My Food Odyssey

My Food Odyssey charts my travels around Europe with my husband in our little camper van, exploring a world of food. We visit various food & wine producers looking for authentic, quality, local and artisanal foods. Please join us!

HOW MY FOOD ODYSSEY CAME ABOUT:
When I was in my early teens I saw a film called “Kane & Abel” that would leave me with two lasting ambitions – one, to marry an Eastern European and the other to be a Hotelier. I have accomplished one and almost accomplished the other!

Despite warnings about long hours and poor pay, I studied Hotel & Catering Management for four years at DIT. The course was a particularly arduous one as it not only covered all the business aspects of management, but also covered hotel and food industry aspects such as cooking, butchery, food & beverage service, nutrition, food hygiene, etc. I have to concede that these were the elements of the course I enjoyed most. (Economics was seriously not for me!)

As part of the course we were required to undertake a six-month internship at a hotel. I was lucky enough to secure a position at Ireland’s prestigious Ashford Castle. My role was as Receptionist/Concierge, welcoming guests to the hotel and helping them to book local excursions, etc. After my six months I returned to college for my final year, but went back to Ashford Castle as soon as I finished, this time as hostess in the George V restaurant. This fabulous restaurant serves exquisite food in opulent surroundings. I loved the pomp and ceremony of this restaurant, where all dishes were served covered with cloches and fine wines were decanted over candle-light. It was one of my favourite jobs of all time.

After my second stint in Ashford I went to the USA, where I worked as a Food & Beverage Manager. While I still loved working in hotels I began to tire of the long hours (and poor pay) that I had originally been warned against. When I returned to Ireland I set about finding a job with more regular hours and so moved away from food & beverage and back to reception. But even that required weekend work. I really missed socialising with my friends and family so I left hotels completely and got a “normal” job in the bank. Soon afterwards I joined eircom, Ireland’s largest telecoms provider, where I remained until February 2013.

During my time away from hotels I never lost my love of food & beverage. I love to cook from scratch and spend much of my time shopping for new and exciting ingredients. I love to entertain and my friends will tell you that I throw a damn fine dinner party! While my love of food never went away, it was reinvigorated when I spotted a competition on the Internet to win a three-month cookery course at Ireland’s famous Ballymaloe Cookery School. The competition involved creating a dish and getting the general public to vote for your dish online. In a bid to increase my votes I created a dedicated Facebook page, and so my food blog was born. It has evolved over time and has become my greatest passion. In early 2013 I was given the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy from my job in eircom. After 13 years of service, the severance package would provide me with sufficient funding to follow my passion in earnest. And so, my husband Arūnas and I have decided to go on a great food odyssey. We have purchased a camper van and will soon be setting off on an odyssey around Europe, exploring a world of exciting food.

I would love for you to join us on our journey and so will be posting regularly to this blog. Via our map you will be able to follow us around Europe as we explore food markets, local dishes, artisan products, wines, etc. Our route is relatively unplanned – we’ll just have to wait and see where the road takes us. If you have suggestions for unmissable foods or locations, please do get in touch. We look forward to having you with us!

June Molloy Vladička.

MY FOOD PRINCIPLES:

  • Eat home-prepared foods – it’s the only way to truly know what’s in your food.
  • Eat traditional foods – they have stood the test of time and use local / indigenous ingredients, which are more easily and economically sourced.
  • Use a wide variety of ingredients.
  • Use local ingredients as much as possible.
  • Use organic ingredients as much as possible.
  • Support small and artisan producers.
  • Food is precious – waste nothing.
  • In so far as possible, don’t eat alone – eating should be a pleasurable, social experience.
  • Ignore the bulk of nutritional advice – it’s still a young science, fraught with debate and it swings violently in terms of what’s hot and what’s not. Besides, we’ve been doing fine without it for thousands of years.
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