It’s well documented that the Irish food scene has blossomed in recent years, with the burgeoning palate of artisan food producers, growing population of food lovers and the nation’s leading chefs all pinpointed as catalysts for this culinary prosperity.
Though with the industry in the grip of a chef shortage, to continue to cultivate this progress the next wave of young women and men behind the stoves have never been more important.
Luckily, the batons, or rather spatulas, are primed to be passed down the line to a band of soon-to-be culinary champions.
Some are already making their culinary prowess known on the Irish food scene, or are flying the flag while posted in prestigious restaurant globally. Others, stationed in kitchens at home and abroad, are somewhat bubbling under the radar for now, but deserve no less recognition.
From Connemara to Copenhagen, we’ve sought out 18 of the most promising young Irish chefs. Pay attention, you’re going to want to remember these names.
While studying Culinary Arts in DIT Cúán picked up experience at Thornton’s, 3 Michelin star Quique Dacosta, and was one half of Dublin Pop Up. He proved his star quality though working at Geranium, Denmark’s first three star restaurant, and then at Noma, Copenhagen’s four time World’s Best Restaurant. Cúán most recently joined René Redzepi’s team at Noma Mexico, cooking only over fire and using indigenous ingredients at the sold out outdoor pop-up restaurant.
Chef de Partie at JP McMahon’s Michelin starred Aniar, Galway, Killian began his culinary education at just 15 years old at cookery school in Belgium. He has worked at one star Le Clairefontaine in Luxembourg, with Alain Ducasse in the 3 Michelin star Le Louix XV in Monaco, and at Christophe Hardiquest’s restaurant Bon-Bon, where after 6 months he helped the team achieve a second star. Excited about the growing food movement in Ireland, in the future Killian hopes to open his own restaurant on the Wild Atlantic Way.
23 year-old Chris is sous chef at the newly opened Old Street in Malahide, a project he has been working on for the past nine months with head chef Fergus Caffrey. Previously, Chris worked at the Cliff House Hotel, Chapter One, De Librije, a three star in Zwolle, northern Holland, Amuse and most recently the Greenhouse. While making a success of Old Street is his current focus, like many of his peers opening his own restaurant is this young chef’s next move.
Most recently chef de partie at Restaurant Forty One at Residence, Maeve Walsh from Dungarvan, County Waterford was awarded the much sought after Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year 2016. This month she will reap the benefits of her a prize on a stage at the two starred Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Cornwall. Having only recently graduated, Maeve plans to gain as much experience as possible in the coming months; first up a stage at the one star Franco-Japanese fusion restaurant Le Charlemagne, Burgundy.
One of the brightest young Irish chefs on the London scene, 28 year old Derry chef Niall is in the process of opening his own restaurant, Transport, in London Bridge this year. His culinary career began in the UK capital working as a butcher aged 19 for Jack O’Shea at Harrods. Niall has since worked at Fergus Henderson’s St John spin-off Bread and Wine, with Mississippi-born chef Brad McDonald at The Lockhart, as senior sous chef at London’s hottest celebrity hangout Chiltern Firehouse, and then at the one star In de Wulf in Belgium.
Working at Brabazon restaurant at Tankardstown House, near Slane in County Meath, for three years, Adrian began as chef de partie and recently taking over the reigns from Rob Krawczyk becoming head chef. Already awarded the title of Best Chef in Leinster 2017, the Ardee native gained experience in London working in Bar Boulud at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Members’only social club The Arts Club. In his new role Adrian has already put his own stamp on the menu; focusing on flavour, and letting the produce, including ingredients from the house gardens, speak for itself.
After training in Ballymaloe Cookery School, Dubliner Josh worked for a year at Chapter One before moving to New York for four years working at Momofuku, chef Daniel Burn’s restaurants Tørst and Luksus, and then at two star Atera under the Danish chef Ronny Emborg. This year, after travelling and staging around the world, he moved to Japan, and is now working in Kyoto. At the end of the year, Josh plans to move to Los Angeles to work on a new restaurant project with a Japanese chef.
A finalist in Eurotoques Young Chef of the Year 2016, career highlights for Gary include working at the esteemed Cliff Town House, and being offered a job as demi chef following a week’s stage in Daniel Clifford’s 2 Michelin star Midsummer House. Gary is currently broadening his culinary experience as chef de partie at Canteen in Celbridge , with Kevin Thornton-trained chef and owner James Sheridan.
Ruth Lappin studied to become a nurse before enrolling at DIT Cathal Brugha Street, achieving a BA in Culinary Arts. Her career choice quickly proved justified when she won the title of Eurotoques Young Chef of the Year 2015, earning her the chance to work with chef Clare Smyth at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. Following the pretigious placement Ruth is back working as chef de partie at Ireland’s only star Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud.
When BBC’s Masterchef: The Professionals 2016 series visited the three starred restaurant Maaemo in Olso Twitter and Google were alight with the question: who was that young Irish chef? Showcasing Maaemo’s cusine and judging alongside chef Esben Holmboe Bang was his right hand man, sous chef Halaigh Whelan McManus. The talented and charming Irish chef who worked at Noma previously is one to watch – and I don’t mean on Masterchef repeats.
Harry got his first taste for Michelin star cooking and fine dining at Le Mas Candilles in southern France, and carried on from there taking on a year working at Jason Atherton’s Michelin-starred Pollen Street Social and a further two as junior sous chef at the equally acclaimed Galvin at Windows, on the top floor of the Hilton on Park Lane. Now back at Dublin, he is excited to be a part of the Irish food scene working as junior sous at Ross Lewis’s Chapter One.
Another Eurotoques 2016 contender, 24 year old Glen is working as a chef de partie at The Marker hotel, where he says he is learning how to run both a kitchen and a business from executive head chef Gareth Mullins. With this training behind him, plus previous experience working as sous chef in Hugo’s on Merrion Row and a stage at the illustrious The Hand and Flowers in Marlow, Glen plans to move overseas in the next few months to work at a two star restaurant.
Having worked the stoves at Etto with Barry Fitzgerald, chef Brendan Kearney was tempted from The Manor, Clapham, where he worked as sous chef, to work with Barry again at his first solo restaurant venture, Bastible. Part of a kitchen team of only five chefs, Brendan plans to continue to work at this contemporary neighbourhood bistro that has already made a big impact on the Dublin dining scene since opening in 2015.
Marc halted his professional cookery training after only one year following the birth of his daughter, but that didn’t stop him quickly working his way up to the position of Chef de Partie at Ireland’s only organic hotel and restaurant The Brooklodge and Strawberry Tree in Wicklow, and proved his natural ability as a finalist in last year’s Young Chef of the Year. At Brooklodge Marc is learning much from the wild and slow ethos of proprietor Evan Doyle.
There are Irish chefs all over the world but you would be hard pushed to find one in a more Northerly location than Eanna McAtamney, who is currently working in the Arctic with Roderick Sloan, the man who hand dives for scallops and sea urchins for Scandinavia’s top restaurants. Eanna left the Irish food scene in 2011, working in different restaurants of repute in London and Australia, but the 27 year old plans to make a return this Summer with his own series pop ups in Dublin from the end of August.
Ian earned his culinary expertise tasting and travelling across Canada, Japan, Denmark and Sweden, working in top class kitchens like Esperanto and Noma, where he spent two years. He took on his first head chef role at Stockholm Wine Bar, and he is now at the helm of the city’s 2 Michelin star Oaxen Krog, founded by Magnus Ek and Agneta Green.
Cabinteely native Laura has working at Derry Clarke’s L’Ecrivian for the past 4 years. Finding a flair for the pastry section while studying Culinary Arts in DIT, she is one half of the pastry team at the Michelin starred restaurant, making everything from scratch daily from breads to dainty petit fours and every stunning dessert in between. She has already made on her on-screen debut assisting Derry while filming RTÉ’s Lords and Ladles.
28 year old Dubliner Eoghan worked at Locks Brasserie before moving to Copenhagen in 2015. He has since worked his way up from chef de partie to the role of sous chef at Studio; which has held the Michelin star it earned only four months after opening in October 2013.
Hailing from Multyfranham, County Westmeath, Rose worked at Le Champignon Sauvage, Thorntons, and elsewhere before settling at In de Wulf, Belgium, rising to the role sous chef and head of R&D before it closed. Now on food travel, she was most recently spotted cooking at Coombeshead, Michelin starred chef April Bloomfield’s farmhouse, dining room and working farm Cornwall.
This ambitious chef worked at Thornton’s and The Greenhouse while still in college, and went on to win the global title of S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015; giving him the opportunity to embark on a year-long world pop-up tour. Now, Mark is settled at the newly reopened Cutler & Co in Melbourne, under the helm of chef Andrew McConnell. He recently spoke at the #50BestTalks at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 ceremony, and plans to return Ireland in 2018 to begin cooking his own food.
Erica grew up with a baker and confectioner for a father, and a mother with an instinct and love for good food. It is little wonder then that, after completing a law degree, she went on to do a Masters in Food Business at UCC. With a consuming passion for all things food, nutrition and wellness, working with TheTaste is a perfect fit for Erica; allowing her to learn and experience every aspect of the food world meeting its characters and influencers along the way.