We catch up with one of Dublin’s most exciting food bloggers to talk about the Irish foodie scene and Parisian haunts…
Ketty Elisabeth is originally from the Loire Valley in France and moved to Dublin in 2004. She’s author of the award-winning food blog French Foodie in Dublin, a journal of her food experiences in the Irish capital. Ketty runs food tours and events. She ‘s also a freelance blogger and blogging workshop facilitator. We caught up with her over the Bastille Day weekend to talk blogging, food, and the whole ‘French women don’t get fat’ myth.
Image.ie have booked an imaginary flight to Paris and we’re staying for the weekend. Where do we need to eat?
A weekend is never enough time when I’m in Paris, I just wish there were more meals in the day. My advice is to plan where you want to eat and drink before you go, it will save you so much time. For breakfast, I usually pick up some fresh baked goods in a bakery next to my hotel, just because it’s a very French ritual to visit the bakery in the morning. However the must-visit place at the moment is Claus, a breakfast emporium. The café is beautifully designed and they have lots of breakfast/brunch options. For something very French, if you wish to spoil yourself go to the Ladurée tea room in St-Germain-des-prés for some French toast or croissants in a beautiful setting.
For lunch, I recommend Colorova, it oozes with coolness. It’s a modern pâtisserie in the 6th district, they have inexpensive lunch options and delicious cakes for dessert. The very French alternative would be to go to L’Entrecôte in St-Germain-des-prés, this restaurant only serves steak frites with their secret sauce and it looks so Parisian inside.
For an amazing dinner, you have to visit Septime, but make sure you book your table in advance. Another option is Frenchie bar à vins, which is the perfect spot for wine and some amazing tasting plates. For good cocktails head to La Candeleria, which is always good if you’re craving Mexican food. Chocolate lovers should visit Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse and Un Dimanche à Paris which both are chocolate heavens.
Ireland seems to have gotten very sophisticated in the past decade when it comes to food – we’re almost as serious as the French – why do you think this is?
I love what’s happening in the food industry right now. It’s funny but while Parisians are now obsessed with burgers and food trucks, the Irish seem to be focused on their local produce and developing their own cuisine. It’s not about sophistication but more about quality, using locally sourced products and also being more original and innovative. I think because of the recession people are more careful with their money and not interested in overpriced meals of average quality anymore. Food professionals and entrepreneurs have become more creative and now you can really get value for money while eating out in Dublin. I’d say as well that many Irish people travelled abroad and came back with new ideas, influenced by other countries and are now applying those concepts here, it’s great to see.
‘French women don’t get fat.’ Being a French woman abroad, which stereotypes annoy you and which national qualities are you proud of?
I wasn’t aware of all the stereotypes about French people until I moved to Ireland. It was then that I realized most of the world thought we were just a nation of rude and arrogant people who strike all the time, cheat on our partners and smoke 20 cigarettes a day. Of course stereotypes can have a grain of truth but we’re not all the same. My Irish partner always tell me that I sound angry or rude when I speak French but I always tell him it’s the way we all speak and we don’t see ourselves being particularly rude to each other.
When people ask me how French people stay slim or tell me that I don’t look like someone who likes food because I’m not overweight I feel awkward. It’s not because you’re French that you don’t get fat, it’s about what you eat or how much exercise you do and this applies to any nationality.
I’m not sure what the national qualities are for French people but I’m certainly proud of our food, our cinema and our cultural and architectural heritage.
Mr. French Foodie in Dublin (Mr. FFID) is one of the blog’s most regular and mysterious characters and the reason you say you decided to stay in Ireland – how did you two meet?
I met Mr. FFID four weeks after I moved to Ireland. I’d just moved to a flat in Dublin and Mr. FFID lived two floors above me in the same building. Mr. FFID’s Spanish flatmate knew my flatmate and heard about the new girls moving in, so he invited us for dinner. The food was terrible but I liked Mr. FFID straight away and we’ve been together ever since and are now engaged. His cooking skills have improved greatly and while he still doesn’t speak French, he’s a great hand model on my blog.
You run Foodie Movie Clubs – what are some of your favourite onscreen meals?
I showed Julie and Julia for my first movie club and it’s one of my favourite food movies. There are some seriously mouth-watering food close-ups in this movie (beef bourguignon, sole meunière, artichoke…) so what’s not to like? I also love Chocolat which always gives me chocolate cravings when I watch it. I recently watched ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’, which is such an amazing movie, and the sushi making scenes are unbelievable.
And finally, you give blogging workshops and have won a mantelpiece worth of awards. What is the key piece of advice you would give a budding food blogger?
I think the most important thing is to blog about what you love and find your own style. There are so many blogs out there; you have to find your own voice and a way to stand out while still being yourself. Frequency and consistency are also very important to keep growing your readership and gain loyal followers. That said, don’t overthink it, just enjoy your blogging journey and if you love what you’re doing people will feel it and will be more likely to read what you have to say.