Darren Hogarty lives on the cutting edge of pastry. He speaks with such eloquence on the topic of what it means for food to be Irish, making him the ace in Chapter One’s deck. In Cathal Brugha Street at 16, he knew since then cooking was for him, although he has ‘no earthly idea where it came from’. His pastry journey includes a twist of fate. A promising chef at 21, filled with an inexplicable passion for cooking from a young age, he discovered he had developed a severe seafood allergy.
Did he feel hard done by having the decision to specialise in pastry taken out of his hands? Not in the slightest he notes, feeling it was in fact a twist of fate which led him ‘exactly where he needed to be’. Going on to become the Head Pastry Chef for Gordon Ramsay’s London Restaurants at the age of 27 before returning to Chapter One, Darren had clearly found his calling.
We hope you enjoy our interview with Darren below…
Tell us what inspired you to cook and what age were you when you started?
I’ve always wanted to cook since a young age. I’ve only ever had jobs in the food industry. I finished school, did my leaving cert and started in the Shelbourne Hotel when I was 16.
What is your favourite food memory?
My favourite food memory is my dad my making Irish stew and apple cakes. He makes the absolute best Irish stew, I have great memories of him rolling pastry and sprinkling brown sugar into apples, having it warm with ice cream and thinking he was a wizard 🤣
Where do you draw inspiration from for your menus?
My Inspiration comes from anywhere really. I usually try not to repeat dishes I have done to a certain extent or a least try and improve on them. Instagram is a huge inspiration too, it’s a completely free tool to be used and I love it.
Have you any suppliers/ producers that stand out to you and why?
Yes suppliers I love are Velvet Cloud, Dunany Flour, Cuinneog Dairy and Lannleire Honey. Velvet cloud are my guys I just love their products. So my basic etos is we have these amazing products in Ireland that other places don’t have so we should put them at the forefront. For example at the moment I’m very into French classic baking so I think a Paris Brest made with good Irish flour, eggs and dairy and sweetened with Irish honey is just brilliant.
How do you stay motivated and relevant within your role?
Staying motivated and relevant to be honest I have Ross to thank for that. He forces me to ask myself is what I’m doing the best honest version of what we can do and if it’s not why are we doing it. So because of that I think you have to look inward and see if what your doing is the the best you can do for the customers and for the food itself. I think it’s important these days to be customer driven, to be relevant, remember it’s hospitality and you to take care of your customers.
What is your ultimate food indulgence?
I’m a chef so I love eating my ultimate indulgence food wise is every Sunday I have a big roast with my wife and daughter with all the trimmings, roast potatoes, chicken, stuffing, everything and I usually make a big cake as well so we’re all in a coma afterwards 🤣
What are your favourite restaurants, who are your favourite Chefs?
My favourite restaurants I love casual dining and I love burgers so I love Bunsen and bujo burgers I just think they are brilliant. I am a big fan of Forest and Marcy as well I think it’s amazing. My favourite chef for food I want to eat all the time is Grainne O’Keefe, I think everything she does is packed with flavour and her dishes are everything food should be. I love Ciaran Sweeney I think he’s one of the best chefs in the country. Graham (The Cupcake Bloke) is my food hero I have said it for years and I love everything he does.
For straight up inspiration it’s Mickael in the greenhouse he’s the guy I look at and think god I wish I could do the half the stuff he can, I’m lucky because I got the chance to ask him a lot of questions and he helps me a lot, for example I wanted to do a blood crumpet so I asked Mickael would he have any advice. Turns out he had it for school dinner everyday in Finland so he showed me to make it with a creamed spinach and something sharp ingredients. I am now working on my version with pickled blackberries for a new snack.
Then there’s Cathal Leonard in Potager he basically taught me how to cook so I’m always in awe of everything he does I wouldn’t be where I am without him.
Your job is undoubtedly both physically and mentally demanding, do you have an outlet that helps you refresh & re-energize your mind and body?
I think the simple rules apply to our industry, we do work demanding hours, so I don’t drink a lot. I try sleep well and eat well, as for recharging my batteries I bake with my four year old daughter Violet every week and I love it!
It’s just good for my soul she’s my best friend.
Tell us what you love about working in your current role and why it is the right fit for you?
I love my current role because to be honest the pastry scene has never been stronger with Tara and Lalli in the greenhouse, Tanya in One Pico, The Cupcake Bloke, Bread 41 and Sceal Bakery and my guys Jess and Nico we are all part of it so it’s pretty exciting.
Any tips for the home cook?
Tips for the home cook, use the best ingredients first and foremost, once you start that way you can’t go wrong. Then after just enjoy it and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
Cooking and baking should be enjoyed so if you make someone eclairs for example just enjoy what you are doing and what you are doing for someone whether it’s a dinner party or a family dinner.
Follow Darren on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/stanpastry