when I was a student. When I lived in Manchester I used to love walking around the shops taking inspiration and getting cheap lunches in the curry houses. And anytime I’m abroad I try and find authentic places to eat like the locals do.
Closer to home in South Belfast, we’re lucky to have an Asian supermarket which sells some pretty exotic ingredients, St George’s Market for some brilliant seafood, and Sawers for special little bits and pieces. In terms of restaurants, the city of Belfast has one of the most interesting food scenes in Ireland (and further afield) and it’s good to see some of the chefs getting the recognition they deserve.
2. What was your favourite childhood meal?
My mum used to make a really good sausage and baked bean pie. Use those as a base (add a little brown sauce) and top with mashed potatoes. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried it!
3. What is your best show-off, dinner party dish?
Beef short ribs. Rub them in salt, sugar, mustard powder, paprika and pepper and cook them for 3-4 hours until they’re falling apart. Serve it with sweet corn covered in butter, chilli and lime juice, some chips and veg and you’ve got a great dish!
Emmet McDonough-Brown's Famous Short Ribs
4. Which is the best course, in your opinion: starter, main or dessert?
I’m a fan more of the first two than the last. I think the main is really the star attraction of the dinner – it’s the one that I pay most attention to and spend the most time preparing.
5. White wine with steak: is it ever ok?
I’m pretty relaxed about food and some of these “rules”, if you enjoy white with your steak or red with your fish that’s fine by me. Sometimes people are overly pretentious about these things.
6. Red wine in the fridge: is it ever ok?
I think it depends on the climate. Not much of an issue in Belfast, but in sunnier climes it’s ok to chill your red wine a little.
7. What is the best cuisine in the world, in your opinion? (ie Italian, Thai, French, Irish)
The best cuisine in the world (that I have tried so far) has to be Chinese.
8. Which is better: Tayto cheese and onion or salt and vinegar?