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Here’s yet another great speech from this year’s MAD Symposium as the food writer and television presenter Darina Allen takes to the stage to tell the story of the the ‘renowned matriarch of Modern Irish cuisine’ - her mother-in-law - Myrtle Allen.
Myrtle Allen was a self taught chef who managed to grow one of the most exciting restaurants in Ireland when she opened the The Yeats Room in Ballymaloe House, County Cork.
Darina is also joined on stage by her daughter-in-law Rachel Allen - a food writer and television presenter - as she talks about the importance of passing on skills.
The entire Allen family become an example of this as you see how what Myrtle started with her husband Ivan Allen - who grew the produce for the restaurant - became this huge web of knowledge that has passed on through each Allen generation, each time growing in strength.
Darina talks about some of the important lessons she was taught by Myrtle and tells the story of how the restaurant has evolved, now operating a cooking school at Ballymaloe House where this collective knowledge is now passed on to young culinary students - she is applauded when she says that she wouldn’t allow any chef in the kitchen until they had spent at least a year on farming and gardens.