Food Is Life... With Vicki Notaro

Vicki's surname reflects her preference of almost everything; Italian. If you know her, and you've been very good, she'll make you her Sopranos-style baked ziti. 

What’s your favourite dish? 

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, so I've perfected my poached eggs on avocado toast with turkey bacon. I'm off eggs for a fortnight though to check if I'm intolerant to them, and I'm raging!

What’s your favourite cuisine? 

Oh god, I couldn't choose between Italian, Indian and Mexican. Maybe with a gun to my head I'd go for Italian, it's in my blood after all. 

Best place to grab breakfast in Ireland? 

Ashford Castle. They carve a ham right in front of you! 

Best place to grab lunch in Ireland?

Ciao Bella Roma - great pizza and pasta and they've a fantastic deal that includes wine, no brainer.

Best place to have dinner in Ireland?

Las Tapas De Lola is divine. 

Best place to get coffee in Ireland? 

Il Fornaio, Italian all the way. 

Best place to get a cocktail in Ireland? 

The best Old Fashioned I've ever had was in Kinara Kitchen in Ranelagh. 

Best shop/ supermarket to grab bits for a home-cooked dinner? 

My local Fresh in Smithfield is pretty great, but it has to be Fallon & Byrne

What’s your favourite meal to make at home? 

My Sopranos-style baked ziti but it's soooo bad for you, I only make it if someone has been VERY good. 

Who’s your favourite cook/ chef? 

Eh, William, obvs! Or the gorge Sunil Ghai of Pickle

Do you have a favourite recipe book? 

I'm trying to get in shape so I've been using The Body Coach's book, but Jamie's Italian is an old fave. 

Favourite restaurant you’ve ever been to & why…

Again, Ciao Bella Roma for sentimental reasons as well as the fantastic authentic Italian food. It's where my fiancé Joe and I go on special occasions, like anniversaries and the night we got engaged. 

What city, from your travels, has the best food?

This is like Sophie's Choice! A toss up between New York and New Orleans, but the latter might just edge it... 

What’s your favourite ingredient to use in cooking? 

Dublin Bay prawns. I only got in to shellfish a couple of years ago and now I'm obsessed. 

Best place (or website) to get gorge bits for the kitchen? 

I love the Designers At Debenhams stuff, especially Ben De Lisi's range  because it's bright, colourful and features lots of dogs. Plus it's totally cheap and cheerful. 

Favourite dessert? 

Tiramisu!

Favourite tipple?

Prosecco to start, Irish coffee to end and lots of Albariño in between. 

What six people would make up your dream dinner party? 

Kris Jenner, Celine Dion, Paul McCartney, Sarah Jessica Parker, Graham Norton and Barack Obama. I was going to put Kim Kardashian in but she'd be no craic so I went for her Ma instead. I'd have Bette Midler on the bench. 

What food/ ingredient do you detest? 

Coriander! Vile, fragrant stuff that tastes like perfume. 

Vicki is a freelance journalist who writes about a range of delicious things.