New Recipe: Mark Moriarty on TikTok, viral food trends and his inspirations

Cooking has been one of our main comforts in the last year, with more of us stepping into the kitchen and becoming experts on those low-fuss meals we can all throw together in times of stress. 

But maybe you’re longing for some new challenges, new recipes to try and new flavours to play with? Just in time, Mark Moriarty is back with a new season of Cook-In, with brand new recipes to try out. 

Mark will share easy to follow recipes, focusing on making the most of those kitchen staples that we all have in the cupboard and fridge. 

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We caught up with the renowned chef on what we can expect from the show, his thoughts on viral food trends and what he’s itching to serve up to friends and family once restrictions lift. 

So you’re back for another season, congratulations! What can we expect from Cook-In this year? 
All the episodes this year are themed, with a mix of recipes in each, from very simple staples to some that push the boat out a little further. So we have episodes on meat, fish, pasta, bread, brunch, and even a whole one dedicated to potatoes!

I am hoping there’s going to be something for everyone, and some tips that people can add to the dishes when they’re cooking their own, you’ll recognise most of the dishes already.

Do you feel the pandemic gave people a new appreciation for food and cooking? If so, why?
Definitely, we all know the negatives of the last year, but as someone who works in restaurants and with food there have been a few positives. I think we’ve all been more involved with food over the past 12 months, in a way we never had before: we’re cooking more, getting more adventurous, looking for more inspiration and hopefully demanding more quality.

From the restaurant point of view, I think everyone’s realised what a big part of our lives they are, while they’ve been closed, we are really looking forward to serving people again.

Did your own cooking style or eating habits change during the year?
Yeah, very much so. I’ve cooked at home more than at any other point in life. A lot of one pot wonders with big flavours and minimal washing up! Also trying to keep an eye on budgets, meal planning and not spending too much.

A lot of the recipes in the show have come out of the last year, cooking food for family in a home kitchen, with a few simple cheffy tricks. I love classic midweek dinners like bacon and cabbage and spaghetti bolognese, so they’re all in the new series.

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Where do you get inspiration from for dishes these days?
Sometimes it’s hard, because you’re not in work at the moment, talking about food all day, every day. I just design recipes around what I would love to eat, and what will make people think: “Oh yes, I want to eat that now’.

There’s a recipe in the series for garlic bread, but I’ve tried to make it the most delicious one imaginable so I stuffed a quick brioche dough with garlic and parmesan butter balls, baked it in a loaf tin and brushed it with nutty brown butter, then sprinkled it with sea salt. I put a step by step on my Instagram while I was testing it and people loved it.

I’ve been so inspired by food TikTok and the amount of quick and simple recipes there, what do you make of how people are documenting their foodie journeys online? 
I think it’s great, anything that drives interest in food, quality ingredients and restaurants is good for everyone in the industry. I’m just getting to grips with Instagram and haven’t tackled TikTok yet, sounds like I need to get on it.

It proves there’s a demand for simple, quick recipes that people can see from start to finish in 30 seconds. The recipes in the show are a little bit longer but hopefully people will enjoy watching the four recipes we’ve packed into half an hour!

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We’ve seen so many dishes go viral this year from banana bread to cloud bread and more. Did you try your hand at any of them?
We had banana bread in season one. I’ve seen hundreds of beef wellingtons doing the rounds over the last six months so I’m giving that a go in the dining in episode of this season.

Dinner parties, BBQs and the like are on hold for the meantime. What dishes are you most looking forward to sharing with friends and family once things go back to normal?
They’re on hold, but we are getting closer every day, it’s the simple things in life now. I’m looking forward to visiting my mother for a roast lamb dinner, with spuds covered in butter and salt. And a proper pint of Guinness. That’s the light at the end of my tunnel.

Watch Cook-In on Wednesdays at 8:30pm on RTÉ One. 




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