Our restaurant serves locally sourced and home grown food from our walled garden and farm. Our head-chef Gillian Hegarty draws up the lunch and dinner menu every day depending on what comes in from the garden and the boats at Ballycotton. Fruit and vegetables are sent up every morning from the gardens- perhaps there is a glut of runner beans or courgettes or summer nectarines or globe artichokes. Herbs, edible flowers, soft fruits and apples come from our walled garden as well as onions, potatoes, kale, cabbage and salad leaves and many other vegetables. We have rhubarb plants which come originally from the walled garden of Mrs Allen’s childhood home in Cork. Lemon verbena and mint are gathered to make our own herbal infusions. Brenda’s fish van arrives at 4pm and it is not until then that the dinner menu is finally decided upon. JR our pastry chef might turn loganberries in to a sorbet or make a pear tart depending on the fruits that are available.
The gardening team at Ballymaloe are central to what we do in the kitchen. This year we have planted more borlotti beans, swiss chard, peas and broad beans, Chioggia beetroot, Castelfranco and Tardivo Treviso radicchio, Romanesco courgettes and red onion squash. We grow quantities of flat-leaf parsley, basil, sweet marjoram and mint.