Irish chef, author and TV presenter Clodagh McKenna has gone from one success to another.
Clodagh had her food line with Aer Lingus, the restaurant Clodagh’s Kitchen, and has been a guest on many TV shows including Channel 4’s 'Sunday Brunch', 'This Morning' on ITV and several American shows such as 'The Rachel Ray Show' and 'The Today Show'. Most recently, Clodagh appeared on the new Channel 4 game show 'Beat the Chef' which is already highly ranked and definitely worth a watch.
We had a chat with Clodagh recently about her career to date and how her cooking led to a TV career. "It never was a goal," she said. "I think that’s probably why it has worked for me. I was running farmers markets at the time… Rick Stein came over; he was running his 'Food Heroes' show."
Showing him and his team around, Clodagh brought them to various chefs and foodies in Cork. In the end, they unexpectedly decided that it would be Clodagh who was their number one Food Hero and interviewed her.
"I was only 27 years old and so green, I was so nervous. I had no makeup and my hair back in a ponytail. I was so nervous my hands were shaking," she said, which you would never think now from her bubbly, confident demeanour.
"From there it went well and I’ve never not done TV since then," said Clodagh.
Clodagh said if she were to give advice to anyone looking to get into cooking on air, "I would say that if you’re in food or gardening or lifestyle, become really skilled at your subject.
"Every channel has said the same thing to me, they all want really skilled people who can work under pressure, that if anything goes wrong in a live show that I know what to do."
Her regular TV appearances mean she has met plenty of stars, on and off camera. These include Hugh Bonneville from 'Downton Abbey' (she pulled out her phone to show a picture on Instagram of her boyfriend, Harry Herbert, with Hugh). Clodagh and Harry actually live on the grounds of Highclere Castle where Downton is filmed, a literal fairy-tale.
Despite this she still gets starstruck. She recently met one of her idols, chef Marcus Wareing, and couldn’t believe when he knew who she was.
"I had dinner with him two weeks ago. I didn’t realise he was going to be there and I was seated beside him," she said. "He was obsessed with bees and honey and I was like 'So am I!'. We got on really well."
Clodagh is really into healthy living with nutritious food obviously being a big part of that. She is endorsing Unislim’s new 'Delicious' cookbook as she feels they have the same ethos about overall health.
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Morning from Dublin 👋 Yesterday I launched the new @unislimclubs cook book Delicious 🌟 50 delicious healthy recipes that will have your tastebuds dancing and your waistline smiling ☀️ I genuinely love the ethics of @unislimclubs 300 clubs across Ireland, helping everyone live a healthier life 💚 it’s a wonderful community full of love and support with an holistic approach to mind, body and soul. It’s an Irish company now in its 47th year. To find out more visit unislim.com Clo 💋 #Ad #UnislimDelicious
"It’s not just about going on a fad diet, it’s a lifestyle change. It is so important, your mental health, your physical health and what you’re eating. It’s all so linked and I think now we're all becoming a little bit more aware of that," she said.
She said her mom used to go to Unislim when she was young, "She used to go off on a Thursday night and I’d never really know, I thought it was just a weigh- in club but I didn’t realise it was this fantastic community that people link into and really rely on."
The next thing she’s working on is doing up a walled garden, keeping bees (swapping tips with her new bud Marcus, no doubt) and writing all about it for her column in the Evening Standard.
We asked what her favourite dish of her own was and she said "I love my chilli prawn linguine it’s so simple. It’s one of my go-tos, I cook it every second week."
She also said the best meal she’s had recently was Carlingford Oysters.
Still Irish at heart.