James has always been interested in food.
“My mum was always cooking for her friends, and she made sure I knew how to cook. And I did home economics at school.”
Leaving college half way through when a job came up, James worked in PR for six years.
“I worked on the Barry’s Tea and Kerrygold accounts.”
An influencer, who became a social media personality doing Vlogs and parodies, James amassed 110,000 followers.
Meanwhile he had met William Murray from Currabinny, County Cork, who was as passionate about food as he was. So he left his job, and the two of them set up Currabinny.
“William trained at the Ballymaloe Cookery school,” says James. “We wanted to start a café, but we hadn’t enough money. We rented out a kitchen on South William Street and we sell food in markets. We also cook for events and for birthdays. We sell hotpot, as well as things that can be brought home in a bag.”
Who is James Kavanagh
Date of birth: 1989, In Dublin.
Education: Wilson’s Hospital in Mullingar; Ashfield College; Rathmines College of Further Education, Communications.
Family: Partner, William Murray. “Our families were key in giving us a love of food.”
The Day Job: TV presenter.
In Another Life: “We’d like to live in Cork, and have cafes in Dublin and Cork.”
Favourite Food Writers: Nigel Slater; Nigella Lawson; Rory O’Connell.
Second Book: “We’re not planning one right now, but would like a second one to be around a theme, like seaweed.”
Top Tip for Cooking: “Cooking is all about confidence. Beginners should start with something small, like hummus – don’t start with a roast and trimmings, because if it goes wrong, you’ll lose heart.”
Website: www.currabinny.ie Twitter: @Currabinny_
The Debut: The Currabinny Cookbook. Penguin Ireland: €21.99.
A gorgeous contemporary cookbook – full of traditional recipes with a twist. Recipes include bread made with stout, beetroot and seaweed hummus and bloody Mary prawns with celeriac salad.
“Our food is unashamedly full of flavour, meaning we never shy away from real butter, Maldon salt and seasonal, fresh vegetables. There’s nothing in the book that would scare your Granny!”
The Verdict: A well-deserved winner of the cookbook of the year category of A Post Irish Book Awards.
Published in The Irish Examiner on 8th December.
© Sue Leonard. 2018.