For those of you that are new to the Good Things in life or those of you that have forgotten since last summer - here’s what you need to know.
Good Things is the creation of chef, boss and mother extraordinaire, Carmel Somers. Carmel is a passionate chef who cooks simple and fresh food. Her timeline goes something like this…
Carmel trained in Paris after being told if she wanted to learn about good food:
“Well, you’ve just got to go to Paris”.
So off she went. She worked in Lous Landes and also with John Desmond (of Heir Island) and cooked for families as well as au pairing. She temporarily returned to Ireland before moving to England where she worked in many different restaurants, learning what she could along the way. From Whites of Cricklade to Bibendum in London to Sally Clarke's and Markwicks in Bristol. In these food Meccas she soaked up all the knowledge she now utilises daily. Then, years later, she and her three daughters relocated to West Cork. Durrus, to be precise.
She, typically, summarises this wonderful tale by saying:
“I got married, had three kids, got divorced and opened a restaurant”
See, to her, at this stage - food was a constant. Cooking was what she loved and on one wedding visit to West Cork, attracted by the fresh ingredients, she decided to move. It made sense to her, the madness of restauranteering, it was what she knew. So she did it.
Now, Durrus is a wonderful tale. It was a small village with four pubs, two shops and a hardware store when Carmel first arrived. We found our place in the old Butterfly Farm and soon Durrus had a restaurant too - Good Things Cafe. Over the years it became a beacon of good food, good people and many good times. In fact, one of Carmel’s best customers has renamed it ‘Good Times Cafe". Carmel enjoyed 13 years of prosperity in Durrus; cooking, teaching, welcoming those from near and far. But as times changed she decided she should too.
Then we found a new home, a wonderfully bright and busy building on the corner of Bridge Street in Skibbereen. Here, Carmel ran a restaurant for two years during which time she turned the business into everything it always promised to be. She created a place to learn, eat and discover the pleasure of great West Cork ingredients in a great West Cork town. In essence, she took a few good things and she made them great.
In 2017, following many years of laborious work, Carmel decided to focus more on her teaching and writing and take a step back from the intense world of the restaurant business. The Perry Family of the Glebe Gardens took over the restaurant as the Glebe Gardens Cafe and Carmel still runs her courses on the second floor while also working on her food column for the Irish Times.
I am gushing here to you because I think it’s a story you should all know (despite it ending in a conversation that looked like the one below) and I have the honour of being able to tell you this story because I’ve been with her most of the way.
- Ellen Somers,
Daughter to Carmel,
Waitress For Carmel,
Admirer of Carmel,
Biographer (it seems).