Buck 65’s Real Canadian Poutine

Posted on: 30 September 2012 No comments



Richard Terfry aka Buck 65 – an absolute genius. My favourite current hip hop act, seriously, go see his show.

The beauty of the culinary world, is that it’s jam packed full of things that sound bloody awful on paper, but are in fact delicious in reality. There is no sound reason why a deep fried Mars Bar should actually taste good. A mass produced piece of confectionery, dipped in batter and hot oil? So fundamentally wrong. Yet so engrossingly good.

Canadians like the hip hop artist and broadcaster Buck 65, constantly have to defend what is regarded as one of their country’s favourite treats, in a very similar manner. It’s called poutine and while it does sound mad, it’s exceptionally comforting and rather moreish.

“It’s chips, gravy and cheese curds. It doesn’t sound very sophisticated, but when it’s done right, it’s very good. Foreigners make fun of  poutine and then change their tune when they try it. Never fails. And there’s a campaign afoot right now to get it officially recognized as Canada’s national dish.”

I guess that’s what happens when you crossbreed the British with lots of French and Irish. A country obsessed with combining chips, gravy and cheese. But when stagetime looms, you won’t catch Buck chowing down on plates of this sort, or indeed anything else,

“I avoid eating at all before I go on stage – nothing five or six hours before I play. I learned that from Van Halen.”  Wise words indeed from the lycra wearing Rock band. But after the shows wrap, Buck has his epicurean hot spots that he seeks out when on tour. Like his favourite NY deli and burger joint.

“I was there two weekends ago and I’m still riding the high.” And there’s a particular eatery in Shanghai, “If you’re ever there, make sure you go to a restaurant called ‘Southern Barbarian’. It will change your life.”

I neglected to ask him what establishment one should go to in his native Halifax to find the best poutine. But I guess I should learn how to make it myself first. Here’s how.




2 tablespoons of butter

2 tablespoons of flour

750ml of quality beef stock


Heat a normal sized saucepan. Drop in your butter and flour and stir it all up until it’s combined.  Cook it out for about five minutes to darken it up. Drop in the stock and season with some white pepper. Bring it to the boil and then quickly get it down to a simmer. Put aside.


1 kg of rooster potatoes, cleaned, peeled and cut into chips. Or get yourself a bag of frozen ones!

250g of cheese curds.

Cook up your chips in a deep fat fryer, smother in some gravy and drop in a handful of cheese curds on top of them.

Buck 65 plays The Sugar Club on November 9th

This article was originally published in The Irish Times on September 28th where I have a monthly column.

I Need A Bar Manager!

Posted on: 14 September 2012 4 comments

Kinda up to me hoop at the moment. We’ve gotta take a boozer that had seen more parties than a Roman Emperor’s gaff and turn it into a Diner. Within a few weeks myself and the Coppinger Row boys plan to open Damson Diner on 52 South William Street in early October. The food will be a heavy mix of spice and flavour that digs deep into Asian and American cuisine. Think about the best bits of grub from the Bayou to China and that’s where we’re headed. Marc, Conor and I are writing up the menu ourselves as we just want to rock out the food that we love.


The 3 lads taking a well earned break from the build, for a photo opportunity. Conor , Marc & Oisin. Barbara McCarthy took the snap.

The drinks will fall more into my department. If you thought what I was doing in The Sugar Club was a wee bit mad then trust me, you aint seen nowt yet.  My spiced range will be shifted down to South William Street.   I’ll continue to get gin, rum and vodka and spice it up with the likes of ginger and cardamom but I’ve added some wicked wild Irish ingredients to the mixes too.  But I’m also gonna be rolling out a seasonal infusion range .  It will feature Irish fruits that will be both farmed and foraged. They’ll be made in small batches and once the bottles are empty, that’s it. No more til the next year. My first batch will contain vodka that’s been infused with Wild Irish blueberries from Sallygap and Roundwood, Rum that’s been infused with Wexford raspberries, whiskey that’s been infused with Tipperary cherries and my personal favourite, gin that’s been infused with wild Irish elderflower from Meath and Gooseberries from the MacNally Farm in Dublin. The second and third batches are already infusing. More on them later.

But here’s the deal. Thankfully I’ll have some assistance in the bar at the beginning. The amazing Federico Riezzo will be on hand to assist with bar training and development for the first month. He’s even gonna write up a classic cocktail menu using my infusions which will be really cool. Like  a Tom Collins but made with the elderflower and gooseberry gin. However, after a few week’s he’ll be legging it to set up his own joint. I’ll relish my time with him though,  he’s deadly.

So I’ll need someone to replace him. An experienced bar manager who knows their way round a proper drinks menu. And they have to be able to do all the following:

- Train in staff and not take any shit from them.

- Do all the booze ordering and not take any shit from suppliers.

- Rock out impeccable service to all the customers and make them feel like they’ve just won the Euro Millions.

On a more detailed level, I do not want someone:

- who has only worked in hotels and therefore can only handle one order every hour.

- who thinks they’re God’s Gift just because they can call themselves a “mixologist”.

- who has only worked in stupidly snooty cocktail bars where each drink takes 10 minutes to make and costs more than an average lunch.

I really need someone who’s worked in high volumes, in busy as fuck places. They gotta know how to batch well and crunch numbers.

If you know anyone who think’s they can pull that off, then please send them my way. They can get me on oisin(at)damsondiner.com.

And if you can spare us a few seconds, please like the facebook page and follow us on twitter. There’ll be updates a plenty to be had! But not too many, there’s nothing worse than facebookerazzi and twitterazzi eejits.


15 August 2014


21 July 2014


30 May 2014

Little J’s Slow Cooked Ribs

25 April 2014

Jason & Brenda Byrne’s Veggie Chilli

21 March 2014

Omar’s Jamaican Stew Chicken

21 February 2014