As sponsors of TV3’s The Restaurant, Gas Networks Ireland travelled the country to meet with chefs, hotel and restaurant owners. From Galway City to the Sunny South East of Wexford, we saw chefs serving up stunning dishes in a matter of minutes with the flick of the gas switch. In a restaurant setting, where tensions are high in the kitchen, a chef cannot afford to wait patiently for a pan to heat, or to miss out on that perfect sear on a steak.
Independent and family-run restaurants must always be aware of overheads and profit margins, so choosing a fuel source which not only produces superior results on the plate but more palatable figures on their bills is a no-brainer. As well as creating beautiful plates of food, the chefs featured explained why for them, gas is their go to in the kitchen.
Takashi Miyazaki, of the renowned casual Japanese eatery Miyazaki in Cork city, noted that “you need the heat and the flame for flavour and the quality in Japanese cuisine and to create dishes like Dashi, using bonito flakes and kombu.” Considered the most authentic Japanese restaurant in the country, those of us wishing to perfect dishes from the land of the rising sun at home may have to consider making the switch!
In the award-winning Ballymore Inn in Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare, Georgina O’Sullivan is chef/proprietor and runs a kitchen celebrated for producing precise dishes, seamlessly executed and using the best local ingredients. For Georgina, “nothing compares with gas for speed and total control.”
The family-run four star Whitford House hotel has been welcoming guests and diners from nearby Wexford town and beyond for many years, but the Whitty family recently decided to switch to gas for their cooking needs and have never looked back. The team at Whitford House, including Head Chef Siobhan Devereaux Doyle, noted that “we find gas more economical and the temperature is more controllable which lends itself to all styles of cooking.”
Quay Street in Galway city is home to another family-run gem, Martine’s, which has earned itself a reputation for serving delicious freshly prepared dishes crafted with seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Head chef Enda Hoolma prefers to cook with natural gas so he can have “complete control of the heat” when cooking, whether it is local seafood or perfectly flamed seared meat dishes.
Nenagh’s Peppermill Restaurant is run by Robert and Mairead Gill, who both agree that gas is king in their kitchen. Chef Mairead maintains that you just have to have the flame to produce exceptional dishes, and Robert added that “the connection to the network means no more changing cylinders” and noted that gas is cheaper overall – essential for an independent restaurant.
Finally, in the capital, the kitchens in vegetarian Mecca Cornucopia on Wicklow Street are fuelled by natural gas. Head Chef Tony Keogh told us that “temperature and heat distribution are much easier to control with a gas flame. Induction tops take a while to adjust. Gas is instantaneous, which in a very busy kitchen is of utmost importance. If I lower the heat it lowers immediately. Also, if I move the pan or pot from the stove the gas stays on, with an induction hob not so, it will turn off.” For ease of use, speed and precision, Tony is convinced gas is the way to go.
For Tony, gas stoves are also more convenient and economical compared to induction hobs from a perspective you might not have considered, as he notes that “induction hobs require specific expensive cookware and the hobs are also diameter specific. If I use a pot that is too large of a diameter it won’t work.” General Manager Darina McCafferty also added that cooking on natural gas is better for the environment.
For more information on making the switch to natural gas visit www.gasnetworks.ie.