Member Spotlight – Mary Byrne, Goodness! Kitchen

I lived in London for many years, where I was involved in several community food projects including a collectively-run vegetarian & vegan café and a local plant-based community kitchen. London has such a vibrant food scene and is so multicultural and so, when I finally moved back home in 2019, I really wanted to recreate similar initiatives in my home city! 

I set up Goodness! Kitchen with the aim of running hands-on cooking workshops, making healthy food from scratch using wholesome ingredients and a practical approach. The idea was to empower people to take control of their health by knowing exactly what you put into your body, learn to create some tantalising dishes with simple ingredients and introduce participants to different types of ingredients from around the world.

I love the idea of combining a few simple cupboard essentials to make something delicious and I think people find it empowering to make something themselves that they would usually buy in a pack or jar – like a creamy hummus or your very own homemade mayonnaise. 

In February 2020, just before the first Covid lockdown, I ran my first in-person event with a group of participants at St. Andrew’s Community Centre in Rialto, where we cooked a scrumptious Mexican meal together and at the end sat down to enjoy the food we prepared together. We had such good fun and I received some very positive feedback from participants. Of course, very soon after that everything changed and getting together in an enclosed space to prepare and share a meal together was only something I could dream of doing! 

During the first lockdown I started running online workshops, which turned out to a really positive experience and a fantastic way for me to connect with people and, despite the frustration of not being able to run events in person, I’ve been blown away by people’s enthusiasm for cooking along online! 

The workshops I run are suitable for adults, families and children and explore different themes and types of cuisines including Mexican, Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern, Indian, Picnics and BBQs, to name a few, and can all be adapted to suit dietary requirements.

I moved to Inchicore 6 months ago and soon became a Co-op regular and member! Despite having lived away from Ireland for years, I knew about the Co-op since when it was in New Market Square and actually attended an event there some years back. I love the feeling of community that the Co-op has and the sense of being part of something bigger. Of course, as a foodie, I can’t get enough of the superb fresh fruit and veg, the likes of which you just don’t get in your average store! Have you tried those amazing (sulphur-free) dried apricots, the sweet blood oranges or compared the taste of those juicy red peppers to the ones from your local supermarket? Apart from knowing that I’m supporting a local, sustainable and ethical business, it’s the quality of the food at the Co-op that keeps me coming back every week! 

If you missed Mary’s recent Mediterranean Cook Along event you can watch the recording of it here. In it she taught us to make;

  • Spanish Chickpea Stew   the heavenly flavours of tomatoes and spices combine in this hearty dish
  • Roasted Red Peppers   a wonderful accompaniment to your main
  • Olive Tapenade   an Italian-inspired appetiser or a flavourful addition to any Mediterranean meal
  • Greek Dakos   the perfect base for your tapenade with tomatoes, herbs and feta

You can support Mary through her social media links below, where she regularly posts recipes and events. 

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