The Waterford-based chef talks about trusting your gut and swapping Dublin for Tramore

Where does your interest in food come from? Was it an important aspect of family life growing up?
I was lucky to grow up in a household where we ate freshly cooked meals prepared with fresh ingredients on a daily basis. Although I was born and raised in London my family are from Nigeria, so I’ve always appreciated the connection between food, memories, history and emotions. That being said, my interest in food and cooking was kickstarted when Peter and I started dating 12 years ago.

You’re a ‘self-taught’ chef. When did you realise that cooking was something you were good at?
Though I resisted, as many adolescents would, I was expected to help out in the kitchen when food was being cooked from an early age. Helping out involved simple things such as getting ingredients from the fridge or pantry. It was also how my family tried to teach me Yoruba. Being self-taught, I still have a lot to learn but suppose I realised that I could become good at cooking when I and other people were enjoying food that I had cooked.

You were also a secondary school teacher. Do you miss teaching?
I taught Sociology to 14-19 year olds and I loved it. It was a hugely enjoyable and formative experience but it wasn’t something I wanted to do forever.

What lessons did you learn from running the Fish Shop restaurants in Dublin? Were you able to apply them to the Beach House?
So many lessons but probably number one is to trust your gut and make time to listen to your inner voice.

Did it take long to find a premises in Tramore?
Moving to Tramore was something that we saw in our future but we weren’t actively “looking”. It all just came together at the right time.

How long did you manage to open the Beach House before closing due to Covid?
Four days in March and then three months from July to September.

Did you consider doing takeaways?
From March until July we stayed closed and just worked on the premises. We didn’t want to introduce the restaurant with takeaway. We were able to operate as a restaurant from July to September, before restrictions came in again. We did takeaway from September until December.

How do you find Tramore? Big change from Dublin?
I couldn’t compare our lives pre and during Covid just yet. That being said, we have appreciated being so close to the sea at this time.

What should a customer expect from dining at the Beach House?
Lovely ingredients, prepared, cooked and served with love.

What are your ambitions for the Beach House?
To still be here in 20 years’ time.

What’s your favourite dish?
Spaghetti and tomato sauce or joll of rice.

How are you spending lockdown?
Planning and dreaming.