From Culinary Arts to Owning Their Own Restaurant – Meet The Chefs Behind Peachtree East
Tallaght natives Paul Phillips and Derek Hall studied Culinary Arts together in IT Tallaght. Following their graduation from the course, they eventually realised their dream of opening their own restaurant, Peachtree East.
From washing pots in kitchens during the summer months, the pair advanced into chef whites and experienced “the natural progression into commis chef”:
“We have worked in restaurants and hotels all over Dublin and Leinster. We both got involved in culinary competitions and represented Ireland in the likes of Germany, Luxembourg, London and Scotland. In total, we have amassed over 50 medals and awards between us.”
With an average day at Peachtree East beginning at 8am and finishing around 10 or 11pm, Derek and Paul have got their days down to a fine art:
“Our concept is relaxed casual dining with an emphasis on flavour, quality and originality. Our team is young and we like to keep things fresh and interesting.”
Peachtree East is located in Tallaght, which has turned out to be a benefit rather than a hindrance to the cooking duo:
“We opened in August 2016 and have been lucky enough to have been a hit straight away. Being from Tallaght, we felt we could bring something fresh and different to the area and thankfully, our ethos has been really well received.”
We are extremely grateful to all of the local businesses and the regular customers who use our eatery.
The chefs describe the food on offer at Peachtree East as “simple”, but state that “a lot of thought goes into producing and designing our dishes. Everything is prepared on site, so we’re kept busy. Most of all, our food is balanced and tasty.”
Describing popular dishes on their menu, the chefs say: “Our beef cheek is our best seller and really is popular with our guests. We sell a serious amount of rolled ham hock, be it in Eggs Benedict at brunch or with crispy egg and broad beans at dinner. Also, our buttermilk pancakes with maple and bacon ice cream are a hit at breakfast.”
Utilising local produce is of great importance to Paul and Derek, who source products from a number of producers like Doyle’s, M&K Meats in Rathcoole, Keelings and Kish Fish.
While the least enjoyable part of their work is undoubtedly the “80-hour weeks”, there are more rewarding aspects to their job (though the long work hours are also rewarding for the pair):
“We have an open kitchen, so looking out at the restaurant when it’s busy and seeing people enjoying themselves is the most rewarding part. Also, having the freedom to do our own thing with the menus is wonderful.”
While the duo admit that it’s “extremely hard” to maintain a work-life balance, they are “lucky enough to have great support from family and friends. We close on Mondays, so that’s when we head out for a bite to eat and just relax.”
Paul also advises aspiring young chefs to work hard and that their dreams of becoming a chef are within reach if they are willing to put the effort in.
Be ready to work hard, listen and take notes. Don’t get into this game unless you really love food and are willing to work for it.
Looking to the future and the pair hope to continue their successes, with Paul saying: “We would be delighted if we could keep on the upward curve we’re on at the moment. Once we can keep true to our ethos, the rest should look after itself.”
Sarah has always had a great love of travel, food and photography. Following her journalism degree at DCU, she developed a passion for travel writing while living in Spain.
Sarah loves exploring new places and sampling the local cuisine. Working with TheTaste.ie combines her love of food and travel.
A big people person, especially when it comes to hearing other people’s stories, Sarah loves interviewing chefs, food producers and more.