An Alphabet of Aniar: Notes for a New Irish Cuisine, a reflective companion piece to The Irish Cook Book by JP McMahon (Phaidon 2020), is available now, €25, from www.aniarrestaurant.ie.
While The Irish Cook Book focused on the entire history of food in Ireland, An Alphabet of Aniar: Notes for a New Irish Cuisine discusses some of JP McMahon’s philosophy and findings from the last twelve years at Aniar through the framework of the alphabet.
JP McMahon describes An Alphabet of Aniar: Notes for a New Irish Cuisine as a true labour of love, saying, “This book celebrates the last twelve years of Aniar. It highlights the adventures of Irish food in the restaurant as well as demonstrating the ways in which it has showcased wild and foraged food, old techniques of preservation, and connected the restaurant to the history of food on the island of Ireland. Aniar has developed a base for future investigations of New Irish Cuisine for another generation of chefs, producers, and restaurateurs. This book offers insights, stories and recipes that demonstrate the depth of Irish food culture in the 21st century.”
Aniar began as a project to explore the possibilities of the Irish larder; to make sense of them and attempt to produce a new Irish cuisine. JP’s experience with Aniar has been distilled into a fascinating and useful book that’s designed to be brought into the kitchen where it will inspire the reader to think about Irish food in different ways. Content spans the entire alphabet, from the benefits and versatility of Alexanders, also known as horse parsley, that have grown along Ireland’s hedgerows for thousands of years, right through to Zero Waste, a concept that JP describes as a process by which he and his team seek to connect his restaurants to the outside ecology of Ireland’s landscapes and seas. The book also features stunning photography by Galway-based photographer Anita Murphy with styling by Zania Koppe.
Located in Galway’s West End, Aniar (which is the Irish or Gaelic word for west) was awarded its first Michelin star in 2013 which it has retained every year since. A terroir restaurant, Aniar’s menu showcases west of Ireland ingredients, drawing inspiration from the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland. All of the ingredients bar two (white flour and sugar) in the kitchen are from Ireland with most of them sourced from the west of the country. Traditional techniques of salting, pickling, curing and fermentation reflect the kitchen’s pursuit of innovation. Seaweed foraged off the coast of Co Galway plays a major role in the dishes.
The restaurant’s twelve-year journey to date has seen many Irish and international culinary stars participate in Chef Swap at Aniar, where prestigious chefs not only cook and collaborate with JP McMahon but also visit local producers and experience the very best of Irish produce. The restaurant’s ethos has also spawned the launch of The Aniar Cookery School which offers cooking courses for adults and children.
Signed copies of An Alphabet of Aniar: Notes for a New Irish Cuisine by JP McMahon, are available now, €25, from www.aniarrestaurant.ie