Belfast Telegraph

All the best: Chef Ian Orr on his favourite things


By Kerry McKittrick

The 34-year-old is chef patron of the award-winning Browns Bonds Hill Group. He will be realising a dream this Saturday when he appears on BBC One's Saturday Kitchen. Ian lives in Londonderry with his wife, Jennifer, and their children, Oliver (8) and three-year-old Emily.

My best moment

The first day of business at the Bond's Hill restaurant with my business partner, Marcus. We've been in business now for nine years. We're really amazed by what we have achieved, but we don't take it for granted and never take the foot off the pedal. We have a great team behind us to make the magic happen.

My best song

Has to be Coldplay's Fix You. I love the song and the lyrics. It's a real favourite of mine.

My best way to relax

Cooking. I love testing out new menus at home. I've just been testing the menus for Saturday Kitchen. That's different because it's at home and I can potter about as much as I like and can get the kids involved.

My best advice

Everyone says it, but I really believe in taking every day as it comes. Those words of wisdom were given to me by my dad, and it has stood the test of time. Being in business isn't easy, so you really do need to take every day as it comes. Every day is a new day too... I've heard that a few times as well.

My best job

I've never done anything other than be a chef, but I actually started off working in a chippy. I would go down to Benone caravan park back in the day, knock on all the doors and then offer to go to the chippy for them. The guy from the chippy would give me a free bag of chips for all of the business, and eventually he offered me a job. I found I was passionate about cooking a chicken burger or a nice fillet of fish.

My best gift

The first time Jennifer got me Coldplay tickets when they played in Belfast about 10 years ago. It's not easy getting tickets, and seeing them live was just great.

My best film

That would have to be the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Back in the day, when Jen and I were dating, we went to see them all in the cinema and they were good fun. I like films with a lot of action and big plots. I love all the comic book and superhero movies.

My best achievement

Opening Ardtara Country House with my business partner. It's a nine-bedroom hotel. We stumbled across the building about three years ago. It was a little early for us, so we were a bit nervous about the venture, but now it's up and running, I love the place.

My best buy

A Thermomix. It's very like a high-tech blender that chefs all use in their kitchens. It's designed for the home cook, and you cook everything from a custard to a bolognese with it. When Emily was born, I told Jennifer that she needed the best. You put something in it, set the time and when you come back you have soup, semolina or whatever it is that you want.

My best book

The River Cafe Blue Book. It's a classic and one that I've returned to time and again. It has the classic recipes for things like lemon tart or salsa verde, so it's a great reference book to keep going back to.

Belfast Telegraph


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