Irish chef Neven Maguire has revealed his young son has big ambitions to follow in his culinary footsteps.
The TV cook, who is dad to 10-year-old twins Connor and Lucia, admitted his boy already enjoys cooking with him at home.
Neven, 46, runs the famous Macnean house and restaurant in Blacklion, Co Cavan, with his wife Amelda.
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And the chef said his children will be with him for his cooking demonstrations at the Bloom Festival in Dublin’s Phoenix Park next weekend.
Neven told the Irish Sunday Mirror: ‘They’re going to come and cook and they can’t wait to do it.
“They’ve always loved eating and eating, but now it’s nice to see them getting into food, cooking and prepping. I love showing them off.
“Connor has said many times that he wants to follow in my footsteps, but I take that with a pinch of salt.
“I look at my family and there are nine of us and none of them wanted to continue, but I just knew I wanted to be a chef.
We employ 60 people in the village and are happy to be busy, open and back.
“I got the love for food from my mother, she was a great cook and a wonderful, wonderful mother.
“She taught me to take care of your staff and treat people with kindness.”
Neven is delighted to see his award-winning restaurant busy again after being closed for eight months during the pandemic.
He added: “We would have canceled a few thousand reservations. It was very difficult for the staff but it’s so nice to be open now.
“We’ve restructured our business – we used to do two sessions and now we’re doing one.
“We have almost 60 people employed in a small rural village in Blacklion so we are very proud of that and happy to be busy and open and to be back again.
“It was a challenge. Even the minute prices go up, the cost of running a business goes up in every sense of the word.
“But listen, we’re going to work on it, we’re very lucky and lucky.”
Neven told how a positive coming out of the pandemic was to see people going back to the kitchen to cook.
He continued, “There was one thing for me from a food standpoint, and that’s how people reconnected with food and are cooking more. More and more people are cooking at home and enjoying it. .
“It gave me a lot of hope and it was great to see that.”
The chef said that despite working on television and other commitments, the thing he enjoyed the most during the pandemic was spending more time with his family.
Neven added: “I wasn’t doing the demos or on the road as much obviously but there’s nothing wrong with that, it was actually quite a good thing.
“It’s nice to enjoy family life now as well as professional life, I think that’s important.
“We just had a great time together. Once you’ve been able to walk around and enjoy it together, it’s time you didn’t come back.
“It probably made me realize that I needed to slow down a bit too and that I didn’t need to be on the road so much and doing this and that. That’s what it’s about.
The whole family caught Covid-19 last year, but Neven said he used the downtime to revive his guilty pleasure and secret hobby – Djing and dance music.
He added: “It’s kind of fun, I’ve always loved music. My mom and dad bought me a set of turntables when I was 21 and they were in the attic.
“During Covid, when I wasn’t doing much, we shot them.
“I have a separate studio where I do the videos and that’s where the decks are so I don’t bother the neighbors or Amelda or the twins.
“I’ve been asked to do a lot of things with music and play things, but that’s just a bit of fun and that’s all it’s ever been.
“It’s always been a passion for me. We used to play it when we were preparing during the day for service. [at the restaurant]. I used to come to Dublin every two weeks and buy records, all vinyl.
“I’m not a DJ, I just like to do it, it’s all dance music.
“Not everyone likes it but I love the rhythm and rhythm – it’s very energetic and can make you very happy and it can fill you with different emotions.
“When I reconnected, it brought back good memories. I used to play at a local nightclub two nights a week.
“It was kind of fun and all for free, on a voluntary basis, and it was just awesome. Having the turntables that are almost 30 years old and all the records also brings back fond memories of my parents.
And he joked: “They were always very supportive, they probably hated the music but never told you.”
Neven will be at the Bord Bia Bloom Festival this year where he will present simple dishes to the crowd.
He said: “Bloom is one of my favorite shows. What I love the most is how educational it is and it’s a real family event.
“It’s food, it’s gardening, it’s cooking and it’s all that is good in life and nature. It just ticks all the boxes.
“I’ve done every Bloom and I’m just privileged to have been asked to do it again. I love meeting people.
“Remember I haven’t done a cooking demo in two years – I’ve done TV and videos, but it’s different in front of a live audience, there can be a few hundred people.
“It’s different this year too because we’re cooking with the kids. We’re going to do this for two days. »
Bord Bia Bloom at Phoenix Park runs June 2-6 with tickets available at bordbiabloom.com.