2017-12-5 Druids Glen Headshots by Roger Kenny Photography. www.rogerkenny.ie

One of the most satisfying and eagerly awaited events in most people’s social diary is going out for a sumptuous meal, that is both satisfying and memorable.

With this in mind, your decision making when going to a restaurant or hotel, is decided by the quality of the food you expect to be prepared by top-class chefs. As you become regular customers, you also become familiar with the signature dishes prepared by the chef, who you will now know by name.

As happens in many cases, your favourite chef has been offered a new position at an eatery some distance from where you live. Try as you may, it is impossible to find another venue that can provide the same quality dishes served up by your much-missed chef.

The decision to follow the chef is, in many cases, a simple one and the benefits of enjoying top quality food served with care and attention to detail, far outweighs the hassle of travelling to a more inconvenient venue.

Passion
So why do we follow the chef? The answer lies in the passion that a good chef displays, just like a great artist and this is reflected in the quality of the food served up. As eating out can be an expensive event, we always want to make sure that we are getting the best value for our hard-earned cash.

Passion is the first quality to look for in a chef – all chefs have pretty well the same cooking ability, but because without passion, pride and love of your job, the food will be dull and featureless, prepared by someone who is not happy in their job.
As one famous chef is quoted as saying: “Passion is the reason we do what we do…it’s what drives us every day. It’s a funny thing, because people can tell when you’re not being genuine…they know when you are not passionate. It shows. If you love what you do, you put everything into it.”

Like any business, surrounding yourself with the right people is a key to success. Just as any employer does, restaurateurs seek to hire staff members that can help in specific areas of their business. Perhaps it’s to improve staff performance, or grow a loyalty programme, or maybe it’s to help design a restaurant menu that everyone talks about. A top chef, or executive chef, has experience in running a kitchen, and often has a background, not only in cooking, but in restaurant management.

A common trend is for some of the great restaurants to be chef owned and operated. Of course, there are other scenarios, where the restaurant owner is not the person cooking the food. And since the reputation of the restaurant and its ability to attract and retain customers is at stake, it’s pretty important to have the right chef at the helm in your kitchen. It’s the difference between an experience of a lifetime and a pretty ordinary night out, lacking in memories.

This generates loyalty among customers and increases footfall. As they say, a good chef is worth his/her weight in gold.

ANTHONY DUGGAN                                                                                     

EXECUTIVE HEAD CHEF, DRUIDS GLEN HOTEL & GOLF RESORT

Anthony Duggan has been Executive Head Chef at Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort since April 2017. Anthony has 30 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, starting off in 1988 in Kelly’s Hotel where he began his apprenticeship at just 16 years old. He has worked in many 5-star establishments including Adare Manor, Mount Juliet and The Shelbourne Hotel. In his role, Anthony places a huge emphasis on mentoring young chefs and helping them develop their skills to become successful. His speciality dish is Ballotine of Irish Rabbit which you can find on the menu at Hugo’s in Druids Glen.
www.druidsglenresort.com

JEROME FERNANDES                                                                                           

CHEF, GUINEA PIG RESTAURANT

Jerome Fernandes, of Burgundy, France, graduated from culinary school in Dijon and trained under the renowned two-star Michelin Chef Jean-Marc Delacourt.He has worked at other renowned establishments throughout France and Switzerland before relocating to Ireland in 1997. In Dublin, Jerome worked in Peacock Alley and the Conrad International Hotel, La Reserve Brasserie amongst other fine properties. Having purchased the renowned Guinea Pig restaurant, he looks forward to sharing his love for good food and is inspired by authentic and exceptional flavours and his cuisine brings pride to seasonal and local produce.
www.guineapigrestaurant.ie

AGIE                                                                                                                     

CHEF, TOSCANA

My name is Agie, chef of Italian restaurant, Toscana. It was in Switzerland where I discovered my passion for cooking so I started training as a chef. After I finished my training I travelled Europe, working in amazing restaurants and hotels and learned about the hospitality trade and fine cuisine. Eventually, the travels ended and I put down my roots in Ireland, opened Toscana Restaurant in 2001. Toscana has received many awards and accolades for it’s honest authentic Italian Cuisine. I’m passionate about every plate that I serve to you and the passion starts with our ingredients. I grow my own vegetables and herbs in my organic garden so I can give you the freshest ingredients possible.
www.toscana.ie