Currarevagh has been in the Hodgson family since 1842, when (as the story goes) the house was won in a card game. Seven generations later, the house is run by Lucy and Henry Hodgson, who took over managing the property in 2008. Both are trained chefs and passionate about food.
Lucy Hodgson, the Head Chef sat down with us to tell us what she loves about her job and the ingredients she couldn’t live without.
You’re stranded on a desert island. What five foods would you want with you? What would you make?
I would bring Matt’s Farm spinach, sea salt, organic cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, lemons, a whole turbot, and would make a wood-roasted whole turbot on the bone doused with lemon and extra virgin olive oil, spinach and sea salt.
Is sourcing local ingredient and produce important to the restaurant? How do you choose your suppliers?
We source our produce as locally as possible starting with veg and leaves from Uncle Matt’s farm in Oughterard - all grown completely chemically free. All our fish and shellfish are from Gannet Seafoods in Galway who are impeccable with their own sourcing.
We are lucky to have 360 - a delivery service that links farmers and growers with chefs. It allows us to have access (especially as a small business) to farms such as Castlemine in Leitrim and The Friendly Farmer in Athenry. We have a great butcher also in Oughterard – McGeoughs, who specialises in air-dried meats and sources great Connemara lamb when in season. Also in the village is O'Sullivans - a fantastic grocer who sources lots of great in-season Irish products which we can also avail of.
We are so lucky with what we have on our doorstep. Not to mention all the mushrooms and wild food that grow naturally around us and occasionally wild brown trout brought in by the fishermen!
Where do you go when you want to eat at a restaurant?
I really like to eat food that is completely different to what I'm cooking day-to-day. My current favourite in Galway is the Japanese Wa Cafe which uses all the wonderful produce we have here in the West. I also love Kai in Galway for its yummy and great atmosphere. Further afield it would have to be the River Cafe in London. All of these also have great female chefs!
What is your favourite food memory?
I was fortunate to grow up in County Donegal on the beach. We would spend summers mackerel fishing and bringing them back to BBQ, along with hauls of mussels picked from the rocks at low tide. My mum and dad are avid gardeners and grow all of their veg so it was the real deal and a great grounding!
What do you love most about your job?
The great thing about this job is that we live in this incredible place surrounded by lush vegetation, wildlife, trees and water. Our children can roam freely and also hopefully I can pass on this love of food that I have to them. Cooking allows me to be creative.
What is your favourite ingredient?
I would have to say flour (wheat). I love making sourdough and it always amazes me that all you need is flour and water. I would be lost without it.