|Connor Callahan (played by Kevin Ryan)|
Since Loree lives near some of the towns that inspired Cerella’s series, they’re both excited to welcome Irish-born chef and hero of Harper’s Wish, CONNOR CALLAHAN, to the blog!
LOREE: Pleased to meet you, Connor! Why don’t you start off by telling us a little about yourself?
CONNOR: It’s a pleasure to meet you, Loree. I’m an Irish boy, born and bred, but my da moved my sister, Rory, and me to the States following the passing of our mam when I was ten years old. I feel lucky to have been able to experience both my Irish heritage and the opportunities of living in America.
LOREE: Cerella tells me you’re a chef.
CONNOR: Aye, I trained at the Institute of Culinary Excellence and took over my da’s restaurant, the Rusty Anchor, when he passed on a couple of years ago.
LOREE: That sounds like a great way to preserve his legacy.
CONNOR: He was a great man. I owe a lot to him.
CONNOR: My da’s specialty was his Shepherd’s Pie. He only made it once a year, around the holidays, but I’m making it today for my daughter, Molly. It’s her favorite.
CERELLA: That sounds delicious. Why don’t you tell us a little about Molly while you cook?
CONNOR: (grins) I love her more than my own life, but that girl keeps a man on his toes.
CERELLA: I bet she does! I know she can be a real pistol, but she’s a sweetie at heart. Tell us what you’re doing with the Shepherd’s Pie.
LOREE: It already smells Heavenly in here! How old is Molly, by the way?
CONNOR: She’s six years old, and I worry what sort of antics she’ll be pulling by the time she’s a teenager. I’m afraid it’ll be hard on her, growing up without her mam around.
CERELLA: But she has a great dad in you, and a lot of people who care about her. What’s that you’re adding to the meat and veggies?
LOREE: Can’t have a traditional Irish Shepherd’s Pie without some stout!
CONNOR: (nodding) Stout is a darker beer. It adds a very Irish depth of flavor to the dish.
LOREE: Sounds good to me! What else is going in there?
CONNOR: I add a little rosemary, thyme, and parsley for seasoning along with a hint of brown sugar to cut any bitterness from the stout. Next, I’ll be mashing the potatoes for the topping.
LOREE: So, tell us some more about your restaurant.
CONNOR: Well, the Rusty Anchor was my da’s restaurant, as I mentioned. But I had a restaurant of my own a few years ago in Washington D.C. That was before things fell apart. But that’s a story for another time.
LOREE: We’ll be interested to hear it whenever you want to share it.
CONNOR: (nods but focuses on finishing the dish) So now we have our lamb mixture layered in a dish, and I’m just adding the mashed potatoes on top.
CERELLA: And the cheese. Don’t forget the cheese.
LOREE: There’s gravy, too? This just keeps getting better!
CONNOR: You ladies sure get excited about your food.
CERELLA: You have no idea.
LOREE: But as a chef, you should understand that.
CONNOR: I do.
CERELLA: While you’re making the gravy, why don’t you share a bit about the town of Findlay Roads?
CONNOR: It’s the best town you’ll ever visit. It used to be a lot quieter than it is these days. A well-known travel magazine named it one of the top five hidden jewels of the Chesapeake Bay, and ever since then, we’ve seen a flood of tourists and vacationers into the area every summer. The town’s been built up to accommodate them with all sorts of restaurants and shops. But it’s that sort of activity I’m hoping will help me keep the Rusty Anchor afloat. Business has been bleak since da passed.
LOREE: If your menu is half as good as this Shepherd’s Pie smells, things should pick up soon.
CONNOR: Thanks, love.
CERELLA: Connor, we better let these readers go so Loree and I can grab some plates and get ready for this Shepherd’s Pie to finish up.
LOREE: It’s been great getting to chat with you today. Now, Cerella, let’s go find some forks while Connor adds the cheese.
CERELLA: I’m with you, Loree! Be sure to tune in next month on Friday, April 10, for our next edition of We Talk to Ourselves…a lot!
And don’t forget to visit Cerella’s website and Pinterest board for more information on her upcoming novel, Harper’s Wish, Book 1 in the Findlay Roads series, releasing in September 2015!
Cerella Sechrist lives in York, Pennsylvania with two precocious pugs, Darcy and Charlotte, named after Jane Austen literary characters. She has won various competitions and a scholarship for her writing, which include devotionals, full-length plays, and novels. She divides her time between working in the office of her family’s construction business and as a barista to support her reading habit and coffee addiction. Her novels exhibit her love for both the written word and food in fiction. You can find her online at her website www.cerellasechrist.com where she pens “Literary Fare: Fiction & Food”, a blog for readers.