Getting Lots by Giving a Little.

A deal better than my presentation. Sous vide Pork Fillet

A deal better than my presentation. Sous vide Pork Fillet

Regular readers will know that I do a bit of cycling. The day that I post this, I will be taking part in the 2015 Paris2Nice Cycle to raise funds for an Irish national suicide charity. It involves 75 cyclists from Ireland riding over 700 kilometres, with a number of us taking on the dreaded Mont Ventoux as part of the exercise. This is the 5th year of Paris2Nice and, to date, the endeavours have raised well over two million euro for a number of worthy causes.

One of our fundraising events was the Wine and Dine event hosted by Kevin Hui at his China Sichuan Restaurant in Sandyford, south Dublin. Kevin has done a huge amount for Paris2Nice. He’s that kind of person. When we were discussing how we could make the event that bit different, Kevin suggested that we could have a multi-course evening with appropriate wines. He also floated the idea that I might like to have a hand in preparing one of the courses. This caused me some trepidation. Why? Because some of Ireland’s top chefs have and are cycling in Paris2Nice. Many would be there in the crowd of 140 generous souls, all supporting the great works. I’m just a bloke who cooks at home. What if I made a mess of it (as I often do)?  The bar (or should that be dining table) is set pretty high.

I have previously devised a para-Oriental Sous Vide Pork Fillet. It’s a delicious dish. Kevin suggested that we could use it for a course at the dinner. I produced a couple of samples and then Kevin got me to work with Chef Andrew at the China Sichuan.

Chef Andrew - Showing me what I didn't know I didn't know.

Chef Andrew – Showing me what I didn’t know I didn’t know.

We (he) slaved hard to make it something special that would be suitable for paying customers. Customers who were there to support a great cause. I think we (he) got it right. 

There’s no recipe on this post. You can have a look at my original here. Chef Andrew has lifted this from “pretty good for a home cook” to “Wow, that’s delicious!”

The moment of truth. Pork taken out of the sous vide bath.

The moment of truth. Richly seasoned pork taken out of the sous vide bath.

I have thought a lot about why Kevin would ask me to produce a course rather than any of the (other) leading Irish chefs who have been and are part of Paris2Nice? He did it for me. It was an incredibly generous gesture. One that I really, really appreciate.

The Master and his Apprentice. I learned a lot.

The Master and his Apprentice. I learned a lot.

I loved my experience with Chef Andrew in the China Sichuan kitchen and I know that I will be a better cook for it.

But, that’s the thing about Paris2Nice, it seems that everybody who gets involved gives a lot of themselves, usually quietly and without fuss. Kevin, like so many others, does a huge amount, encouraging, cajoling and assisting. It seems no-one wants anything out of it for themselves. Everybody is there to help and support each other and I think that’s why we all get so much back. Thanks Kevin.

Not only did I learn a lot, I got to eat this glorious dish.

Not only did I learn a lot, I got to eat this glorious dish.

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Latest comments
  • Looks and sounds like a great experience. Well deserved, Conor!

  • A beautiful dish of Good Work, prepared with a Helping Hand and liberally seasoned with Kindness and Humility. One of your better efforts…

    • Thanks Kate. I am replying from a small French town on day one of this great adventure.
      Best as ever,

      • Go n-éirí an bóthar leat . Best of luck.

  • Shall be with you all the way! May the weather behave and may all of you enjoy . . . and may you gather piles of cash for a hugely worthwhile cause . . .

    • Rather late I just had to use Mr Google, tho’ I kind’of knew the feeling! Beautifully said and I have learned another tad of Gaelic!

      • Thanks Eha, and thanks for the kind donation. I got up Mt. Ventoux yesterday. It nearly broke me. Not quite but nearly. The hardest thing I have ever done on a bike. I am elated today.
        Best as ever,

  • Great cause, great event, great food – everybody wins! Love the post!

    • Thank you Deirdre, you are right on all three!

  • outstanding! both the opportunity and the fact that giving of ones-self is never empty of returns. enjoy the ride!

    • It was a great event in the end. Everybody attending enjoyed themselves no end and we raised a good few quid for Console. As you say, everybody wins.

  • Good on you…..very impressive, Conor.

    • Thanks Roger,
      Any excuse to get to France!

  • Good ride!

    • Thanks Folks,
      Thanks too for the donation. We have raised a good few quid now and many worthy causes will have benefited once we are done.

  • Such an enriching experience Conor, all of it. What a lovely menu and what a ride!

    • The cycle is really only the bonus. Everything else in the process has been great. They warned me that it would be life changing. It has been. A bit more cycling to do and then we are done.

  • awesome stuff Conor!

    • Thanks Paul,
      All great fun indeed.

  • Conor, great cause … great event … what a fantastic experience. I smell the aroma … all the way to Sweden. *smile

    • Thank you Viveka,
      You should come to Ireland to try it!

      • Conor, I lived on Ireland for 11 years in total … 1 year in Dún Laoghaire and 10 years in Belfast. I love Ireland .. I have always said that Ireland is the place you miss before you have left it.

        • I grew up in Monkstown. We may have passed each other on the street!

          • Have spent many nice evenings with great food in Monktown. So that is very likely.

  • That dish is a work of art. Nicely done.

    • Thank you Anne,
      Chef Andrew is responsible. He is an artist.

  • Bang on Conor. What an effing thrill eh! Looks like a worthy dish my friend.

  • Such a great way to make a difference in this world we live in, Conor. Thanks for sharing the experience with us!

    • Thank you Debbie,
      I had a lot of fun doing it. I learned a lot and we raised a deal of cash for worthy causes. That’s the way to roll, if one can.
      Hope all is good in the Mountain Kitchen,

  • That’s a lovely looking plate of food! And all the best for your ride!

    • Thanks,
      Andrew is the man responsible. All I brought was a pretty raw idea.

  • I got back on Sunday from a four-day fund-raising trip, of sorts. (As well as a LOT of drinking and shenanigans.) It appears you probably are a bit more the fitter in your endeavors than I am. However, we were able to raise about $4,000 US towards the funding of Raptor and Wildlife Rescue centers, yay! I am very glad you got to participate in both the food and cycling part of this, you are a fine man, Conor! Your dish looks scrumptious!

    • Too kind Kathryn (on the fine man bit). The meal was pretty special.

    • There were no drinking and shenanigans on our trip, honest…

  • Excellent – I bet that was fun – the cooking and the ride 🙂

    • Great fun MD. Sitting in Nice airport now, waiting for my flight back to reality.

      • I hope you got to eat some good food at the end of your long ride 🙂

  • this dish looks delicious 🙂

  • Wow, Conor. Sounds like a terrifying prospect. That would be like me being invited to trade insults with the drill sergeant from Full Metal Jacket. But the last photo of the master and apprentice says it all – I hope you framed it (and put a shrine around it). Well done on the cycle. A mountain of many metaphorical proportions.

    • Thanks Tara, I’m building the shrine as I type.

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