Donna Ahern speaks to TV chef and founder of Ballyknocken House & Cookery School Catherine Fulvio about her role as Aldi’s brand ambassador for the Christmas season.
How would you describe your role as brand ambassador?
I am absolutely thrilled to have been selected as brand ambassador for Aldi this Christmas.
I have been shopping in my local Aldi store in Rathnew since it opened last year, so when I was approached by Aldi to work with them over the festive period it made perfect sense.
I’ll be helping to spread the message about the fantastic, local Irish producers that Aldi work with all year round.
I have been sharing some of my favourite tips and tricks on how to enjoy their products throughout the festive season, with some exclusive recipes that are perfect for any occasion.
And one of the most exciting parts of my role with Aldi this year was being chosen as the voice of Aldi’s Christmas advert!
I really enjoyed narrating Aldi’s sixth Christmas ad and sharing the tale of Kevin the Carrot and his arch nemesis Ebanana Scrooge.
Can you tell me about Aldi’s festive range?
Aldi is a one-stop-shop for everything you need for Christmas.
From canapés, starters, vegetables, cheeses, and Bord Bia Quality Assured meats like award-winning Irish hams and turkeys, to stunning desserts and petit fours, Aldi has everything you need to make it a memorable Christmas for the family.
They have thought of everything, helping you take the stress out of cooking for Christmas, so everyone can spend more valuable time with their loved ones.
What is your favourite festive recipe?
I have been working with Aldi to create some delicious recipes exclusively for their customers, and my personal favourite is a sharing board in the shape of a Christmas wreath, which is a combination of plenty of delicious things.
In this ultimate accompaniment to a festive tipple, you will find everything from asparagus, Prosciutto and salami, to goat’s cheese, brie, figs, blackberries, and plenty of other delicious ingredients.
Not only does it look very impressive, but there is something in there for everyone. This dish can also be prepared in advance, meaning all you have to do is socialise with your guests and lap up the praise!
What is your top tip for home cooks preparing Christmas dinner?
Preparation is key to easing the pressure on Christmas Day, so I always prepare everything – from peeling my vegetables, to making the cranberry sauce and glazes for the meat. I even whip the cream for dessert the day before! Having these items prepared in advance makes everything else run smoothly, leaving me with more time to unwrap all my presents underneath the tree.
What has been the highlight of your career to date?
Walking the red carpet at the Emmys is something I will never forget. It was definitely a pinch me moment! Being nominated among such prestigious American TV chefs was an absolute honour. I love my job and my career is always evolving, so although it might sound cheesy, everything has been a highlight.
What is the best advice you have been given?
Do what you love and you will always be happy.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love rambling in the Wicklow hills and I occasionally climb the odd mountain with my two dogs when I can. Otherwise, you’ll find me pottering in my herb, vegetable and soft fruit garden in the farm at Ballyknocken. That is my happy place.
What does the future hold for your career?
Being a farmer’s daughter, I’ve always enjoyed working with fresh farm ingredients and I love to share my passion for food. Having grown up in the hospitality business, I’ve always enjoyed meeting people and I am looking forward to lots more of that in 2022 and beyond.
Who would come to your ideal dinner party (living or dead)?
Judge Judy, Anthony Bourdain and the Dalai Lama.
Can you tell me something about yourself that we don’t already know?
I enjoy meditation and recently took up yoga and I’m loving it. I find it helps to keep me grounded.