Myrtle Allen

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Myrtle Allen
Born Myrtle Hill
1924
Tivoli, Cork, County Cork, Ireland
Residence Shanagarry, County Cork
Nationality Irish
Occupation Chef
Employer Self-employed
Known for Michelin starred Ballymaloe House
Religion Quaker[1]
Spouse(s) Ivan Allen; six children[2][3]
Kinoith

Myrtle Allen (born 1924, Tivoli, Cork, County Cork), called the "renowned matriarch of Modern Irish cuisine,"[4] "the leading light of modern-day Irish cooking,"[5] and "as important to her country's cuisine as Alice Waters was to America's." [5] is an Irish Michelin star winning head chef and co-owner of the restaurant The Yeats Room of Ballymaloe House in Shanagarry, County Cork. Besides her cooking duties, she has also been a writer, hotelier and teacher.

In 1943, Myrtle Hill married Ivan Allen, a vegetable grower, who was working at the farm Kinoith in Shanagarry. In 1947[2] the couple bought Ballymaloe House and the surrounding farm. Ivan managed the fruit- and vegetable farm and worked on Kinoith, while Myrtle took care of the children and the manor.[6] Later, in 1958, Ivan Allen inherited Kinoith from Wilson Strangman, the deceased owner.

With her husband a successful grower of fruit and vegetables, Myrtle had an abundance of fresh products in her kitchen. Under the guidance of her husband, an avid gourmet, she learned to cook by taking cooking courses at the School of Commerce and self-study. By 1962, she was cookery correspondent with the Irish Farmers Journal. Originally the Irish Farmers Journal was a publication of Macra na Feirme. Myrtle Allen was very active in this young farmers organisation, eventually becoming "Vice President for the Munster Region" of the "National Council" of Macra na Feirme in 1959. A bid for the presidency in 1963 was unsuccessful.[7]

In 1964, Myrtle decided to start a restaurant in her own dining room dubbed The Yeats Room.[5] Her philosophy of using local artisanal ingredients and changing her menu daily to reflect the best offerings of the season was "revolutionary at the time."[4] Later she changed a few unused rooms into rooms for a guesthouse, which grew into the hotel Ballymaloe is today. By the 1960s she and her sous-chef, Darina O'Connell, started giving courses in cooking. Later Darina, by then married to Myrtle's son Tim Allen, moved the cookery classes to Kinoith under the name of Ballymaloe Cookery School.

In 1986 Myrtle Allen was part of founding Euro-toques International and founder of Euro-toques Ireland. Euro-toques is an organisation of professional cooks promoting and protecting Europe's culinary heritage, and defending the quality of local and carefully cooked food.[8] She served as president of the international body from 1994 thru 1997.[9]

Myrtle Allen's husband Ivan died in 1998.

In 2013 Myrtle Allen was the subject of a doumentary,[10] Myrtle Allen: A Life in Food, which aired on RTÉ Television.[11]

Awards[edit]

  • 1975–1980: one Michelin star[12]
  • 1975–1981, 1983–1984 and 1987–1988: one star in the Egon Ronay Guide[13]
  • 1981–1994: Red M awarded by the Michelin Guide[14]
  • 1984: Cesar Award in the Good Hotel Guide
  • 1988: Ballymaloe House included in the Courvoisier book of best hotels
  • 1990: the Ackerman Martell Guide the black four-leaved clover for excellence in all aspects of the hotel and restaurant business
  • 1991: Ballymaloe House included in Harpers and Queen 'The one hundred Best Hotels in the World'
  • 2000: Degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa – awarded by the University College Cork[15]
  • 2011: Taste Icon award – presented by Taste of Dublin[16]
  • 2011: Lifetime Achievement Award – Women and Agriculture Awards[17]
  • 2014: Lifetime Achievement Award from the Irish Food Writers' Guild [18]

Books[edit]

  • The Ballymaloe cook book; 1984[19]
  • Myrtle Allen's Cooking at Ballymaloe House; 1990[20]

External Links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ This year the penny has dropped... bling is over
  2. ^ a b Schultz, Patricia (2003). 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Workman Publishing Company. pp. 70–71. ISBN 0-7611-6102-3. 
  3. ^ Family
  4. ^ a b McNamee, Joe. "Matriarch of Ballymaloe celebrates her 90th birthday". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Andrews, Colman. "Heart and Hearth". Saveur Magazine. Retrieved 11 May 2014. 
  6. ^ The emergence, development and influence of French Haute Cuisine on public dining in Dublin restaurants 1900–2000: an oral history. Thesis DIT by Mairtin Mac Con Iomaire, 2009. 3 downloadable volumes.. Part 2, pp. 459–462
  7. ^ A voice for the country – 50 years of Macra na Feirme by Jim Mileym pp. 191–2 (1994)
  8. ^ About Euro-Toques
  9. ^ "History". Euro-Toques. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  10. ^ Hare, David. "Myrtle Allen: A Life in Food". RTE Television. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  11. ^ "Myrtle Allen: A Life in Food". RTE Television. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  12. ^ Michelin Online
  13. ^ The emergence, development and influence of French Haute Cuisine on public dining in Dublin restaurants 1900–2000: an oral history. Thesis DIT by Mairtin Mac Con Iomaire, 2009. 3 downloadable volumes.. Part 2, p. 348
  14. ^ The emergence, development and influence of French Haute Cuisine on public dining in Dublin restaurants 1900–2000: an oral history. Thesis DIT by Mairtin Mac Con Iomaire, 2009. 3 downloadable volumes.. Part 2, p. 345
  15. ^ National University of Ireland
  16. ^ Championing Irish food
  17. ^ "Food entrepreneurs take top spots at Women and Agriculture Awards". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  18. ^ "Myrtle Allen - Lifetime Achievement Award". Irish Food Writers' Guild. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  19. ^ http://www.worldcat.org/title/ballymaloe-cook-book/oclc/60079122&referer=brief_results WorldCat
  20. ^ WorldCat