I actually cannot believe that we are open 3 years. The most stressful, incredible and wonderful 3 years…
We wouldn’t be here without our fantastic customers, team, family and friends.
Customers are the one I would like to thank especially today. Without you all we wouldn’t be here today. It is so rewarding to welcome people to Momo. Each and every one of you made a decision to “give us a go”, to try our food, see our place, and often to come back again and again. We build the relationships, often friendships and got to know some of you very well. Lots of growing families, couples, beautiful families, group of friends. We are so lucky to welcome you to our lives. I love watching children growing, celebrating birthdays, engagements, and being here with you on the nights out.
You made our dream to come true. We love what we do, but wouldn’t be able to achieve it without you all. Thank you so very much.
Momo birthdays are always quite emotional for me. In my wildest dreams I didn’t expect to be in this place today. We achieved more than I could ever dream of. I’m genuinely overwhelmed. I had a dream and now I’m “living the dream”.
The start of the “dream” was a really hard one. I was so naive, and had no idea what I putting myself and my family through. I’m so lucky to have my rock on this journey with me.
I would lie if I would say that is easy to run a business with your life partner… we might not agree on everything and sometimes have a different point of view, but we have the same goals…. Harry always has my back. We are in it together- for better and for worst. We could loose it all at any stage of our lives, but knowing that he is there always for me makes it all a little bit easier.
And I don’t expect to be an easy ride from now on. Daily challenges, broken equipment, staff changes, bills…. they are all keep coming.
So much changed since the day we got the keys to Momo.
It is our second home. We put all our love there. There was never option “B”- what’s happening if that wouldn’t work. We couldn’t afford it. Emotionally I can’t afford it.
My mom passed away when I was eight years old. Everything she left for me- I put into Momo. I can’t disappoint her, I can’t waste it.
Our little Momo is growing up beautifully 😊 and we are growing up with Momo.
We are so lucky to have the most amazing team. Jack, Kevin, Mags and Rebecca are the best waiting staff we could ask for. Michael, Gary, Giulia, Davide, Angela and Beata might be hiding behind the kitchen closed doors but they shine on every single plate.
We had some fantastic people working with us over the last three years. We wouldn’t be here without every single one of them. We learned a lot, but if I’m honest it is only the tip of the iceberg…..
I’m really looking forward to see what the next years are going to bring, to see how we are going to evolve, grow and learn. Thank you all for being on this journey with us.
Lots of love
I was brave and probably stupid enough to put my hand up and say that I’m willing to work in the kitchen… that was a year ago… I’m not really working in the kitchen- I’m not a chef. I’m making salads and sandwiches, for lunch only. Sometimes I would make hummus, and help with the basic prep. I did one full service in the kitchen on a Saturday Night- never again!!! (Never say never). I was so nervous… The pressure, the heat, and overwhelming amount of work- I’m not able for it, and I know it.
We all probably have an idea in our head about what is going on “behind the closed door”. We all watch cooking programmes and think “that is it”. Nice and calm, putting ingredients together to the pot, stir it with the golden spoon, and put parsley on the top- and all done!
As a restaurant owner I truly believe that I have to be “helping in the kitchen”. I need to see and understand the amount of work, the “system”, the importance of every single rule. Before I put my foot in to the kitchen, often during the “quiet” times I was thinking ” What are they doing there????, We have only few tables in and 3 chefs in the kitchen? Why do I have to wait for the food for soooo…. long??? What are they doing in the kitchen in the morning?….” Now I know. I know how much work, preparation and planning is involved in running a restaurant kitchen. I understand that cooking at home and cooking in the professional kitchen are two completely different things.
We start at 9am. I’m doing my little bits, and just after 11am, I’m running away… The guys have “The Book”- The prep list, orders, etc… “The Never Ending List”- but should be done before 12pm…. Service starts just after 12, but that doesn’t mean that “the prep” is done… so they make sandwiches, cook fish and make purées, desserts, and whatever else has to be done… and the timers are beeping, the deliverys keep coming, the food is served…. and it is like that till 9/10pm…non stop…. the sound of “order in”, “table away”, “how long for the fish”, “what’s next chef”…. non stop… And they love it…
I love seeing the smile on everyone’s faces after a busy service, the pride and joy.
He is the one who controls it all. He organises the kitchen- from suppliers, orders, to kitchen rosters, paper work,to more fun stuff- designing the menus, coming up with the specials, deciding how each dish will be served, garnish, etc. Michael is working with us for over 1.5 years. He is very calm and organised. He can plan and control. Nothing could get away… he knows it all! He remembers all the little details. He likes “flat white” in the morning, has a loving wife and two beautiful children, hates goats cheese, loves smoked paprika and chorizo. He never shouts. He likes to have a laugh, he loves his job. We are so proud of him. He can see our vision and deliver it.
Gary is our rock, Michael’s right hand. He needs “double shot latte with two sugars” in the morning. He loves to experiment, check new recipes, techniques… , different flavour combinations, spices… Gary is an amazing teacher. He is always so patient. He can explain everything very clearly, he will always help.
I stole this photo from her Facebook Page, as it is nearly impossible to take a photo of her- she is too fast! Giulia is a “tough cookie”. No one can mess with Giulia. I love her determination and drive. Always pushing, always trying harder, never stops! She is fair and honest. She drinks “espresso”, goes to the gym, is super strong and fit! She loves gnocchi, eats lots of fish and likes her steak “rare”.
Davide is young, but has lots of experience already. He wants to learn as much as possible. Davide doesn’t waste time. He is very organised, always concentrated, and focused. He gets the stuff done. He always comes to work early . He drinks “espresso”, loves food, football and his family.
And probably the most important, but often forgotten are Eugenija and Angele- our fantastic kitchen porters. They know every corner of the kitchen. They keep everything clean, tidy and organised. Without them we wouldn’t be able to do anything. They work hard, they are super strong. They make it a little bit easier for everyone. Eugenija loves Ginger and Lemon tea, Angele has a sweet tooth.
Work in the kitchen is hard, very physical. Working in hot conditions, in a small room without a window, with two or three other people can be challenging…. but if you are all on the same page, respect each other, have a sense of humour, share the same vision- it can actually be fun!
We all just have to remember to say “please” and “thank you” and understand that WE ARE A TEAM, WE WORK TOGETHER, NO ONE IS MORE OR LESS IMPORTANT.
Lots love ❤️ Kamila
P.S. Huge thank you to our amazing kitchen team- our secret behind the closed door. You are all fantastic 😊❤️
I’m a waitress.
“Just a waitress? Are you looking for a real job? Is it ‘just for now?'”
I love being a waitress. I’m so lucky to be able to do what I enjoy every day, hopefully for the rest of my life.
I did study. I do have a masters degree and I did choose to be the waitress.
I had many conversations with my collages and coworkers about how others look at our profession. Yes A PROFESSION. You might not have to go to college and get a degree, but you need to work really hard and learn for the rest of your life to be a good server.
Many people think that anyone can be a waitress/ waiter and that it is easy. Just for the students and young people. Not a career for the rest of your life. Being a waiter/ waitress in other parts of the world often is a profession. Respectable profession. Why? Do you think it’s easy? Nothing special, nothing too difficult? Just bring the food and serve drinks, but it’s a lot more than that.
We have to learn new things constantly. The learning is never ending; food, food allergies, flavours, spices, food trends, beers, wines, coffees, cuisines from around the world…. The list is never ending, and it is not only about the knowledge. It is about the passion – real passion for food. And yet, that is still not enough.
Dealing with “the public.” Customers; the good, the bad, the wonderful and the difficult. Customers are paying our wages, not the owners of the business and we need to treat them with the respect they deserve.
If you are paying for the meal you should be happy to do so! The waiting staff are “the middle guy.” We don’t cook – we just serve. The customers, if they have problem with the food, they complain to the server, not to the chefs. We have to keep the smile on our faces, apologies, stay calm and focus, and keep going. Even if we feel like crying inside…. We have to fix the problem, our job is to give customers what they are looking for and more. A great waitress/ waiter can read your mind, direct you with your orders, drinks etc. A bad waitress/ waiter can ruin your evening…. very easily…..
Keep smiling and don’t loose the “cool” is hard sometimes. We have good and bad days. We are humans. We have personal problems. It’s hard to work with a smile after break up with your boyfriend/having a sick child at home/after an argument with the loved one. But when you are at work, looking after customers, you have to pack it all up, leave it for “after hours” and put a smile on your face and DO YOUR BEST!
It is all about THE SERVICE. Even the best chef in the world wouldn’t be appreciated by customers without wonderful, educated, and well manner staff, which know what they are doing. An experience as customers we have in any restaurant is a combination of waiting staff and kitchen staff. We are THE TEAM. Our job is to look after the customers, guide them, be sure that they have everything they need to enjoy the meal.
We are there when you are really hungry and tired, when you had a long day and want to celebrate life, we are there on Valentines Day, Saturday evening, and Sunday brunch, every weekend, every Christmas and Easter, Mother’s day, Father’s Day…..
I love my job, watching people growing (without being creepy). The first dates, family celebrations, catching up with friends, double dates, birthdays, anniversaries…. I appreciate so much the personal relationship you can develop with regular customers. I know couples from first dates, through out the engagement, wedding, pregnancy, babies…. Meeting people from around the world, talking about Ireland… Seeing happy faces, sound of eating good food, laugh, chat- it is rewarding. Knowing that you help someone to have enjoyable evening- this is all I want.
Couple of weeks ago we won BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE, Irish Restaurant Awards in Waterford County. I’m so happy and proud- it looks like we are doing something right 😊
Thank you to our amazing team of waiting staff- Mags, Kevin and Hannah ❤
Lots of love
PS- next time I’m going to write about “The life behind the kitchen door”- where the magic happens 😊
Food education is never ending… But how to get the right information? Every day we are told something different by media. What is healthy eating? What is the Right diet?
This time of the year it is all about New Year – New Me, diets, exercise, quitting bad habits etc… But why now? Why not always?
I really love eating healthy… But what does healthy mean? Low fat? High fat? Gluten Free? Vegan? Dairy free? No sugar? Diet drinks?
Not long time ago we were told that diet drinks are good for us… That 0% fat is the way to go… Low fat… No gluten…
What to believe? What diet to choose? What to eat?
Relationship with food can be a hard one. We can quit eating… but we can also simply eat well. Some people think that eating healthy is boring, tasteless, and unsatisfying. I really don’t think so. It’s all about the choices we make and the work we put in. Little changes – step by step!
Please – just start to cook! Enjoy it! Play with it! Open yourself to new flavours, new dishes, and try something new.
I love buying new products and spices… All the “weird” stuff. I like to “Google it”, read about and just try it out. It might work, it might not… When you cook from scratch, you know what you put into the dish so you know what you’re eating!
Be careful when you choose what you are buying. Cheap doesn’t always mean good. Expensive doesn’t always mean healthy. Superfoods are not so super. Whole foods are not expensive. During the ballymaloe Food Festival 2016, Elisabeth Luard said that we should eat what is growing around us. Local produce is the best for us because it is a climate we live in; our surroundings and the freshness of the produce. There is no magic ingredient or foods which will make us healthy. There is no superfood that will make us beautiful and slim. There are long term choices in our lifestyle that we should make to feel better.
@Momo we make choices everyday. In our business we spend our money on local, good produce. Good quality produce is worth the price. Knowing where food comes from is a must. Quality is the key to flavour – real flavour; sourdough bread from Seagull Bakery, vegetables from Tom Cleary, Ballybeg Greens, meat from O’Flynn’s, fish from Dunmore East….
I made small changes at home last year. The kids weren’t too happy for a very short time but they got used to it quickly. Now they love sourdough bread, real ham (cooked by me and not the ham bought in the supermarket), home baked sweets. They drink water instead of cordials. We cook and bake together as often as possible.
We have a great relationship with food. We appreciate it and we care for it.
I started working in the kitchen @Momo a couple of months ago… Just helping with the daily salads and basic preperation. I’m not a chef. I love food. I love flavour. I don’t have any professional training so you might think that I’m crazy but I think that I can do it!
Healthy can be delicious! Healthy can be full of flavour!
HEALTHY IS NOT ONLY FOR JANUARY.
But don’t forget to indulge yourself. Enjoy food. I believe in balance. I need a little of “badness” in me. If I feel like “garlic chips and cheese” at 3am – I would do it and enjoy it… and probably regret it later but I don’t do it often. Just enjoy and appreciate food.
My grandmother loved brandy and chocolate and she had both the day she passed away. She would use only real butter (full fat dairy), lots of veg and would go for a 10k walk everyday. She was a very healthy 98 year old lady.
My job is to teach my children how to appreciate food, cook it, and enjoy it.
My food education will never end. That is the real beauty of food for me. There are so many options, ingredients, way of cooking, cultures, histories, climates, seasons, spices and flavours to discover.
My childhood was complicated. The first 8 years of my life I spent with my mother who was a single, working mother. I don’t really remember much about it. I have some lovely memories about food from the crèche. Fruit soup was my favourite. Yes, it does sound strange… Today the idea of eating creamy, sweet, watery soup with pasta and overcooked fruit doesn’t sound very appetising.
I fell in love with beetroots in crèche. The girl seated next to me said that beetroots were delicious so I tasted it. She was right! So far as I remember, I was a fussy eater. But… I lost my mother when I was 8, and moved to live with my father, stepmother and, of course, my grandmother.
My grandmother and stepmother spent most of the day in the kitchen cooking everything from scratch. Food was so different and so strange for me at that time. But I had no choice. I was told that “Food is not for liking – Food is for eating.” There was no other option – eat it or leave it and go hungry. So I decided to try it and get to know it. The kitchen become my favourite place in the house; hours of preparing food, drinking tea, licking the spoon, and talking.
Years later I decided to spend the summer in Dublin, Ireland (2003).
Food was one of the hardest thing for me to get use to. Everything was so different to what I knew. I didn’t know how to shop. I had very little money and food in Ireland in comparison to Poland was so expensive! It was scary and strange! Instant mash potatoes, sausages in a jar (?!), spagetti hoops, chips with vinegar (!!!), beans for breakfast. The list is long and the ingredients so exotic. Never before had I seen a fresh mango or avocado.
I remember how embarrassed I was when someone sent me to buy avocados. I didn’t know what an avocado looked like, and I was too embarrassed to ask. Shellfish were another thing I didn’t know anything about. I had mussels for the first time in my early twenties on holidays in Croatia. I never cooked or had even seen anyone cook prawns before. I tasted “prawns from a jar” once. Vegetables tasted different. Potatoes were falling apart while cooking. In Poland we use waxy potatoes. Roosters potatoes looked so exotic! I bought a can of peas to put in the salad and the peas were mushy – why? I thought they were old and inedible. I got another can- the same problem😳! Beef was such a dark red that I was scared that it had extra food colouring. In Poland meat is pale and we eat pork mostly.
All of it was strange, new and scary… But I wanted to learn!
The following year I decided to move to Ireland permanently. I choose Waterford (by accident). I could pronounce it, itwas close to the coast, not too big, not too small and I had never heard about Waterford before…. sounded good enough for me!
In Waterford the real lesson started!
I had many jobs, in many places. I got to know people, the culture, build friendships, and learn the way of eating.
Chips with vinegar….. why?! Why would you put vinegar on chips?! I still cannot understand it. I cannot stand the smell! (I know, we Polish are strange too – pickled herrings for breakfast sounds like a nightmare for you). Milk in the tea? Why? In Poland we put lemon, syrup or vodka in tea – not milk! Full Irish breakfast? Really? Why? How can you eat baked beans for breakfast? But marshmallows in hot chocolate was a discovery. Seafood and shellfish, too, were another discovery. Amazing! All the exotic fruit and vegetables..
My challenge was to get to know ingredients, find out where to shop and learn how to cook it.
I was lucky enough to meet fantastic people, build friendships and work in lots of different places. I did work in Irish bars and restaurants, French, Italian too. I’ve learned so much. I have my amazing Irish family and friends, who cooked for me, brought me out for dinner, cooked Full Irish Breakfast after a night out.
I did my reasearch. I would go to the fishmonger, buy mussels and ask ‘how should I cook it?’ Then I would Google it, buy magazines and read, ask chefs I worked with and just try. I love buying “strange” ingredients, learning about it and trying it out. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
So much has changed in Ireland over the last 13 years. It has changed for better in my opinion, or maybe I just got to know it better. The incredible produce, the passionate people, the fifty shades of green, the best beef and lamb in the world, the beautiful wild ingredients… And so many talented people. They inspire me everyday.
Thank you Ireland.
Available from 28th November – 31st December
35€ per person
Bookings on 051 581509 or email@example.com
Christmas Lunch Menu available Tuesday- Saturday 12-4:30pm
Christmas Dinner Menu available Tuesday- Saturday 5-9:30pm and all day Sunday
I would like to tell you my story – my food education story.
Growing up in communistic Poland was challenging and interesting. Food and goods were very limited. Eating well required lots of imagination and work.
My grandmother Helena was definitely my biggest influence. She was born in 1920, went to school in Switzerland in 1937, came back to Poland a day before the Second World War (31/08/1939) began, survived the war, and shared her secrets with me.
My grandmother was a great cook. She loved cream and butter more than anything else. Her dishes were rich and delicious. She would use only 30% fat cream, real homemade butter from our neighbour, and make the most amazing apricot jam. Apricot jam was only for special occasions. She would make around 20 jars a year. Every single one was treated with deserved respect. We did fight over it. Sweet and tangy, with lovely pieces of fruit- the best jam I have ever tasted!
We had a pantry in our kitchen filled with homemade jams, chutneys, pickles, my favourite “pears in vinegar” and even homemade ketchup and fruit syrups.
Everything in our home was made from scratch. My grandmother would make pasta, dry it and store it in a glass jar. Baking was a daily thing. She would bake delicious cakes, biscuits and crackers. ‘Preserve for winter’ was her motto. She would dry or freeze fresh herbs in ice cubes to use during the long winter. She was always prepared. She knew how to forage. She showed me how to do this and where to find wild herbs. Mint, nettles, and yarrow would be used to make salsa verde.
During the summer we would always take a basket for a walk in the forest. Wild strawberries, raspberries and blackberries were waiting to be picked.
Wild mushrooms would grow outside the house. The neighbour would bring eggs, butter, homemade cottage cheese and rye sourdough bread. These are my memories. I loved baking with her; making ginger bread cookies for Christmas and the cake mix from the bowl.
Hare stew in cream sauce with carrots and greens was our favourite dinner. For years we believed that it was chicken…. Not a hare…
Rabbit paté for Easter. Poppyseed Christmas cake. Yeast dough cake with raisins. There you go; my childhood memories.
This is what I want to give our children; knowledge where the food comes from. How to cook. Experience of flavours and textures. Food needs love and care to nourish us.
Food education should start young! It was always a part of my life and will always be. Food education is nerver ending… We can always learn more, experience new flavours… Learn from each other. History of the world is the history of food.
My grandmother would never really talk about the war, but she would keep the good memories alive. There was always a bottle of Chartreuse in our fridge – her little treat ( and medicine 😉) and Dijon mustard. Memories from school in Switzerland. She would tell us a stories about rotten potatoes during the war. They had rotten sweet taste, but during the war it was a delicatessen (what we ate when there was nothing to eat during WWII). I was given my Grandmother’s, and my great grandmother’s, recipe books; hand written recipes collected for years from friends and family.
This is a recipe for “Delicaciese Torte” from Mary with a little note that says “very good”. This is how it was. You would go to your friends house for a party, enjoy the cake and ask for the recipe. It was the great complement for the housewife.
Every family event was a feast! Homemade mayonnaise for vegetable salad (made only few times a year), roast loin of pork stuffed with prunes, horseradish sauce, pickled wild mushrooms, cold meats, salads, cakes and biscuits…
I want to keep the flavours alive forever. I want to learn more; to go back to the basics.
Dill always tastes like home for me.
When I arrived to Ireland (over 13 years ago!) food was my biggest challenge. Over the years, I learned how to appreciate it. I had to start from scratch. In my next post I will write about my food education in Ireland from the perspective of a Polish girl coming to Ireland.
From Friday 9th September – Sunday 11th September we offer our customers ‘THE FOOD HEROS OF WATERFORD MENU’;
Available from 5pm on Friday and Saturday and all day Sunday.
This 4 course menu is inspired by the beautiful produce on our doorstep, the hard and inspiring work of our suppliers and the most diverse season of harvest.
‘Local and Seasonal’ is our motto from the first day we opened the doors to Momo. Since that day, we’ve gotten to know our suppliers and producers better than ever and we’ve learned how to appreciate our city and county and discover the incredible beauty of the local produce available to us.
THE FOOD HEROS OF WATERFORD MENU
35€ per person/ bookings on 51 581509 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Complementary Metalman beer/ glass of Douro DOC Crasto White/ Douro DOC Flor de Crasto Reda
Thin Gin Gaspacio
Rainbow beetroot and blood orange terrine, watercrest salad, apple purée. (Ballybeg Greens, Seagull bakery).
Smoked Cod, maple syrup and bacon crumb risotto. (Doherty’s fish)
Crispy black pudding and gubeen chorizo balls, tapenade, smoked red pepper pesto. (Gubeen Smokehouse, Kiely Meats).
Home cured and slow roasted pork belly, confit root vegetables, pale ale, and apple jus, turnip and potato gratin. (O’ Flynns, Tom Cleary, Metalman Brewery and Ballybeg Greens).
Marinated and chargrilled courgette steak, roast tomato, suffed with ratatouille, couscous and goat cheese, served with warm basil, mint and tomato relish. ( Ballybeg Greens, Tom Cleary).
Pan fried monkfish on the bone, chargrilled baby squash, tomato and vanilla coulis, balsamic reduction, fried potato and spinach croquette. (Seatrade, Beotanics, Ballybeg Greens)
Trio of Desserts:
Apple and black berry cake, blackberry bavarois, fruit and gin compote. ( Thin Gin, Ballybeg Greens, hand picked blackberries by little Momo, Deise honey)
GLUTEN FREE/ DAIRY FREE/ VEGAN available on the request
As far as good weeks go, last week was up there with the best.
My head is full of inspiration. I cannot stop thinking about everything food related!
Last Monday we went to the finals of ‘The Irish Restaurant Awards’ in Dublin.
It was a very elegant even; strictly black tie with a 6 course meal, prepared by the best chefs in the country. All my food heroes under one roof. It was overwhelming. I got very nervous. I was surrounded by the best in the country, by people I admire, faces I see in magazines… And we were there. We won “Best Kids Size Me” in Munster a couple of months ago, and we had a chance to win an All Ireland award. I really didn’t have any expectations, or hopes that maybe…. Being around The Best in Ireland was good enough – I thought.
A few hours in to the evening and we won! We won All Ireland”Best Kids Size Me”! I couldn’t believe it.
I won’t lie. Maybe it looks easy to run a restaurant, winning awards and so on – but it is not. When your work is recognised by specialists in the industry – the feeling is incredible.
When we told our children that we won – seeing how happy they were made all the hard work worth it. We have to thank them for the award. They inspire us.
When we opened Momo and were doing our first children menu we decided to respect the young ones and give them the best food that we could; nothing processed just the same dishes as for the rest of our guests. It drives me crazy, when I go to eat out with my young ones and the kids menu is filled with rubbishy, processed food (chips and nuggets)….
I think they deserve to get the best food – or at least as good as we get. Respect young diners. They are going to grow up and might come one day with their children. It’s up to us to give everyone the best experience we can.
I still remember going to the restaurant with our little ones and not being able to have a dessert because they were so bored and started to cry…. I just wanted a cake.
We can help parents to enjoy the meal out with children a little bit more by making everyone feel important and looking after all the little needs. Sometimes it is just some bread for the hungry one or glass of water for a very thirsty and tired mother.
And real food for real people! Make it interesting, pretty, tasty and healthy. A little bit of vegetables won’t kill anyone.
We take little steps in what we believe is the right direction. We offer children natural, ‘made in Waterford’ cordials with sparkling water instead of sugary, fizzy madness. We make our own ice cream, and sometimes in funny flavours so our guests have to guess them. Butternut squash and parsnip are full of natural sweeteness! We are adults, we can make a difference. We can show the direction we believe is right.
Yes, I’m so proud and happy. I’m full of new ideas and inspiration. We are just back from Balymaloe’s LitFest (a food and drink literacy festival) and my head is full of deep thoughts about our future. Where we are going? What can we teach our children? How can we look after our planet and can we be just a little bit nicer to one another?
Today I’m going to bake our first sourdough using the starter we got in Ballymaloe from Riot Rye Bakehouse Bread School with our children.
It is all about taking little steps.