12 Things You Didn't Know About Donal Skehan
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First Dish He Made on His Own: Sweet Treats
"I had this really cool, old kids' book. And it was a kids' cookery book, and so I used to just cook my way through that. So it was probably a pastry. As far as I remember it was either a pastry or pancakes, because those were the two things."
His Favorite TV Shows: Food Network and Beyond
"I am in love with Ina Garten, I love Barefoot Contessa and I actually love a lot of the traditional cooking shows. So, you know, for us there are a lot of great chefs in Ireland and in the U.K., but I love the Americans as well, and Ina Garten is like classic American cooking, so I love her. And I absolutely love House of Cards. I’m a big lover of the kind of American crime series and things like that. Bloodline I’ve been watching on Netflix. And of course lots of Food Network shows as well."
His Favorite Burger Topping: Classic Combo
"Blue cheese and bacon."
His Favorite Vacation Spot: Can’t Pick Just One
"I wish I had a better answer for this, because my big thing is I travel all over the world, so every place is new, so I try not to go back to the same places. But my wife is Swedish, so we tend to take our summer vacations on the west coast of Sweden. So that tends to be the place we go to, but I absolutely love L.A."
His Guilty-Pleasure Food: A Family Favorite
"This is one that my brother and I used to make when we were kids. …It’s disgusting, it’s terrible and my mother would be disgusted with me for sharing it, but basically it’s potato waffles, fish…kind of like fish sticks, I guess...with lots of tomato ketchup. And basically you make a waffle fish finger sandwich."
His Happy Place: Think Simple
"My happy place is homemade dinner sitting with friends and family and eating outdoors with my dog beside us, begging at the table."
One Dish He Orders Out and Doesn't Make at Home: Salt and Chili Prawns
"I am obsessed with salt and chili prawns."
His Favorite Food Cities to Visit: New York and Hanoi
"I absolutely love New York in the way that you can actually walk in certain areas to find different places, where[as] in L.A. it's quite spread out, so you’ve got to drive. …But Hanoi, in Vietnam, is just the most-incredible food city you will ever visit. Literally there is food on the streets all day long, and you will taste some of the best food you will ever come across."
Ingredient He Won't Eat: Licorice
"I absolutely hate licorice. Just hands down, I do not like it as a flavor. I love anise seed, I love fennel — you know, that kind of anise seed flavor. But just licorice, the actual thing, [I'm] just not on board with it."
One Last-Supper Must-Have: Think Sweet
"I do this blueberry-and-white chocolate cheesecake, which is just my go-to dessert. That and also sticky toffee pudding, which I don’t think is so American, but basically it’s a really moist cake pudding with dates in it, and you have it with a salted caramel sauce over the top. It’s just spectacular."
His Go-To Weeknight Dinner: International Flavors
"My wife and I tend to cook or tend to make a lot of salads, because generally when we eat out we go indulgent, so when we’re cooking at home we tend to go a lot lighter. So for me it sort of comes back to these Asian — I spent a lot of time in Vietnam and Thailand — so [I] tend to go back to those sort of flavors, so chicken breasts barbecued with nuoc cham dressing. …It tends to be something quite simple, but I’m all about the flavor, so I couldn’t just have a chicken in a salad; I need to have that dressing to make it more interesting. …And I guess often I do pad Thai as my favorite little quick fix."
His Favorite Late-Night Snack: Popcorn
"Buttered popcorn, salt — boom, done. Every time."
Learn More About Donal
Check out Food Network Star Kids headquarters to find out all about the competition led by Donal and fellow judge Tia Mowry.
More: Food Network Star Kids