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Image / Living / Food & Drink

Lizzie Gore-Grimes on her affinity with food, favourite feasts, and the secret ingredients for a perfect meal


By Sarah Gill
03rd Dec 2022

Doreen Kilfeather

Lizzie Gore-Grimes on her affinity with food, favourite feasts, and the secret ingredients for a perfect meal

We caught up with our very own IMAGE Editor-in-Chief Lizzie Gore-Grimes to get the inside scoop on everything from her go-to comfort meal to her favourite Irish restaurants.

Since first learning to make a cheese souffle in her mum’s MagiMix as a young girl, Lizzie Gore-Grimes has been a fervent foodie through and through.

Evident in her writing, career trajectory, and personal life, Lizzie’s affinity with food is well documented. From months spent at Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery School in East Cork in 2002 to her days as the Irish Food Writers’ Guild secretary, Lizzie also edited numerous cookbooks and foodie titles over the years.

So, naturally, we knew we had to pick her brains on all things food related, from her go-to breakfast and hangover cures to culinary inspirations and the Irish food scene.


How would you describe your relationship with food?

Really good. I love to eat well. The shared experience of preparing a meal together is one of my favourite things to do – chatting to my husband, or one of the kids, as they sit propped up at the counter while I pot-wallop around, music on… I love it.

What was the first meal you learned to cook?

When I was about eight or nine, my mum bought a fancy new MagiMix which came with its own recipe book. I thought it was the best thing ever. There was an easy cheese souffle recipe in it which became my go-to party trick.

What’s your go-to breakfast?

Boiled egg with a slice of McCambridges during the week. Omelette with whatever’s in the fridge at the weekend (spinach and feta or chorizo and courgette are favourites). So, eggs is the short answer.

If you’re impressing friends and family at a dinner party, what are you serving up?

There would be very little impressing going on! I love simple, tasty food, nothing complicated that takes hours to prepare. An easy go-to is butterflied leg of lamb (cooked on the barbeque) marinated with Ottolenghi’s Lamb with mint and coriander recipe (which you will find in a million different guises on the web). Make extra marinade to serve as a sauce (which is so tasty you could drink it). Served with a bowl of buttery, steaming baby potatoes and some charred greens – delicious. Another incredibly easy recipe that is great for a gang is the BBC Good Food prawn and hake curry (you can sub in any round fish for the hake and add mussels or anything else you like). Add a really good dollop of Harry’s Nut Butter to add extra punch, serve with rice and long stem broccoli sprinkled with toasted almonds.

BBC Good Food

What would your last meal on earth be?

A really simple but perfect steak frites from Brasserie Lipp or similar in Paris, served with a glass of really good red wine, and a bowl of that melt-in-the-mouth butterhead green salad with tangy, Dijon mustardy dressing that the French do so well.

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What’s your go-to comfort food?

Creamy mashed potato, laced with Irish butter and a little finely chopped scallion or a really good cheese on toast… in fact anything involving bubbly, melty cheese will do it.

What’s the go-to quick meal you cook when you’re tired and hungry?

The aforementioned bubbly, melty cheese on toast will always cheer me up or tasty, savoury scrambled eggs. Ready in not much more than five minutes and delicious.

What is one food or flavour you cannot stand?

Ever since I was a kid I can’t do cow’s milk. It would actually make me gag, not sure why. So I can’t do anything too milky; or any kind of rice pudding – that gloopy, gelatinous consistency really puts me off.

Hangover cure?

Full fat Coke and Bunsen Burger. Or Singapore Noodles from Kites Chinese restaurant.

Sweet or savoury?

Savoury. 100%.

Fine dining or pub grub?

I would definitely lean more towards pub grub but the real sweet spot is the combination of the two – elevated Michelin Bib Gourmand-style gastro pub cooking. Where you get inventive cooking, stellar ingredients and terrific atmosphere but nothing fussy or pretentious.

Favourite restaurant in Ireland?

Following on directly from my comments above, some of my favourite places include Etto, Uno Mas, The Pig’s Ear, Host, The Old Spot and Pickle (in Dublin), Kai and Ard Bia (in Galway), Clenaghans (in Moira, NI) and Paradiso and Cush in Cork.

Best coffee in Ireland?

Coffee Angel all the way – in my local area Strand Fare and Mister Magpie are both really good too.

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Go-to beverage accompaniment?

Lotts & Co Olives and smoked almonds.

What are your thoughts on the Irish foodie scene? Is there room for improvement?

The Irish food scene is better than ever. My son is in Spain for 9 weeks at the moment and he was saying he had never realised just how good our milk, beef and butter are until he didn’t have them. It’s a really tough time for producers and restaurants right now, with escalating costs making it more expensive than ever to eat out. But we have to support our local favourites or they won’t be there. I guess the key is to choose wisely. Eat out less – but eat out better.

What does food — sitting down to a meal with friends, mindfully preparing a meal, nourishment, etc — mean to you?

It means everything. For so many people that is the essence of family, the essence of comfort; when you get to sit, chat and relax. Which is why Direct Provision is such a brutish system as it deprives people of the vital “nourishment” of preparing a meal together.

Chef’s kiss — Tell us about one standout foodie experience you’ve had recently.

A pounced-on early table at Mae in Ballsbridge was stand-out and a recent pop-up hosted by Sunil Ghai at Pickle where he brought the chefs from South Indian Savya Rasa restaurant over was outstanding.

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Compliments to the chef — Now’s your chance to sing the praises of a talented chef, beloved restaurant or particularly talented foodie family member.

There are so many! This is a really hard question to answer. But I suppose if you were to ask whose dinner table I am most envious of it would be either Karl Whelan (of Hang Dai/Saltwater Grocery fame) the king of inventive umami flavour combos. Or Jeni Glasgow and chef husband Reuven Diaz – they elevate the most simple mid-week meal to last-meal-on-earth status and as for the way Jeni styles it, just wow.

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Secret ingredient — What, in your estimation, makes the perfect dining experience?

The right company. Paired with simple, flavourful food. That’s all you need.

Feature image by Doreen Kilfeather