Neven Maguire: From Vera’s flapjacks to worldwide fame

AT the age of 46, Neven Maguire has achieved it all.
An award winning chef in Ireland, the UK, Europe and afar, a business proprietor and a TV and media personality around the world.
With the glitz and the glamour already on the shelf in MacNean House, and a reputation to last a lifetime, what makes the Blackion chef tick on a daily basis?
“Something that I love is cooking and food and I have a great variety from doing the TV and the restaurant and the schools or writing books, you meet great people,” reflects Maguire.
“It is all about cooking together because, for me, it is the greatest skill that you can give our kids and that is to be able to cook. When they are at school, when they are doing their GAA or their soccer, or their dancing. It is the greatest thing that we can give them, to be able to cook.”
From the age of eight, Neven always knew that a career in cooking was for him. His parents, Joe and Vera, established the MacNean House restaurant in Blacklion in 1969, a business which he would take over in 2001.
Neven would join his parents and older siblings in the hotel at the age of 12, but it was watching and helping his mother bake in their own home kitchen, which inspired his love of food.
“It was baking, baking with my mother, my mother Vera,” reminisces Neven.
“She was a great influence on my career. I would have made flapjacks, shortbread, apple tart, made a mess in the kitchen, and I am still doing that. I loved being with her and she taught me so much about cooking and running a restaurant and treating your staff good and she was a really fantastic influence on my life.”
After completing his Junior Cert in Manorhamilton, Maguire undertook a catering degree at Fermanagh College, a place where he learned the basics of cooking and spent “some of the best years of my life”.

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