Kitchen Hero: Bringing Cooking Back Home


Donal's first TV series, Kitchen Hero: Bringing Cooking Back Home began airing on RTÉ One in May 2011.  The 14 part series emphasises the fun and social aspect of food, and the satisfaction that can be had from cooking for, and eating with friends. Donal’s aim is to transform even the most reluctant or nervous cook into a Kitchen Hero!

Unlike almost every other TV chef, Donal has had no formal training but that hasn’t stopped him from writing an award-winning blog and two very successful cook books.

The Kitchen Hero of the title is the viewer, Donal believes that everyone can cook and become their own kitchen hero and it’s his aim to show viewers how. “I’m not a trained chef, I’m a home cook and if I can do it, so can you,” he says. 

Episode 1 – Surf's Up

Donal and friends head to Kerry for a surfing weekend. Knowing it's going to be cold, Donal prepares a chickpea, pasta and tomato soup and some dig-in beef fajitas to eat on the beach, and also a fish pie and a blackberry and apple crumble to eat back at the beach house.

Episode 2 – Friend's For Dinner

If your friends know you can cook, a casual offer to cook dinner becomes a definite commitment, as Donal discovers after a night out with friends. What's needed is something quick and easy, so Donal prepares Thai Fish Cakes, Teriyaki Salmon with Noodles and a 'mega' Banoffee Pie.

Episode 3 – Band Reunion

TV Chef Donal used to be in a band and the backing band he worked with have come to Ireland to record a new single at the Grouse Lodge recording studio (where Michael Jackson recorded his last album). Donal cooks the kind of food bands like after long days and late nights – Steak Sandwiches, Brownies, Bangers with Garlic Mash and Apple Slices.

Episode 4 – Five Mile Hike

Donal prepares food to take with him and a group of friends as they walk a five mile section of the Kerry Way: white bean and chorizo soup, lime and chilli chicken salad, soda bread and peanut butter squares.

Episode 5 – Asian Invasion

Donal loves Asian food and creates a homemade version of a Chinese takeaway, complete with fortune cookies with personalised fortunes.

Episode 6 – Baking With Kids

With long summer holidays to contend with, and sunshine not guaranteed, Donal comes up with a way to keep his nephews and nieces occupied – baking biscuits and cakes. And don't fret about the huge quantities of food colouring when icing the cupcakes. This is children's idea of Heaven – chocolate chip cookies, whoopie pies, cupcakes and cinnamon rolls.

Episode 7 – Beach BBQ

With a bit of planning, barbeques can be so much more than charred meat and burger sauce. Donal prepares some dishes to take on a barbeque, including spatchcock chicken, sticky barbeque spare ribs, red cabbage and carrot coleslaw, chorizo, rocket and red onion salad, a couple of marinades and some mojitos.

Episode 8 – Food For Romance

Donal cooks dinner for his girlfriend in this week's programme, and on the menu for this special meal is a platter of baked shellfish, followed by chicken tagine with pomegranate, and then a delicious white chocolate and blueberry cheesecake to finish.

Episode 9 – Gone Fishing

A successful mackerel fishing trip to Kerry inspires Donal to cook mussels, fish and chips. The boatman who takes Donal out is known as a great cook who cooks fish for his passengers on their way back from the Skelligs but he's impressed by Donal's BBQ mackerel with chilli and garlic – which he cooks on the boat.

Episode 10 – Birthday Party

Kitchen Hero presenter Donal Skehan is hosting a birthday party this week and decides to prepare food that's easy to eat while standing up, rather than a formal dinner party. Donal's delicious dishes include Swedish Meatballs, Shredded Duck Salad, and Chocolate and Pistachio Meringues.

Episode 11 – Sunday Lunch

Donal cooks Sunday lunch for the women who taught him how to cook – his Mother and Grandmother. Donal prepares simple garlic and rosemary roast lamb with asparagus, carrots and potato dauphinoise, followed by individual lemon meringue pies.

Episode 12 – Last Minute Fixes

In this penultimate episode of Kitchen Hero, Donal cooks some of his failsafe standby dishes for when you're tired and hungry. He cooks up a storm of Vodka Penne, Herby Spaghetti Carbonara, scrambled egg and bagels, and a deliciously simple omelette with tomato and avocado are perfect for those last minute foodie fixes.

Episode 13 – Food For A Theatrical Crowd

Donal once starred as Peter Pan in one of Dublin's biggest pantos – and he's been invited back for a guest appearance in this year's production of Beauty and the Beast.

Of course he's also been roped in to provide food for the cast party – including jumbo chicken sandwiches, hummous and crispy pitta bread and rocky road chocolate bars.

Episode 14 – Christmas Special

Donal Skehan is back for a Christmas episode of his popular Kitchen Hero, with recipes that give traditional Christmas dishes a bit of a twist. Donal’s first (and only) job in a professional kitchen was in a Swedish ‘julbord’, a unique type of restaurant which exists only at Christmas time and Donal returns to Sweden for this programme.

During the programme he visits a Christmas market in Stockholm to make ‘glugg’ – a Swedish gluwein – and a friend’s house to make gingerbread. Then he travels to the far north, above the Arctic Circle, to the world’s original Ice Hotel in Kiruna to make baked ham, gravadlax and a special Christmas rice pudding. And as well as all the cooking, he tries his hand at some ice sculpture and camps out to see the Northern Lights.