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Me and my health: Kelan McMichael discusses his lifestyle

By Helen Carson

The 38-year-old is head chef and owner at the Bull & Ram restaurant in Ballynahinch. He lives in Killyleagh with his wife Hannah.

Q: Do you take regular exercise - and if so what?

A: I work out with a personal trainer three times a week where I use weights for strength and conditioning as well as some cardio for general fitness and stamina. Although I have to admit I have missed a few sessions recently as I have been so busy with the restaurant, I will definitely get back on track soon.

Q: What's the worst illness you have had?

A: I took bad pains in my side once having worked full-on in a restaurant for three days. I went to the A&E Department at the City Hospital, Belfast, where they discovered I had acute appendicitis so I was admitted and had surgery straight away. Sadly after the operation I contracted an MRSA infection and was off work for three months. That was one of the worst experiences for me.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: I love raw fish and eat quite a lot of sushi which is low in fat and rich in Omega 3s. Foraging is also one of my pastimes which means you eat seasonally, and I include fresh fish and vegetables in my diet, too. I don't eat breakfast as I am just not ready to eat in the morning.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: Too much fine red wine and, like many chefs, skipping meals or eating at the wrong time.

Q: Do you drink and/or smoke - if so, how much?

A: I don't smoke, but I love red wine and have just discovered Shortcross gin.

Q: Do you take any health supplements?

A: Because I work long hours in the kitchen, I often eat in an irregular way which means I miss out on some meal times. To make up for this I take a multivitamin daily. And, as I'm not a fan of eating breakfast, I substitute this with a protein shake when I get up in the morning.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: Having only opened Bull & Ram in June this year, I am very busy with training and recruiting new staff - so finding time to take out can be a challenge. There is a great team in place now, though, so Hannah and I headed off to New York last week to celebrate our wedding anniversary and recharge after a frantic few months.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: Years of shift work means I could sleep standing up. But I do need around a good eight hours every night - Hannah will vouch that I can get quite grumpy without my sleep.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: No - age is just a number.

Q: What is your go-to product/habit that keeps you feeling healthy?

A: Drinking water - which sounds very simple, but when you work in a kitchen you can become dehydrated with the heat. I make a big effort to drink lots of water and eat raw fish to offset this, though.

  • Award-winning chef Kelan McMichael, Bull and Ram ( in Ballynahinch, is one of four chefs taking part in the search for Northern Ireland's New Signature Dish. Visit for details

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