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    B^B^B^B^B^B^B^BbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbT^ iffNo shouting, no swearing. Whatever hashappened to Dylan McGrath, and what's next m^m^L^EmmW^' **for the firebrand chef whose gentle mentoring

    IT'S 11.30 ON A Saturday morning, and When Mint became one of the ^^^^^^^^^^Bj^a^^^^^HK^ , -^bbbbbblstaff in pristine whites are diligently polish- first restaurant casualties of the *,., "*' JJafiling the metal barriers around the outside recession, closing its doors in jjfgKPP^wseating at Rustic Stone. Inside, the smell of 2009, there was little sympathy BB^^^^^|j^^B|^^^^^^^^^^^HMHM^MaH^H|^g^\, W^ffPcleaning fluid lies heavy in the air. Restau- for McGrath, and for a year andrants aren't glamorous places out of open* a half, little was heard of the Bel-Ing and this one no fast man. So who is this new,seems as the on hyper-alert out Dylan McGrath _^^^^^|^^B^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^HR

    here. Could it be that the boss is on the prowl? who has been winning overDylan McGrath, all brooding eyes the cynics charming TV

    commanding presence, is indeed in the house, viewers with his sympatheticWe're meeting to talk about Rustic Stone Raw, mentoring of amateur chefs, and what hashis new venture into healthy food - cooked as lit- brought about the change?tie as possible (if at all), served quickly, priced "My mother passed away in December and I mmm *mm*- ..reasonably, and aimed at lunchtime diners. And, spent a couple of months with her before she and had it snatched away,of course, I want to get the inside track on passed," he says. "She made me promise on her McGrath was out of work for 18 months afterMaster Chef, which reached its conclusion on death bed that I would never curse on TV again. Mint closed. "I realised that if I was going to con-Thursday night when McGrath and his fellow Because she was on her death bed, she made it tinue to cook at that level, I was going to have tojudge Nick Munier chose 28-year-old Mary clear. And after she passed, I just thought, you leave. Where could Igo [in Ireland]? I couldn't goCarney to be Ireland's first recipient of the title. know mum, why not." to L'ficrivain and be a sous chef I couldn't

    lama little anxious about this encounter. I've Mother and son were very close, and go to Guilbaud. Where was I going to go? I endedexperienced at first hand the loud, angry words McGrath, who was known as Dylan Creaney up cooking privately, tried to live within mypercolating from the kitchen during dinner at growing up in west Belfast, took her name in means, and wherever 1 could do a one-off gig forMint, the Ranelagh restaurant where he gained a adulthood. He's frank about the reason for the a decent sum of money, I did it. It was tough.Michelin star in 2008, and some would say change: "My mum met a man. They had my "I seriously looked at going away, to America. Idestroyed his reputation in the process. They'd brothers and sisters. I grew up. Their relation- was offered a position in an amazing restaurantbe referring to The Pressure Cooker, the 2008 ship failed and they broke up. I think that she got in Chicago, [the Michelin three-star] Alinea."RTE television documentary that charted his the worse end of the bargain, but I won't go into This was an amazing opportunity, so why didn'thunt for Michelin recognition, and portrayed it. Some day I will, but right now it's about pro- he go? "My mum was dying, she had cancer and Ihim as an angry young man in relentless pursuit tecting the integrity of the family. I thought, you was trying to talk her into doing chemotherapy."of perfection in the kitchen, at any cost. know what, I am going back to my mother's So he stayed in Ireland and last August

    But my trepidation dissipates when McGrath maiden name because lammy mother's son, launched Rustic Stone, a mid-market restaurantgreets me warmly, offers coffee and returns with that's who I am. The name that I'd been raised where you can have a giant slab of meat servedpint-sized takeaway cups he's had to go and buy with didn't matter. I didn't want to be that, that on a sizzling hotplate, or pick at a superfoodelsewhere, as the restaurant's coffee machine is was not me. salad. It's been a great success, but it's not Mint,not yet turned on. The sight of him rummaging "The world's a very different place without and it's not Michelin material. So how didin his man-bag for a box of artificial sweetners your mother," he says, his sense of loss still very McGrath, the manic perfectionist, come tosoftens his "hard man" reputation. And there's near the surface almost a year after her death. change course so dramatically?sincerity in those arresting eyes - one brown, The world's also a different place when you've "I started to put on weight. 1 was going outone green. been at the very top of your professional game, with a girl who was very clued into nutrition. I

    8 I THE IRISH TIMES Magazine I October IS, 2011

  • Dylan

    I^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^PI^^^^^^K^ jfe- Master Chef Ireland winner Mary:' Carney: the start Mary had aEft^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^Hk lightness of hand that was really, reallyimpressive, [didn't think you'd see that in

    amateur - There were times when shecooked stuff and made the"j^dj3^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^H^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^V^ so more worthwhile that

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    ''^^Smmmmmm^m^m^m^B/LWL^m^mm touching me in a way that is like 'Oh my-JLLS&BtS^ God'. YOU dtllCr COmieCt With that Or yOU"^k^BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBk dOn't."jh^^ * Winning a Michelin stariL^L^L^L^L^L^^^L^L^L^L^L^KL^L^L^L^L^LW They sent me a sticker for the window.JgflHMhk kW* kind of looked at it and thought, wow, all

    S^HaaHaak. ' that woA for a sticker for the window.""'-^3B-^^Bk / - ' -^^^^^BBJ Running the kitchen at Mint* laBBBBBBBBaP^JSBalt mt * mm\W^ ;? i #>? r ~/^"^\^4 "I was actually f**lting mad by this stage."1, JLwlm^mW'^ * His motivation" w -^g^L^L^L^L^L^Lr' _^^Wr J j^^^^Hr^ *' S ot i* 1 * 0 tb^ t0 niake my life better. I..j&y j, ***">la( Mm^TH --^ jHPI^^^BB^ \, - * What's next "I want to keep with theIbBBBB. '^^I^BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB 'k^ 0U ""^ OUt f^O"!"-"SbbBBBBBBBBBBbW