The King at The Falls – Sheen Falls’ Head Chef Cormac McCreary
Sheen Falls Lodge is a stunning 5-star property located just outside the town of Kenmare, Co. Kerry. The perfect base for a bit of relaxation while exploring the Wild Atlantic Way, Sheen Falls Lodge overlooks the picturesque waterfall of the same name.
For an experience you won’t soon forget, many visitors often combine their stay with dinner in the 2AA Rosette restaurant, which is headed up by Head Chef Cormac McCreary.
“When I was 16, I got a job in a pub working as a Kitchen Porter and I fell in love with the kitchen. From then on, all I wanted to be was a chef.”
Cormac began his career in the food industry as an apprentice in The K Club, before moving to the Gordan Ramsay restaurant in Powerscourt Hotel.
From there, he did a stint in Castle Leslie before deciding to “broaden my horizons” by working in “a small 1-star restaurant called Reads in the UK, then for Michael Caines in Canterbury and the Ritz in London.”
Recalling some of his earliest experiences with food, he says: “I always remember baking apple tarts with my mother. We used to do it every Sunday as a family and that’s what food should be about – family and bringing people together.”
With a menu rich in local produce, The Falls Restaurant at Sheen Falls Lodge is a dining experience that will give you a real taste of Ireland and the Wild Atlantic Way.
Describing the food on offer in The Falls Restaurant, Cormac explained that they “cook seasonally here”, matching the ever-changing menu to the seasons of the year.
We use as much local produce as we can and we create our dishes from this produce.
Describing some of his favourite dishes on the menu, Cormac highlighted “a beautiful Carrigcleana duck”, which is served with beetroot and blackberry and “it’s definitely my favourite dish at the moment”.
A great dish often compromises of some excellent produce, something with which Cormac describes with great pride: “Of course, we are very lucky where we are situated. There are so many artisan suppliers in the area.”
“We use everything from local eggs from Beara and local sausages from Peter O’Sullivan in Sneem to Lee Strand in Tralee for our milk and St. Tola for our goat’s cheese.”
Moving to his own personal experiences in the industry, Cormac admits that “the service side and the cooking in the heat when you’re under pressure” used to be his favourite part of the job, especially when you consider the “satisfaction you get when you have a perfect service”.
But now, Cormac loves “seeing young chefs develop” and states that this part of his job “gives me the most satisfaction”.
He adds: “It’s my responsibility as a head chef to make sure that I pass on my knowledge and teach the next generation.”
Speaking about how he manages his work/life balance, Cormac maintains that while the industry is “tough”, they all manage to get their two days off:
“Being a chef might seem unsociable to the general public, but most of us go the gym in the morning and sometimes we meet in Kenmare for breakfast.”
On this note, Cormac advised that any aspiring chefs “get into a good kitchen with a good chef because that’s how you will learn” and great work experience is vital.
Looking to the future and Cormac is, like many, excited to keep up-to-date with the newly awarded restaurants in Cork, something he thinks is “fantastic for Ireland and especially the south west”.
In terms of Sheen Falls Lodge, Cormac assures us that “there’s a lot happening here at the moment and next year will be a big one for us”. Well, we’ll just have to wait and see what the team at Sheen Falls have lined up for 2019.
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.
Named Best Break Out Travel Writer at the 2018 Travel Media Awards, 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.