Chef Edward Hayden whips up dishes and laughs

Last Wednesday’s cookery demonstration in Telfords by TV3 chef Edward Hayden did wonders for the mental health of the audience, as well as wonders with food.

The Graiguenamanagh chef’s lively banter and double entendres had the ladies chortling as he smoothly cooked seven tasty dishes in real time, assisted by his friend Olivia.

“I know some people are ‘functional cooks’ just throwing in the pork chops, the broccoli into the weekly shop, what I’m doing this evening is sexing them up,” he said.

He urged the audience to try out some of the recipes in his handout.

“Don’t put it in the third drawer, under the tea towels,” he warned with a smile.

His recipes included his own multi seed brown bread, a cream of mushroom and hazelnut soup, a leek and bacon pie and chocolate profiteroles.

Hayden’s relaxed approach encourages home cooks to adapt to their own tastes and traditions.

“Cooking is akin to getting ready to go out, you never end up with what you started with,” he said.

His praise of the Siemens ovens in Telfords rose a wave of laughter.

“Induction is like a relationship, it’s either hot or cold,” he quipped.

At the interval tea in dainty cups and delicious baking by HSE caterer Susan Carter was enjoyed, and after the demo, the audience descended on Hayden’s dishes with delight.

A raffle sponsored by Telfords Electrical went down a treat too, and HSE’s Joe Sheridan thanked them and Laois Community Forum for organising the busy week of Laois Connects events.

“The money raised this evening goes towards the service users’ Christmas party. The mental health services in Laois and Offaly are quite open and progressive, it’s the help we get from the community that helps us do that,” he said.

The evening was organised by Laois Offaly Mental Health Services, and Dr Katherine Browne, consultant psychiatrist told the audience that when she began working at St Fintan’s Hospital in Portlaoise, the walls were literally high.

“People stayed there for a long time, often they didn’t come out. Now we are more enlightened. People get treatment where they need it, in their community, with an acute unit in Portlaoise hospital, so they don’t feel stigma,” she said.

One in four of us will experience mental ill health at some stage in life.

“It is part of our overall health that needs looking after, and if you get help early, chances are recovery is faster. We all experience stress, but it can get prolonged or overwhelming, we really have to look after ourselves. The risk of heart disease is drummed into us, but do we know the same risks about stress?” Dr Browne asked.

She believes cooking as an aid to mental recovery is under researched.

“Marian Keyes has published a book ‘Saved by Cake’ where she says she baked her way out of depression. Finding a hobby is very important. Laois Connects is a great week, let’s continue the conversation about mental health,” she said.

Laois Forum’s Kathleen Gorman is also the national secretary of the ICA, who regularly host demos by Hayden at An Grianan.

She was delighted with the successful evening.

“It was brilliant, Edward is a great friend of the ICA, he is very entertaining and an absolute gent,” she said.