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After Masterchef, I hit catwalk with Georgia ... then built cocktail bar

I'M barely over the Masterchef whirlwind but it's time to revamp my restaurant.

Since the show ended I've been putting most of my efforts into getting it just perfect and I've also started looking at some new ventures in the past week.

One of the most important things I have done in the last few days is take part in a fashion show for Sosad (Save Our Sons And Daughters). I am an avid supporter of mental health and I have even been to therapy myself and think it really helps.

On Wednesday night I took to the catwalk at the Wescourt Hotel in Drogheda. I was joined by Lisa Murphy, Georgia Salpa, Rosanna Davison and Pippa O'Connor who all strutted their stuff for the suicide prevention charity that aims to raise awareness in Ireland.



THERAPY

Suicide is definitely a thing we need to speak more about, especially when it comes to men. We are bad about talking about our mental health. I think it's very important for men in this country to talk about their problems.

I think guys always keep things in. I really feel it's important to talk to people and to assess what's going on if they are feeling sad or down. Therapy definitely helped me and I think that these charity events are so important because it really raises awareness.

A friend of mine committed suicide and it hurt me deeply, so I think it's important to tell people to keep going no matter what and not to be afraid of their issues.

Doing the fashion show was a bit of fun and I don't mind being silly once in a while. I actually took part in a fashion show a few weeks before this event in Dromoland Castle, so I can definitely give those other models a run for their money.

Even before striking a pose on the runway, I'd had a really busy week working on a big refurbishment in my restaurant Pichet. After finishing Masterchef I thought it was about time to make some changes, so we have put in a new cocktail bar.

We've always done a cafe and a coffee shop but now guests can enjoy a cocktail before dinner. And we brought people in to completely revamp the kitchen too. We just reopened this Thursday after closing it down for a week.

I've had so many customers coming in to the restaurant after seeing me on Masterchef. They can't believe that I actually take their orders or serve the food, it's really funny.

It's nice to get the feedback from all the people who watched the show.

I definitely think the atmosphere in the restaurant has gone up a notch.

But I'm not always in the kitchen. At one point this week I swapped my cutting knife for a paintbrush when I painted the new Fiat 500. I'm actually an abstract artist as well so I hand-painted the entire car, it took me two days in total. It was supposed to replicate a painting I have in my restaurant.

Earlier this week myself and Dylan (McGrath) did the photoshoot for this year's Taste of Christmas festival. We are bringing Masterchef live to the event which takes place at the Convention Centre. Myself and Dylan will be on stage with four finalists from the show, including the winner Mary, of course.

There will be some cookery competitions, some taste tests, it's a big family experience, so we want the kids to enjoy themselves too.

Winner Mary is doing really well. She definitely isn't used to the whole fame side of things, everybody wants to know her. But she's a strong head on her shoulders and she is doing really well. I think the next thing for her is a cook book and I know

the public would love her to open a restaurant, so watch this space.

Myself and Dylan loved doing the show. We knew each other very well beforehand and even though I might have come across as quite mean, I had to be honest at the end of the day.

Both of us had to take it seriously, there were only a certain amount of aprons we could give away and it couldn't be all happy and jolly all the time. It was up to us to make a good programme and I think we really did. I'm ready for the next series already.

I know Dylan would also like to do a series where the contestants are professionals, but I'd love to do a junior version and get kids cooking. I hope we will have time to do both.

My kids love the show. They make me drop them to school extra early now, though.

If I come with my son up to the school gate all his friends start asking about his dad, it's hilarious. My kids were more impressed with my stint on Republic Of Telly last week than my role on Masterchef, they thought it was really funny.

This week, I also auditioned for a TV ad. It's always good to have different experiences.

Next week will be hectic again as myself, Dylan and the Masterchef finalists go straight into rehearsals for the live show of this year's Taste of Christmas.