Rachel Allen

My life as a cook is intimately intertwined with the natural world. Good food ingredients are the basis of our good health and the responsible stewardship of the earth and soil is essential in the provision of such quality ingredients.

Trees have always been of importance to me – not just because of the fabulous array of fruits and nuts they provide that adds such variety to our diets – but because of the personal qualities they add to my life. They constantly remind me of the changing seasons.

Here in Ballymaloe we are blessed with an abundance of awesome trees of all shapes and sizes. However, my favourite tree is this weeping willow in our back garden.

I just love this tree. For me it encompasses all that I hold dear. It is nurturing, inviting, caring, cosy and it renews my spirit each time I pass it by on my way to the kitchen.


Rachel Allen was brought up in Dublin and left home at eighteen to study at the world-famous Ballymaloe Cookery School. Rachel is now a busy TV chef, author, journalist and mother, and still teaches at Ballymaloe. Rachel is the author of four bestselling cookery books, which include Rachel’s Favourite Food at Home and Rachel’s Food for Living. Her extremely popular television series for RTE and the BBC have been broadcast internationally and she frequently appears on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen. Her charming manner and effortless style make her a delight to watch. Rachel is columnist and contributor to a number of Irish publications, including the The Sunday Tribune magazine, and is often featured in articles and interviews in the media.