21 September 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By Veronica Corr
“A dollop of practice, an ounce of precision and a pound of passion…” – that’s Neven Maguire’s recipe for success. Cavan’s own celebrity chef packed out the Convent Hall last Thursday night as he hosted a fundraising cookery demonstration in aid of St. Louis Secondary School, Carrickmacross.
Gerry Shankey, Principal of St. Louis Secondary School, who took part in the demonstration himself, spoke to The Northern Standard on the night about how the whole thing came about.
He explained that the Parents Council had put their heads together in terms of fundraising, because money is always scarce for voluntary secondary schools.
Mr. Shankey wanted to acknowledge the contribution of one of the parents David O’Rourke, who was not only a hugely entertaining MC on the night, but was also instrumental in setting the event up.
“Neven is such a huge draw, we could have sold this hall out many times over. We put as many people in here as we felt it was safe to. There’s been a great atmosphere and buzz in here since the start of the evening. Things are going very well,” Mr. Shankey commented, before adding:
“I would like to thank Flogas and O’Rourke Fuels, because they are the sponsors for the evening. Every penny that was spent on tickets, which were €20 each, went directly in to the school, so from our point of view, that’s been absolutely wonderful.”
Mr. Shankey also wished to acknowledge O’Gorman’s SuperValu who provided everybody with a glass of wine and brought Elaine down from Findlater’s to talk about what tipples would suit Neven’s menu best.
The principal also extended thanks to the hard-working Parents Council; St. Louis Secondary School staff; John Martin, Neven’s Event Manager; Brian McDermott, who assisted Neven on stage; Neven, who made the occasion as special as it turned out to be; Soundman Vincent Macklin from Panic Hire, a company with which the school has enjoyed a long association; The Northern Standard for its coverage of the schools activities, and last but not least the audience:
“I would like to thank so many people for coming out, I know at this particular time, the start of September, is not an ideal time for having something like this, because parents have so many other back to school expenses – books, uniforms shoes and so on.
“It ‘s been so gratifying that people, and so many of our parents, have dug deep in their pockets to find the money to buy the ticket, to come along and support their school. I’m delighted with the turnout, it’s been really super.”
When asked if the proceeds of the evening had been earmarked for a specific project, the school principal said that one of the things they were working on was locker facilities for all students, adding that there lots of little projects in the pipeline, and it’s a question of prioritising. Needless to say though, the money will be put to very good use.
The school had a dessert cook-off amongst its Home Economics students and Shauna Finlay and Maria Duffy were the Home Economics teachers charged with the delicious task of judging the preliminary stages!
Hayley Jones and Sarah Brady emerged the victors, who presented their winning desserts to Neven and assisted him on the night. Their winning recipes are available on the school’s website.
Mr. Shankey went on to explain: “Neven has already graciously offered Hayley and Sarah the chance to go down to MacNean Restaurant to work with him there for a week, to gain some hands-on experience.
“It’s a super opportunity and he hasn’t offered it just to them, any of our TY students who have genuine ambitions in the area of becoming chefs can avail.
“He is very supportive of schools generally and of TY students who would like to see whether a life as a chef is for them. It gives them a great opportunity in a very high class establishment.”
At the end of the demonstration Neven echoed the thanks of the principal and invited the audience to come to Blacklion – but not all at once!
“Experts, be they great sportsmen, musicians, actors – the one thing they have in common is that they make it look easy.
“That is a reflection on their tremendous skill, talent and the application that they bring to their work. You have all those things in spades and that’s what makes you what you are, such a wonderful chef,” Principal Gerry Shankey said addressing Neven directly as the evening was coming to a close.
Neven then received a presentation from St. Louis Secondary School’s Head Girl, Hilda Merrin, of a framed piece of Carrickmacross Lace created by Angela Kent as a token of the school’s appreciation.
Parents Council Chairman Jim Hand then conducted the raffle which included a night’s B&B and evening meal in MacNean House and Restaurant, Blacklion and the meal Neven cooked on the night.
Neven also performed a book signing of Country Living Volume Two for his legions of …

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