Brian McDermott: “My Mom Raised 12 Kids on a Tight Budget in a Community Center”

Donegal chef Brian McDermott lives in Moville, Inishowen with his wife Brenda and their two daughters. He is a regular TV chef on RTÉ’s Today show, a well-known voice on RTÉ radio and he also has his own weekly slot on BBC radio. He is the author of a number of books including Donegal Table. Visit for more information.

What’s the most important lesson about money you’ve learned from your career as a chef?

Estimate the food’s entire journey, including the costs involved, before it arrives in a kitchen. If you value those involved, you will value the ingredients and everyone in the chain gets fair value for what they do.

What has the Corona crisis taught you about money?

That nothing in life is certain and expect the unexpected from now on. One day life is going well, the next it stops out of your control – that’s a lesson I’ll pass on. I also learned that less is more as we had to make do with less revenue.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about money?

As long as you have your heat and your meat, you’re fine. My mother taught us that.

Do you still carry cash?

Yes, I must have cash with me. It’s still safe to have a note in your pocket. You never know when the technology will fail.

What is the most you would pay for a bottle of wine?

I don’t think I would overpay as there are really good quality wines for between €15 and €25.

What’s your favorite note?

I have a one-point ticket that was given to me from my father’s wallet when he died. It’s very special to me because the first wage I got in life was a punt an hour and it was my dad who got me the job.

If you could design a euro bill, who would you bet on it?

My mom – because she raised 12 children on a tight budget in a three bedroom parish house. Every day she provided all 14 of us with a home cooked meal. Any one pot style dish cooked on a Stanley stove.

What was the most expensive country you have ever visited?

Dubai – Eating out required research to ensure the trip stayed on budget.

Your biggest financial mistake?

I invested in stocks before 2008, and while I didn’t invest much, that was it
hard-earned money and maybe a little bad advice. But it taught us a lot.

Would you buy Irish property now?

no All I care about is a home, and that’s enough property that I want or want.

If you won EuroMillions what would you do with the money?

You get what you give in life, so I would certainly give.

Favorite song about money?

Money is too tight to mention by Simply Red.

What was your worst job?

Standing in a river and washing shamrocks after they’ve been harvested. I arrived in shoes the first day and yes I stood in the river in my shoes for hours.

Financially, what’s the best thing about coming from Inishowen?

Inishowen is a hidden gem. The cost of living is manageable. You also get the best natural beauty and beaches in Donegal that money wouldn’t buy.

Three things you couldn’t do without when tightening your belt?

Coffee, WiFi and my car. Brian McDermott: “My Mom Raised 12 Kids on a Tight Budget in a Community Center”

Fry Electronics Team

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