MEET THE CHEFS & TEAMS OF IRELAND’S PROFESSIONAL KITCHENS, WITH CHEF NETWORK
The Chef Network community brings together all chefs across Ireland. In a new regular column featured in the Hotel & Restaurant Times we will meet some of those members and hear from them what inspires and motivates them, their career challenges and opportunities, and how they believe we can improve the industry.
Here's a short extract from our interview with this month's chef - Darina Brennan, Group Executive Chef for Dalata Hotel Group & Member of Chef Network's Chef Advisory Council
BEING A CHEF….
What I love most is… the variety, the people I have met over the year, the Adrenalin of a great service. I just love everything about it, no two days are the same, just getting it done and the buzz of the kitchen, there is something very special and unique about it
The biggest challenge is…we need to attract people in, I think Chef Network will go a long way in helping that because it is such a positive movement. I think us older friends all need to give a little back to the industry, if we did that we would have a better, move positive industry.
Changes – working to take plastic out of the hotels, big challenge but we are going to try and do it, and we will try track our carbon footprint. My challenge is to look at how we can get plastic out of the kitchens. We’re pretty good on food recycling, but big focus on plastic and packing now.
What makes me most proud is… being part of Chef Network makes me very proud actually, and being part of the Commis Chef apprenticeship programme, and our own Head Chef development programme – can’t wait to see our chefs in their caps and gowns at the end of September, some of them left school at a very young age
The most difficult thing I have had to face is…. I suppose the gender imbalance is definitely one of them. It would be great to get more females into kitchens because it does give a lovely balance.
The most rewarding thing I’ve done is….I’ve cooked for some amazing people throughout my career , including some heroes of mine– Desmond Tutu, Irish Rugby Team
The natural high of a great service – once you get that buzz it is really additive, you thrive on it. Still do services in the kitchens on occasion, love being on the pass, can’t step out of the kitchen completely.
I have learned that…to be better person, how to listen, and I’m seeing people come on and develop…that feeling is brilliant
We do a lot on how to motivate, how to be good leader, you have to develop yourself in order to develop others. You have to be consciously developing your own personal skills to be better at what you do and better and bringing others along. Don’t be afraid to learn what your weaknesses are and tackle them.
THE KEY SKILLS OR TRAITS TO HAVE IN THIS JOB ARE…
Discipline, eagerness and willingness to learn,
Cooking is endless, none of us can survive without food
Be open to other cuisines, other cultures,
Come in with a really positive attitude and you will get on really well
WE CAN CREATE A BETTER WORKPLACE BY….
Respecting each other. We've got to remember we are all human and we will make mistakes. Keep a nice calm kitchen. Respect regardless of whether they are the kitchen porter or the head chefs..this is the key to a happy environment
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH DARINA IN HOTEL & RESTAURANT TIMES