Talking meat, BBQ and Holy Smoke with chef John Relihan

Chef John Relihan

Irish chef John Relihan seems most happy when surrounded by swirling smoke drifting up form a shoulder of lamb or rack of ribs cooking on the BBQ. One of the original apprentices of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant in London and a top chef at Jamie’s Barbacoa place in the City of London, John is now set to open his own restaurant in the southern Ireland city of Cork this April.

St Patrick's Day celebrations in Trafalgar Square, London
St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Trafalgar Square, London

We caught up with John at the St Patrick’s Day parade in London’s Trafalgar Square. He was sharing a stand with Matt Williams of the Oxford Charcoal company and Debs Ross, who is creating a stir with Turf Sauce based on an original recipe, sweet and tangy sauce and flavoured made with Irish Stout.

Cork, the southern Irish city where John Relihan will open his first restaurant in April 2016
Cork, the southern Irish city where John Relihan will open his first restaurant in April 2016

The clue in the cooking is in the name of his first independent restaurant, Holy Smoke. John says it’s “quite a special place. We have a massive grill … a beautiful smoker, and of course we using Matt’s charcoal. The concept is very simple. There’s no starters, just meat on a tray, some beautiful sides, a couple of simple desserts … and it’s well, just absolutely stunning really.”

John and his brigade at the celebrations
John and his brigade at the celebrations

In this video we hear from John about his love of food and wish him and his team good luck with the opening of Holy Smoke!

Follow John on Twitter … @johnrelihan

Bruce McMichael

Food writing, discovering food stories, meeting producers, chefs and food enthusiasts are all part of desire to inspire, inform my readers and fellow food lovers. I am a freelance writer, journalist and published author focusing on the international world of food and drink, culture and travel. In 2019 I graduated from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy with a Masters in Food Culture, Communication and Marketing. I am now a visiting Professor at the university teaching Food & Drink Writing. Based in London I travel widely, particularly across western Europe. I have chaired many conferences and meetings, spoken at conferences and events and often appear on radio and TV talking most about food, the business of food and being an entrepreneur. In 2017 I won an episode of the ITV (the UK-based national television channel) cooking competition show, 'Gordon Ramsay's Culinary Genius'. I took my children on holiday to Sicily with the prize money. As an experienced farmers' market manager and operator of a small marmalade/ preserves company, I am very familiar with the issues surrounding local food, farming, enterprise and the environment.

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