Meet the chef
Her day begins with a whirlwind trip around the farms, allotments, shops and holdings of her suppliers, as she starts the journey from the farms to your fork.
And rustic grub is, indeed, what you get – McNeela loves the unctuous country tastes of honey-roasted duck, and game terrine, and salt and pepper sprats with lemon mayonnaise, and Galway goat’s cheese pizza, and kale and scallion mash – but the self-deprecatory term “grub” doesn’t hide the skill in this cooking and pizza making, the deep rooted origins of Ms McNeela’s cooking style, honed by mentors such as her Mum, who brought up the family on a self-sufficient farm, and Anne McMahon, the legendary originator of Mayo’s Café Rua.
It comes as no surprise that Ms McNella is a Slow Food stalwart and, indeed, chair of Slow Food Galway, for here is a cook who practices what she preaches, a chef whose allotment flourishes in the aptly named Merlin Woods.
Real food to me is truly knowing where your food comes from and preserving the integrity of that food in the simplest, tastiest way possible.