The 43-year-old is a chef and director of Balloo Inns, which runs The Parson’s Nose, Hillsborough, Balloo House, Killinchy and The Poacher’s Pocket in Lisbane. He lives in Lisbane and has a daughter, Jessica (16).
My best moment
That has to be when Jessica was born — nothing has ever come close to holding her in my arms for the first time.
My best song
I have two, I particularly like the lyrics of The River by Bruce Springsteen. The other is Villagers’ Nothing Arrived. That one has been on every playlist I’ve made since I’ve downloaded it — it’s got a great beat and is good for running.
My best way to relax
I’ve been trying different things over the last year and one thing I’ve been doing is yoga. Two years ago, I would have scoffed at all that hippie stuff, but now I love that you have to focus on the here and now. It’s also helped mye physically — I used to have knots in my legs and arms and the yoga has made that feel much better.
My best job
It’s what I do now — I love feeding people. We have Balloo House, The Parson’s Nose and Poacher’s Pocket. I never would have thought I would come this far — I came from the New Lodge Road in Belfast. I think a lot of it is due to my business partners and the team we have around us. The whole team is what makes the company do well.
My best advice
That changed when I hit 40 — it was just to learn to relax and be in the moment, taking each day as it comes. I think it all started when I got that yoga mat for my birthday.
My best gift
Last Father’s Day, Jessica gave me a bedside table that she had recycled herself. She’d painted it and covered it in photos of the two of us together. If the house was on fire and I had rescued Jessica and my passport, it would be the next thing I would save.
My best achievement
Just the fact that we have three well-recognised, good pubs in Northern Ireland and that we’re able to employ over 100 people.
My best book
I read Marco Pierre White’s book White Heat when I was about 18 and it had just come out. That was the book that really got me excited about food and cooking. I thought he was amazing. I’m also a fan of anything by Terry Pratchett.
My best film
I seem to like prison movies, so The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and The Godfather are all up there. I love to stick a film on in the evenings.
My best buy
As I get older, my eyes have been getting worse and it was harder and harder to see my iPhone, so I bought myself an iPad. It’s really made a difference.