14 October 2015
By Tom Collins
Pat Kiely, award-winning chef of the fine French dining restaurant, Les Gourmandises will host an appetising and inspiring cookery demonstration in aid of Cork Simon Community on Thursday 22 October at 7pm at The Kingsley Hotel.
Guests will enjoy an aperitif of wine and light bites, followed by a two-hour demonstration of simple yet sumptuous dishes from the menu of the award-winning Les Gourmandises restaurant, chosen for their great taste and ease of preparation. The evening will be capped-off with an auction and raffle featuring many culinary related prizes.
Awarded ‘Best Chef in Cork’ in 2012 by the Restaurant Association of Ireland, Pat Kiely has run Les Gourmandises with his French wife Soizic Kiely for the past 14 years. Commenting on the dishes Pat will demonstrate, Sozic Kiely says, “There’s prawns, crab, a cod dish, a chicken dish. The reason we picked them is that they’re easy and delicious for a house-cook to make.” Guests will also take home a booklet featuring the recipes and methods demonstrated.
Soizic Kiely explains how the demonstration will teach culinary tips and tricks that can turn simple fresh ingredients into mouth-watering dishes: “The dishes are quite straight forward. Pat wanted to use simple ingredients but show that when you add some little things to it, you can make it taste and look wonderful without having to shop for hours for special ingredients. There are lots of little tips to learn.”
Pat and Soizic Kiely are committed and enthusiastic supporters of Cork Simon and the cookery demonstration is the third initiative they have taken-on in support of people who are homeless. The couple are also generous contributors to the annual Cork Simon Ball and Les Gourmandises was one of the inaugural restaurants to participate in StreetSmart in aid Cork Simon – an initiative whereby diners are invited to add €2 to their bill in aid of people who are homeless.
Reflecting on her continued motivation to support Cork Simon, Soizic Kiely comments, “There are people begging on the street. But there are also people we don’t see behind the scenes; there are families who have no milk in the fridge and the kids are going hungry. I can’t understand why, today, 2015, this is still happening.”
Recalling the challenges she and Pat faced when establishing their business, Soizic Kiely says, “It could have been us years ago when we started – we put all our savings into the business and I remember a time when we had to pay our rent, we had to pay for the car, and we had no food at home. We were living off the little bit of food we would bring from the restaurant. We had to rattle our bags to find an extra 5 cent to get the bus to town, to work. We were very much at the edge of having absolutely nothing. And we don’t forget it. It can happen to anybody. This is why we keep supporting Cork Simon.”
The event was organised entirely by long-standing and dedicated Cork Simon volunteer, Deirdre Lee from Ballincollig, who has been organising fundraising events for Cork Simon for over 30 years. This year marks the second year of the cookery demonstration following the sell-out inaugural event this time last year when Carmel Somers of The Good Things Café in Durrus, West Cork hosted the evening.
Tickets to Les Gourmandises Cookery Demonstration are €30 and are availabe from Kerry in Cork Simon at email@example.com or 021 4929 410.