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Meet Laoise Casey: Dublin-born professional chef, lunch box recipe creator & our new guest blogger | Box Appetit

| by Drew Middleton

laoise casey, lunch box, box appetit

From a humble HR manager in Dublin to hotshot chef de partie and food writer in London, Laoise Casey has a culinary tale that's jam packed with delicious dreams and amazing experiences.

We sat down with her to chat fussy childhood eating, Irish comfort food, kitchen nightmares and cooking à la carte for Jamie Oliver.

A photo posted by Laoise (@laoisecooks) on

Hi Laoise. We’re very delighted to be working with you. Tell us about yourself and what you’ll be doing for our readers…

I’m very excited to be here. I’m from Dundrum, a town just outside the center of Dublin in Ireland. I’ve gone from a HR manager of 7 years to a London-based professional chef, food writer and newspaper columnist.

I fell in love with Box Appetit so I can’t wait to share my passion for food, lunch box ideas, event-themed recipes and kitchen hacks with everyone!

How would you describe your experiences with food growing up?

I was a really fussy child. When I was 5, my mum used to make Spaghetti Bolognese but I would only eat it if she put the spaghetti and bolognese into separate bowls.

I was picky with my lunch boxes too. I’d have no treats, eat only the sandwich fillings and throw away the rye bread, but I did love animal crackers. I was a real brat.

laoise casey, lunch box, box appetit

Do you have any favourite traditional Irish meals or comfort food?

One of my favourite things is my dad’s mashed potato. He used to make it so badly with raw onions. But I love cooking really simple nice stews, roast chicken, roast potatoes - because I’m Irish, everything has to include “POTATOES!”

My granny was the best cook in the family though. My mum always says the cooking gene skipped a generation. She always complains she can’t cook (but she can!).

A photo posted by Laoise (@laoisecooks) on

What appeals to you about the hustle and bustle of working in professional kitchens?

I never planned to be a restaurant chef. I moved to London and enrolled into Leiths School of Food & Wine but I needed to get restaurant experience.

I did a stage at L’Autre Pied in Marylebone with an Irish chef. On my first day I went in at 8am, left at midnight and all I did was chop up four crates of fennel. I was like “you b****ds” as my hands and fingers were killing me.

laoise casey

What’s your idea of a good service?

A good service is when everything works perfectly; the vegetables are prepared, mise en place is ready, your order checks are spaced out and everyone works together. There’s a crazy buzz which I can’t describe.

… and a bad service?

If everything’s going wrong and it’s too busy, you just want to cry and go home. There’s nothing worse than the sound of a frantic check machine. Big parties are a guaranteed nightmare and bad communication between the front and back of house makes you feel messy and sloppy.

But I’m an adrenaline junkie so I’m pumped during a hectic shift.

Malt sourdough bread practice @thedairyclapham At The Deli kitchen

A video posted by Laoise (@laoisecooks) on

What breaks your sweat the most?

I’m really organised but if I’m unprepared before the lunch or dinner services, I hate that. There’s a term in kitchens called ‘spinning out’ when you physically start turning around. Some chefs thrive on that, but I like to be more relaxed.

A photo posted by Laoise (@laoisecooks) on

Have you met or cooked for any other familiar famous chefs?

A month ago Jamie Oliver came into Paradise Garage. He was lovely and put up a picture on his Instagram saying he loved our à la carte tasting menu, which was a big deal for us in the kitchen.

I’ve also interviewed chefs I’ve admired for years like Michel Roux Jr and Alain Ducasse. Gordon Ramsay, Raymond Blanc and René Redzepi have all visited The Dairy too. We have extra chefs on and abandon all other checks when they order. We’ve had seven chefs on one plate of food before.

laoise casey, lunch box, box appetit

Have you travelled anywhere unique or exotic? Any local dishes take your fancy?

I spent a month travelling around Sri Lanka. They eat super spicy dishes. My favourite delicacy were mini stuffed open pancakes with an egg in the bottom called ‘hoppers’.

When you have friends or family over, what spreads or feasts do you put out?

Roast chicken, lasagne, chicken pies, steak and bearnaise, apple tarts, simple chocolate cakes and triple cooked chips. I’m more savoury than sweet, but I like to get a nice balance.

Taste or presentation at home?

Taste. Most food bloggers focus on presentation which drives me crazy. I’d rather eat something that is delicious but doesn’t look amazing. But you can eat with your eyes.

Have you ever had a kitchen nightmare?

At The Dairy in Clapham, our fish is usually sous vide (cooked in little bags) but it needs to be smoked as well. It was a really busy Saturday and I hadn’t been on the section in a while, but I had 5 orders and thought the turbot was ready in the bag. It was raw and uncooked. The head chef screamed at me for that.

Are there any chefs you’d love to cook with? What would you cook?

I’d cook an omelette with Michel Roux Jr. I’d also love to bake a Victoria Sponge for Mary Berry.

Would the dream be to open your very own restaurant?

I would like to own a little lunch café in Ireland or South London which does simple pies, tarts and sandwiches.

A photo posted by Laoise (@laoisecooks) on

Quick Fire Questions

Lunch Box Heaven: Rib-eyed steak, bearnaise sauce and triple cooked chips.

Lunch Box Hell: Sushi and raw fish.

Best lunchtime spot: Brasserie Zédel in Soho, London

Favourite type of food: Italian

Favourite 3 ingredients: Pistachio nuts, potatoes and butter.

If you could create a lunch box for one famous person, who would it be and why: Michel Roux Jr as I’m a fan of French classical cooking

Top Tip for lunch box preppers: Prep in advance and use leftovers.


 laoise casey, laoise, casey, professional chef, Paradise Garage, The Dairy, Cuisine Genie

Laoise Casey is an Irish-born professional chef who has worked in famous restaurants across London such as The Dairy & The Manor (Clapham) and Paradise Garage (Bethnal Green).She’s also a food blogger at Cuisine Genie, regular newspaper columnist for The Evening Standard and The Independent, and recipe creator extraordinaire.


Laoise can be found on the following social media channels and websites:
Instagram - @laoisecooks
Twitter - @cuisine_genie

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