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Jarek's Kitchen

Jarek's Kitchen

Monday 03 June 2013

'My mother is a chef, which is how I learned to cook, I got my passion for food from her," explained Jarek Baryga of Jarek's Kitchen.

Certainly, his food was disappearing very rapidly from his chirpy red and yellow Tapas stall at Dun Laoghaire Market on the Sunday of my visit. I had just driven up from Cork so was ready and able for something tasty and delicious.

"Can I have a look in the pot?" asked one man, as Jarek more than willingly scooped up a big ladle of chorizo and chickpea stew, which was every bit as good as it looked, rich, chunky and tomatoey with a good hit of paprika. You could have this in a medium or large size at €4.50 or €5.50. It was late afternoon and hot favourites, prawns with chilli and garlic, were already sold out as were the beef and chorizo meatballs.

"We have squid," Jarek said, as he chopped up delicious strips of the fresh cephalopod, and dropped it in the deep fryer and dished it up in a couple of minutes with piping hot patatas bravas and aioli. The squid was divine; light, tender and crispy. Dishes cost from €4 to €4.50 and you could add a fried egg to the patatas for €1. However, this was but a taste of what Jarek can do with food.

Jarek Baryga came to Ireland in 2004 and has worked in the hospitality industry since then.

"I came to Ireland when I was 27 because I wanted to change my life. I am from west Poland and I was bored of life in a big factory and life in a small town. I started out here as kitchen porter but worked my way up. I attended Dublin Cookery School to gain more experience and took part in Masterchef in 2011 which pointed me in the right direction and gave me confidence to cook professionally, which is how Jarek's Kitchen began," Jarek explained.

He is concentrating now on catering for private parties, birthdays, communions, dinner parties and so on, and has an extensive menu of dishes from which to choose. Think maybe of kicking off with pan-fried scallops with cauliflower puree and date dressing, or shallot tarte tatin with mixed salad, and following up with spiced duck breast with butternut squash gremolata, new potatoes and fig sauce, or maybe roast monkfish Bourguignon with mash and braised leeks – just four of many on Jarek's list.

What a lovely way to entertain. You choose the dishes, he will buy all the ingredients, come to your house, "cook all the canapes, starters and main courses, and do all the washing up while you sip wine and enjoy a delicious dessert".

As well as doing private catering, Jarek does Cherrywood Market on Wednesday at lunchtime, Marlay Park on Saturday and the People's Park in Dun Laoghaire on Sundays.

Apart from changing his career by coming to Ireland, Jarek is now married to Dun Laoghaire woman Sarah, and they have two beautiful daughters, five-year-old Emily and Olivia, nine months.