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Five Minutes with Pastry Chef Aoife Noonan

The busy pastry chef talks summer cooking and decadent desserts ahead of her appearance at Taste of Dublin this week.

What will you be serving this summer?
Summer is all about fresh, light and seasonal fruit-based dishes. There is nothing better than a ripe peach or apricot – so simple, but so full of fragrance and flavour. I’m currently working on a strawberry and lovage dish, with cannolis, which are traditional Italian pasticcini or pastries. I’m filling mine with ricotta and lemon, which completes the dish with a citrusy and creamy crunch.

What’s your favourite thing about summer?
My favourite thing about summer is being outside in the sunshine. For me, the weather completely reflects the food. I have a few projects lined up this summer, which will keep me busy.

What’s your go-to summer dessert for an outdoor gathering of pals?
There’s nothing better than a big sharing plate of fruit, something clean and light after a meal, such as thinly sliced pineapple with mango and passion fruit, dressed in a simple vanilla syrup and finished with fresh mint, for everyone to get stuck into. I also love serving simple and refreshing sorbets, pairing interesting ingredients together such as berry and hibiscus, peach and rosé wine or ricotta and lavender honey.

Between working across the restaurants and being so involved in events, how do you keep up energy levels and stay calm under pressure?
It is essential to be organised when juggling so many different things. Coffee helps too! It’s also all about trying to maintain a work/life balance and being able to switch off, I practise yoga, which can help with the stress. Staying calm under pressure is down to experience. Planning ahead and being meticulous in organisation helps keep things in check.

What else will you be doing this summer?
I’ll be teaching patisserie masterclasses at Dublin Cookery School in Blackrock. It’s amazing to be able to teach what I love, and seeing others accomplish something new is so rewarding. I’ll be involved with the House of Peroni, who have a residency at the end of May, so I’ll be looking after all of the desserts and gelato for that. I am also a judge for the Valrhona Pâtisserie Championship, which I’m very excited about, as I won the competition three years ago. It’s amazing to be able to see emerging Irish talent in pastry.

What will you be doing at Taste of Dublin?
I’m doing an interactive demo in the Make Life Delicious with Electrolux cookery school, showcasing a dessert inspired by the flavours of the world. This element of Taste of Dublin is great because it allows people to cook along in real time with you and try something new. When off duty, I’m looking forward to catching up with friends in the industry and watching a few demos from chefs I admire.

Aoife Noonan is the executive pastry chef of John Farrell’s restaurant empire, comprising five of Dublin’s top restaurants: 777, Super Miss Sue, Dillinger’s, The Butcher Grill, and RAI’s Best Restaurant of Ireland 2016, Luna.

Catch Aoife Noonan at Taste of Dublin at the Iveagh Gardens, June 15-18, tasteofdublin.ie.

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