Neven’s got it cooked when it comes to Christmas

Neven Maguire with Joan Foster

Neven Maguire with Joan Foster

Christmas is all about family, according to one of Ireland’s top chefs.

Television personality chef Neven Maguire who has lived in Blacklion all his life believes that Christmas is a special time and should be appreciated.


This year he will stick to tradition and entertain his family at MacNean Restaurant in Blacklion.

“Christmas has always been about food and about family. I’ve always cooked for my family,  I just love it”.

With so much stress in the build-up to Christmas this experienced ‘man in the kitchen’ gives just one word of advice. Preparation!

“I’m well organised and I think that is the secret and enjoy the whole day yourself. People get very stressed out. It is only one day of the year and I think the more organised you are the more you’ll enjoy it.”

“For me Santa is a big thing in our house. It’s a special time of year that we spend a bit of time with our family and friends.

I think everyone needs that.

It’s a hectic build up to it, but we take four or five days off at Christmas which is great.


He recalls his early childhood in Blacklion as being magical.

“They are just magical memories and I want to continue that with my family,” he stressed.

He wants his children, twins, Lucia and Connor, to have similar experiences.

He went on, “Mum and dad, having a family of nine, we might have got to see Santa maybe in Enniskillen and Christmas was all about just having time with family and enjoying the simple things.

“In those days we were delighted to get one or two small things from Santa because we had nine in the family, but I used to scratch my head when I met Santa as a child because he kept spelling my name wrong all the time.

He spelled it Nevin and I couldn’t understand it.”
He says Christmas can often be a sad time, missing loved ones.

“We always go to mass on Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning call to mum and dad’s grave.

“It’s a sad time in a way,” he said. “When you think of your parents and different people that aren’t there and you just say a little prayer for them.

“But what really gives you a good lift is the twins and Santa for them.

It’s the whole excitement for children. Children, food and family and that’s it,” he said.

His last piece of advice is do out your list and plan your timetable.

Lots of things could be made ahead. Be organised and enjoy the whole day with your family. It’s only one day of the year, so don’t get too stressed out and enjoy the whole experience.

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