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Famed chef and our in-house restaurateur, Domini Kemp reveals how food can be a recipe for happiness - even on the dreariest of days. Plus, she shares a joyful comfort meal.

“Food is so much more than just calories or a means to survival,” says Domini Kemp, chef and founder of Hugh Brown’s, located on Level 3 Brown Thomas Dublin. “It’s at the heart of wellbeing, family, community and is part of the biggest moments in our life. Food unites us but can also divide us. It is both fundamental and essential.”

There’s no denying the immediate joy of food but did you know eating right can offer a sustainable source of happiness. “It’s fascinating to understand the important role that food can play in fostering a healthy gut microbiome, which in turn, directly affects brain function,” explains Kemp. “Researchers are discovering these important links and we are now seeing such a shift in medicine with practitioners acknowledging preventative and integrated approaches to healthier living and why food plays such a crucial role in that.”

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Super Salad: Just one of the many nutritious yet delicious delights that awaits you in our Level 3 restaurant, Hugh Brown's.

But knowing which foods may influence your brain structure and chemistry in a consistent and positive way is not necessarily the easiest thing to navigate. Luckily, Domini knows a simple yet enjoyable way to do just that. “I am a big fan of Dr Tim Spector’s approach (UK epidemiologist and author of Spoon-Fed). Instead of giving us banal advice – ‘to eat a healthy balanced diet’, which is meaningless in the context of the individual – he encourages a positive approach by suggesting we aim for 30-35 different varieties of plant foods each week.” Although it may seem intimidating at first, Kemp explains its simplicity. “This is especially fun to do with children. It can be everything from nuts and seeds to fruit and vegetables and crucially, herbs and spices.” The latter is a super quick and easy way to incorporate the different varieties of plant foods and perhaps the most important ingredient to consume as each comes with incredible medicinal properties. “Garlic, turmeric and ginger are all great for supporting immune function with their anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties and compounds,” says Kemp.

Next time you make dinner, count the variety of plant foods in it and aim for higher each week. This will help ensure a really diverse set of nutrients and phytochemicals, which your gut will love!

However, it’s not just new ingredients that are key to improving our relationship with food but also how we approach eating. “Eat slowly, mindfully and make at least one meal (per day, if possible) a priority,” advises Kemp. “At home, that means valuing dinner as a sacred time. Light candles - not in a schmaltzy, romantic kind of way, but rather as a way to pause and value the time together - as it re-enforces the sense of occasion. Put all your phones away and foster and encourage conversations that matter. Eating dinner mindlessly in front of the TV is a surefire way to encourage a poor relationship with food. There is no value in that approach.”

Why not let us do the hard work for you and visit our in-store restaurant, Hugh Brown’s located on level 3, where Kemp herself has carefully curated a mood-enhancing menu for you to enjoy.

If you're feeling inspired to beat the blues with food, Domini Kemp has shared with us her go-to comfort recipe: Hot & Sour Soup. Keep scrolling for the full recipe below...

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Image by Dean Carroll for Food&Wine Magazine, which is published monthly with the Business Post.

At this time of year, after over-indulging and celebrating with too much food (which you can and should enjoy!) I love this nourishing and light, Asian flavoured Hot & Sour Soup. Full of herbs and spices, it’s a great way to give your system a little bit of a chance to reboot and de-stress.

Domini Kemp


Hot & Sour Soup
Serves 2-4


  • 1 red onion, peeled and sliced
  • Good knob ginger & turmeric, peeled and grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 red chilli sliced
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, outer leaves peeled and very finely sliced
  • Splash olive or coconut oil
  • 150g sliced mushrooms
  • 1 litre bone broth (chicken stock)
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 100-200g cooked chicken or turkey
  • Some basil & coriander
  • Lime to serve


  1. Sweat the onion, ginger, turmeric, garlic, chilli and lemongrass in the oil. Once fragrant and lovely, add the mushrooms and soften.
  2. Once mushrooms have softened, add the pre-prepared homemade stock, fish sauce and vinegar.
  3. Bring up to simmer and season with more fish sauce or salt, if necessary.
  4. Add the cooked chicken or turkey, heat through and then serve in bowls or mugs with some herbs and a wedge of lime for seasoning.

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It’s time for tea…


Located on Level 2 of our Brown Thomas Grafton Street store, Edition has launched a brand new afternoon tea for you to enjoy. From sweet treats like Tiramisu pots with white chocolate spoon to savoury bites like Fivemiletown goat cheese & caponata, spinach croûte, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Priced at €35 per person, Edition's new afternoon tea comes with that all-important pot of tea or the option to elevate the experience with a Champagne and a non-alcoholic cocktail menu as well. For more information and to book your afternoon tea now, email



It’s undeniable the joy food can bring but perhaps a more unique way is with the use of crystals. Learn all there is to know about crystals and why it’s time to start using them in The New Stone Age.