By Stephen Hayes posted 23-02-2021 14:19



Meet the chefs & teams of Ireland’s professional kitchens, with Chef Network

The Chef Network community brings together chefs at all levels from all sectors across Ireland. In a Hotel & Restaurant Times regular column we meet some members and hear from them what inspires and motivates them, their career challenges and opportunities, and how they believe we can improve the industry.

In this edition, we meet Stephen Hayes, Head Chef at Cashel Palace Hotel & Mikey Ryans

Why did you become a Chef?

I guess that I became a chef by a mistake, or you could say a series of fortunate events…

As a teen, I went to school in a small all Irish speaking secondary school in Tallaght, Colaiste de hÌde. I think that there was roughly 150 people in the school, no more than 20 students in my class. I really enjoyed being at school with my friends, the craic and mischief that we got up to was epic but the classwork and homework, not so much.

After completing the Junior Cert in 2006, Transition Year (TY) was compulsory, although at that stage I would have much preferred to skip into 5th year and get it over with. In hindsight, Transition Year was probably the most important one. As it was a mixed school, most of the boys took part in the Woodwork class, the girls mainly attended Art or Home Economics, there were a few exceptions but for most this was the norm. In Transition Year the teachers decided to switch it up a little, so I landed myself in Home Ec.

My interests in sewing, knitting and the art and science of home management were not high on the agenda to be honest, but my eyes lit up when we were given the task of making yogurt with a live, active bacteria – this was right up my alley. The whole idea of being self-sufficient hit a cord with me then and has stuck with me ever since. That lead to many cooking classes and learning how to cook; everything from simple curries to brownies and even sherry trifle for Christmas later that year. The fact that the food myself and my cooking partner cooked was far better than the rest of the class really spurred me on, and I was actually looking forward to going to school.

After Transition Year, we moved into 5th year, where we needed to choose which subject’s we would take for our Leaving Cert. Although I really enjoyed the cooking aspect of Home Ec, I knew that my ambition was to work in some way with sport or sports/business, so I decided to choose Business Studies in place of Home Economics. Unfortunately, as only one other student and I chose Business Studies, the class size was too small and wouldn’t work. So, we were left with the choices of Art, Music or Home Ec. We both ended up in the Home Ec class together for the Leaving Cert and we both got on okay. Much better than we would have in Art or Music class I’m sure.

When it came to applying for college courses my first 3 preferences were sports related, Sports Science, Sports and Exercise Management and something similar again. My fourth choice was swayed by the Home Economics class, I decided to chance my arm with Culinary Arts in Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). Fast forward a few months and the results of the Leaving Cert and I didn’t have enough points for the sports related course, and just enough points for Culinary Arts. Initially I wasn’t selected for the course, but with a little help from one of the lecturers that I knew – I was eventually accepted into DIT for a four-year degree course.

That is where it all started really, I never had any intention of becoming a chef but something that I believed was that; If you can cook in Ireland, you can cook in France, Spain or Australia – it’s a skill that you can travel the world with. Also, people were always going to need to eat, so a chef would always have a job. Little did I know the affect that Covid-19 would have on our industry and how things would change so much overnight.



What was your path to where you are today?

Growing up, I spent a lot of time around food. My parents both worked full-time and still do, which meant that I got to spend a lot of time with my grandparents after school. I’m lucky enough to have all four of my grandparents still with us to this day, something that not many 30-year old's can say. During the time that I attended primary school, long before my exposure to the Home Economics classroom, my Nanny Hayes collected me in her little red Toyota and we went home where she cooked wholesome, hearty meals on a daily basis. She made beautiful Irish stews – with chunky carrots, celery and big lumps of floury potatoes, which my Grandad always ate with Worcestershire Sauce or thin brown sauce, as he called it, and lovely lasagnes with thick white sauce and rich red meat – which was always my favourite.

My other Grandmother was the Queen of roasts; Beef, Pork, Bacon, Corned Beef, you name it – these were her specialties. When we visited on the weekends or for dinner of a Sunday, the aromas coming from the kitchen were beyond belief and I always wanted to help, hoping to get a taster of what was to come. Whether it was helping to thicken up the cooking juices with a little corn flour or licking the spoon from the cake batter – I was always involved. These were the moments in time that, unbeknownst to myself, my love for food emerged. Later in life when my Mum’s hours in work lessened, her food also influenced my decisions to pursue a career in cooking. She now makes the most amazing cakes that I have ever seen and could easily make a change in her own career path if she wished.

That was the beginning and after Secondary School, I attended DIT to study Culinary Arts, while also working part-time in The Merrion Hotel. The five-star Merrion Hotel is the most amazing place and has been the training ground for some of Dublin and Ireland’s best chefs. I was lucky enough to arrange an Interview with Ed Cooney, the Executive Chef of the hotel and we met in the Cellar bar, one of many beautiful spaces in the hotel. I remember the interview going very well and I was invited back for a trial, a few days later. As any young chef would be, I was nervous but that’s normal. Fine dice a shallot, chop a bunch of chives, make a Béchamel sauce and make a tomato omelette; the tasks laid out in the trial were pretty straight forward and I felt confident that I could execute each one correctly. With a little advice from the sous-chef, I completed the trial and waited with bated breath for a response from the HR department. Back then there was no real social media or smart phones, so I was checking my emails on the hour, every hour or whenever I had internet access. Eventually, a few a days later there was a reply and I started working there the following week.

I feel that there has been a massive shift in power in this regard in recent times. In my last position as head chef, after interviewing a candidate, I found myself being the one waiting for the reply. Young chefs holding me at ransom, telling me that THEY would get back to me with their decision. When I was starting out, I would have done anything for an opportunity; sacrifice my social life to work a day in the kitchen to learn a new technique, miss out on family occasions or holidays, anything to get some practical experience. And I did. Nowadays I feel that the dedication can be somewhat lacking, which is a pity but at the same time – there is a need for chefs to have a better work/life balance. I’ve began to realise in recent times that there are many things more important than work, the time that you have with friends and family is precious and should be made the most of.

There are certain things that I will never forget about working in The Merrion; the distinctive smell in the corridor between the car park and the kitchen, the nervous anticipation when you find out that the chef had ordered one of your dishes to his office to test it out - lots of fond memories but the main thing that I learnt there was discipline and punctuality. Listening to your superior, I mean actually listening, understanding recipes, being fully prepared to make a certain dish before beginning, how to clean (properly). Now, these skills seem elementary and are implemented out without thinking but by working in such a well-disciplined kitchen these skills are second nature to myself and many other talented chefs that have passed through their doors.

At the end of my second year in College we were told to find a placement outside of Dublin. I had recently travelled to the Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore, Co Waterford with my then girlfriend and the food there completely blew my mind. There was a warm cauliflower PannaCotta as amuse bouche, salmon served under a glass cloche filled with smoke and desserts injected with little pipettes. The House Restaurant was, at that stage the only Michelin starred restaurant outside of Dublin and the only hotel-restaurant with the famous accolade in the little red book. I knew that I was going to do everything in my power to have my placement there. Conveniently both the GM (Adriaan Bartels) and Head Chef (Martijn Kajuiter) had their email addresses posted om the hotel’s website; so, I emailed them both and to my surprise I landed the placement. The first time that I met Martijn was late on a Thursday evening, after I arrived in Ardmore from Dublin. I was shown into the kitchen by one of the managers in the hotel and was met with all 6ft 9in of him, in the middle of what looked like a crazy, hectic service, the likes of what I had never experienced. “Hey, Mr D-I-T, taste this!” he said intensely, as he handed me a small pink puff about the size of a One-euro coin. I don’t think that he even took a breath before anxiously looking for my reply, “Beetroot and blue cheese”, I guessed, and it was close enough. What it was, was a beetroot meringue filled with goat’s cheese, what I would later learn was a signature amuse bouche that almost never came off the menu. After spending 6 weeks in The Cliff House, mainly on the pastry section with another young chef, my placement had come to an end. I must have made a good impression because I was asked to stay and help to run the pastry section for the busy summer period, it was an easy decision and I stayed for another two months. Those two months turned into just over three years. The opportunity to work in at that level meant so much to me and I felt that I could learn so much more in the kitchen than in a classroom in college. I will be eternally grateful to Martijn for the opportunity and for the role that he played in my progression as a chef.

I had worked on every section of the kitchen in Ardmore and then began to look for a new challenge that could further my experience and career. I firmly believe that a chef never stops learning, the moment that I chef proclaims to know it all, is the day they should step out of the kitchen. I was very ambitious at the time and Martijn knew that I was looking for a new challenge, so he put the feelers out with some contacts in his homeland of The Netherlands. Shortly thereafter he approached me and told me that before I left the Cliff House, that he wanted me to go for a stage. A stage, for those not familiar, is like an unpaid internship – usually carried out in a high-end restaurant, something outside of your comfort zone. The payment that you receive is in-fact, the experience of working in such a restaurant and the knowledge that you gain by being involved in creating dishes or adding to a guest’s experience in these such restaurants. Something that money cannot buy. That is why it is important to absorb everything, like a sponge, when you have an opportunity to carry out a stage.

Martijn had arranged for me to go to Restaurant de Librije, in Zwolle; a reasonably large city of about 120,000 inhabitants in the north-east of the Netherlands. De Librije is a three-Michelin starred restaurant, where Jonnie Boer heads up a very progressive kitchen in his hometown. Jonnie and his wife Thérèse, who looks after the front of house, had originally worked in the restaurant before purchasing the building in 1992. One year later, they were acknowledged by Michelin with their 1st star. In 2004 they gained their third star – and joined a very elite group of restaurants in the world. I was so excited to go and work for two weeks in such an amazing restaurant – I had looked at a lot of videos and read some articles about de Librije and was really impressed. Having a head chef from the Netherlands, we often spoke about Jonnie Boer, along with Sergio Herman, another amazing 3-star chef from his homelands, so for me to go to work with him was very exciting.

I was lucky enough to have Martijn accompany me to the Netherlands, I stayed for one night in his family home and the following day I was dropped off at a B&B in Zwolle. I was told to enjoy myself and wished good luck. Later that day I did a made a plan for the following morning where I was due to start at 7.30am, and I did NOT want to be late. So much so, that I was outside the kitchen entrance the following morning at 6.45am – I find punctuality very important, perhaps THE most important basic life skill that there is and also, I wanted to make a good impression. Two weeks flew past in the kitchen of de Librije where I encountered flavours, recipes and equipment that I never knew existed. I must have made a good impression as they wanted me to start on a full-time basis, the following month… As it happened, there was a lot going on back in Ardmore, three or four chefs in the kitchen – including Martijn (the executive chef) and the head chef Kwanghi, all had new children on the way and all due around the same time. I had a commitment to the Cliff House, and I stayed on and covered parental leave etc over that summer period. I finished at the end of August and started in de Librije in the first week of September.

 I stayed in The Netherlands for just under 18 months, it was a great learning curve and an amazing experience. There was no shouting in the kitchen, the discipline was there but without the need for aggression or anger. You were expected to do your job and if you made a mistake, your sous-chef or head chef would be disappointed or let down. I picked up enough basic Dutch to survive in the kitchen which was helpful, and I also managed to move around between three different sections in the kitchen. I decided to come back to Ireland as it was difficult for me to progress any further than my position at that time – as a foreigner in that kind of kitchen, there is only so far that you can go without fully understanding the in’s and out’s of the country’s culture, the language and their culinary history. I returned to Ireland, to the Cliff House – where I went back into the kitchen as a sous chef. I worked my way up to head chef over 4 years until I decided that it was time to step out from the shadows of previous head chefs and to put my own name on the map.

The new project is the Cashel Palace Hotel, where I will again have the opportunity to work alongside Adriaan Bartels. The renovation is well under way and we hope to be open in the summer of 2021 after some set-backs due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Adriaan and myself are currently operating at Mikey Ryan’s Bar & Kitchen; a busy, exciting gastropub under the same ownership as the hotel. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what the future holds…


What is the most important ingredient in your success to date?

There are certain things in life that I see as necessities, the “non-negotiable’s”. Most of these traits or life skills, require no skill, no talent – they just need to happen. Firstly, as mentioned above – punctuality. One of the first lessons that I was thought in life was to be on time, if you can’t be on time for work, meetings, school etc. then you are setting yourself up to fail. It costs nothing to be on time, and anybody reading this article knows that I am a very punctual person. I always come prepared and usually 5-10mins early.

Having a good work ethic is essential in this industry and others; from an early age and still to this day I see the work ethic of my father and strive to come close one day. When I was younger, from around 8 years old until 18 or so, I would spend all of my free time working with my Dad in his motorcycle store. On Saturday mornings when I wasn’t in school or when I had a half-day during the week, I always wanted to work there. I remember when I was younger that I always wanted to finish as many jobs as possible in the time I spent there. I quickly learned that it was not the amount of jobs, rather the quality of work put into each job that counted, no matter how long it took. I could spend an hour washing and polishing a bike, but he would be quick to point out that although the bike was gleaming, that I had forgotten the speed dial or the mirrors – the first place most motorcyclists would look. Along with hoovering, cleaning and general running around – it was a really great place to learn important life lessons. Working with the public from such a young age was good for me and I recommend everyone does it once in their lives.

I would also have to say that I would not be where I am today without the support of my family and close friends. My parents have always supported me with difficult decisions that I needed to make and have always had my best interests at heart. Recently my partner Eimear and I, welcomed our first child into the world. Since our daughter Doireann was born I think that I have a very different outlook of life, a more simplified version of what is important and what is not. The time off that we both had during the recent lockdowns was a real eye-opener. To spend time at home, just the three of us was a treasure. The time spend with my daughter, watching her grow up in front of my eyes is something that I will cherish forever.

Tell us about the team you work with

Mikey Ryan’s is an ever-evolving restaurant, after extensive renovations almost four years ago we are quickly coming terms with the beast that it is. It is sometimes hard to believe that we are a small restaurant in Co. Tipperary, the number of guests that passed through our doors pre-covid were astonishing. We have a diverse team in the kitchen and front of house, some that have been there from the very beginning and others that joined the journey along the way.

In the kitchen Darren Quinlan is the head chef, he has been part of the team from the very beginning – working his way through the ranks from chef de partie to head chef. Séafra Meehan, the sous-chef is also a long serving staff member of the team in Mikey’s and both men have a vast knowledge of the amazing local produce found on our doorstep here in Cashel. Along with myself, we have a great working relationship with local producers in Cashel and slightly further afield in the rest of Tipperary. We work closely with the Tipperary Food Producers, a select group of artisan growers, farmers & suppliers of some of the best foods and drinks in the country. Recently we have added a brunch offering to the menu in Mikey Ryan’s, here we showcase some of the above producers in our Full Tipp’ Breakfast with is made up of – The Butcher’s Daughter’s Sausages, Crowe’s Farm Bacon, Inch House Pudding, Magner’s Farm Eggs and our own homemade hash browns.

Liam O’Toole is the long-serving restaurant manager and Eddie Hales is the bar manager of Mikey’s – two very important cogs in the wheels of the machine that keeps us pushing onwards and upwards. The knowledge that both Liam and Eddie have of wine and spirits is astounding and their ability to understand the tailored needs of each guest is done so effortlessly, a trait that is hard to come by in the industry these days.

 As well as Darren and Séafra in the kitchen we have; Ben from New Zealand, Julien from Lyon and Jaco from South Africa, as well as our pastry team of Diana from Latvia and Monika from Poland. Along with the team above we have a great team of kitchen porters with a special mention to Rima, without her – the place would fall apart, her work ethic and dedication is second to none.

We work as a team – and like all teams, you win together and lose together, you take the good times with the bad. In the past 12 months we have faced some of the toughest challenges that our industry has ever faced, but we faced them head on, with a positive attitude. We have so far been closed down three times due to this vicious virus but upon reopening we have worked with each other and for one another. Not one member of staff has complained about have to work a little harder or with a little less staff as we are all in the same boat, we are all very lucky to have our jobs and to be earning some money for our families. Our employers have been great through all of the struggles and thankfully upon the previous two re-openings we have managed to hold on to all of our great staff,

Now with the restaurant closed for the foreseeable future - the senior management team keep in touch weekly with a Zoom meeting every Friday. There is never too much to report but it keeps us connected and this is most important in these testing times. But we stay positive in hope that sooner rather than later – things will slowly start to resemble normality again.


Have you seen a negative side to the industry?

Every industry has their pro’s and con’s. I have found myself on numerous occasions in life scribbling down on a scrap of paper and listing the pro’s and con’s or certain situations, whether it’s moving house or starting a new job – I find it one of the simplest and most effective ways to make a decision. Of course, the hospitality industry has its negatives and without doubt many have suffered them, and if you haven’t suffered the negatives of the industry – they have been widely publicised down the years. Long unsociable hours, difficult working conditions, missing out on important life events, toxic environments and low pay. These things can be said of many industries – if your calling in life is to be a nurse, please don’t be tricked into the impression there is no negative side to that industry.; or a barrister for example – you can forget about birthdays, holidays or enjoying family time. If you want to make a career for yourself, rather than to simply have a job – there are sacrifices that you will take along the way.

Yes, I have worked with chefs that shout and scream – I’ve even been one of those chefs at one point, it is not something that I am proud of but when you work somewhere where this is happening all around you, all day long, it begins to seem like the norm. As if this is what is happening in every other kitchen in the world. But it is not. It couldn’t be further from the truth and is simply WRONG. What is important is that you build a relationship with your team – rather than dictate to them, you need your team to trust you, not to fear you. And you need to be able to trust your team; no chef can do it alone, no matter what they tell you! Look at Gordon Ramsay, Alain Ducasee or Martin Berasategui – they all have teams of chefs working for them that they have built up a relationship with down the years. You cannot run multiple restaurants or corporations by yourself – you need your team and you need to trust your team.

On the flip side – I have worked in one of the best restaurants in the world where nobody raised their voices. You had a task and were expected to carry out that task to the highest of standards. Sometimes mistakes were made, not often though – but when you made a mistake you were annoyed at yourself because you let them team down, let yourself down, let the high standards slip; if even just for a moment. I felt that there were times when guys should have gotten dressed down for the mistakes that they made, but that just wasn’t the way that that specific kitchen was run.

As I said previously – every industry has its flaws. You have to take the good times with the bad and keep going relentlessly, absorb the knowledge that is all around – because you never stop learning. Being a chef is an excellent career in my opinion. You can travel the world with the basic skills. If you can fry an egg in Limerick then why not in Lyon or Lisbon, if you can roast a chicken in Cork, why not in Ciaro or in Chicago???

In some countries, military service is compulsory for a certain period of time, whether it’s for six months or for one year in some cases, they call it conscription. I believe that in developed countries it should be compulsory for everyone to work in a public service for at least one year.  Dealing with the public and their daily demands would make everyone understand how difficult every public service job is and make people realise what we are up against. Given the use of technology in the world today – I find people lacking the ability to fend for themselves out there in the world. Basic skills like cooking, cleaning and organising are no longer so simple and this worries me.

The Chef Network Kitchen Charter aims to create a positive and nurturing work environment in kitchens, which point(s) on the charter do you feel are most important and how do you implement these in your own kitchen/business?

The Chef Network Kitchen Workplace Charter is a great initiative – for me it highlights everything that is true about a kitchen team and how each kitchen should ideally be run on a day-to-day basis. I find it difficult to pick one point over another but here are the ones that I feel most important;

Giving equal respect to everyone – this similar to something that I mentioned previously. This is a a non-negotiable! Say hello to everyone, introduce yourself, shake hands (well not given the current circumstances), say thank you, be kind to one another. If there is a new member of staff, show them the kitchen or have someone in the team do it. Show them your menus or some pictures of the dishes that are currently on the menus. If there is someone that is shy or quiet – try and include them in the conversation, give everyone equal opportunity to contribute to the end product.

Create a safe, open environment – allow staff to express themselves and most importantly listen to what they have to say. If you are in a position to give feedback, ensure that it is constructive; if I had a Euro for the amount of times I’ve heard chefs tell others that something is shit or not up to scratch without giving them an answer as to how to resolve the issue – I would be a rich man… Also, no matter what stage of your career you have reached, you too need to be able to take feedback onboard – you have a sous-chef and a team of chefs working under your ideal, working for you to push boundaries – if they make a suggestion or criticism of a dish or ingredient, then listen and take it on board.

Meeting & communicating with the team – this is the key ingredient to any successful team, communication. It is also a basic life skill that doesn’t require any talent whatsoever. Have daily briefings with the kitchen and front of house teams. Discuss the day ahead or the week ahead – whatever works best for your team. I would sit down every morning with the team and go over any VIP’s, special guests, dietary requirements or special occasions for the day ahead. We would have a coffee, sometimes somebody would bring cakes etc and everyone would have an opportunity to have their say; if something was wrong, if we needed to order something, if there was an issue that needed to be reported to maintenance etc. I truly believe that speaking to people face-to-face is the best way to resolve any issues that there may be – it also brings the team closer together.


What is the most important lesson you have learned about being a leader in the kitchen?

Being the head chef or the leader in the kitchen can be a lonely place sometimes. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the role is based in the kitchen, cooking wonderful food for wonderful guests. That’s not even the tip of the iceberg, being a head chef also means being a number of things;

A babysitter to young newcomers in the world of hospitality.

A therapist to troubled chefs, with whom you spend more time with than with your family.

A career guidance counsellor for those that don’t think they are cut out for the industry.

A motivator to keep everyone on track and moving in the right direction.

A health and safety maestro as well as a food hygiene master.

A mathematician – working with tiny margins, making huge profits.

A disciplinarian, ensuring that staff stick to strict guidelines and deadlines.


The list goes on but what I’m getting at is, that being a leader in a kitchen is more than just that. In most kitchens your team are like a family, and you spend more time there than you do with your own family. So, make your workplace a pleasant environment, make it a happy place and more than anything, make it a place where the staff want to come to work each day. There is nothing worse than waking up in the morning and spending anywhere between 10-18 hours in a place that you simply don’t want to be. I know. I’ve been in that position.

For me, going forward, and with the new project in the Cashel Palace Hotel – we want to make it a place that people WANT to be. That people wake up in the morning and say “You know what? I can’t wait to go to work today!”. The notions of old school kitchens where pots and pans are thrown about in a rage or chefs are belittling their juniors are gone. There is simply no place for that anymore within the industry or within greater society.

So, be kind to one another and work through any issues that you may have with each other. If you have a strong team that are invested in a common goal, there is no issue too big that cannot be tackled with words rather than actions.



What I love most is… Sundays – I have generally taken Sundays off in the past as most restaurants close on that day. I enjoy spending the time recovering from what may have been a busy week, reading the newspaper and relaxing with my family. The recent lockdowns have opened my eyes to being at home and going forward it would be great to have more of it.

The biggest challenge is… Covid-19 – Currently this is the biggest obstacle in the way of a booming hospitality industry in this country. Other than that, it is the training and retention of chefs; people see TV shows and think that cooking is a glamorous job, but they soon find out that it’s hard work as are most. I was once told by a chef that they were more interested in the plating up rather than the food preparation. Whilst another asked why we couldn’t just use Rice Krispies instead of puffing our own rice.

What makes me most proud is… Doireann – My daughter was born on August 24th 2019, since she arrived my life has been changed forever. The time that I’ve been able to spend with her over the past 12 months has been something I could have never dreamed of and will be forever grateful for. 

In the kitchen; being part of a team that gained 4 AA rosettes as well as retaining our status as a Michelin starred restaurant are right up there.

The most difficult thing I have had to face is…. Not being listened to. It is difficult to work alongside someone for such a long time for them to turn around one day and stop taking your advice onboard.

The most rewarding thing I’ve done is…. Move on to pastures new. It is always difficult to leave a job, especially somewhere that you have worked for a long, long time but it has to be done. I’m currently working on a new project with some great people, where I can put my own ideas down on paper and hope that I can make a name for myself.

I have learned that… You cannot do it alone. No matter how good a chef you may be or how many hours of the day you spend in the kitchen, without a great team working in the same direction, you are never going to reach any goals by yourself.


THE KEY SKILLS OR TRAITS TO HAVE IN THIS JOB ARE… Punctuality, determination and persistence.

WE CAN CREATE A BETTER WORKPLACE BY…. Being kind to one another

WE CAN MAKE OUR BUSINESSES BETTER BY…. Setting goals and targets. Communicating with each other

MY ADVICE TO CHEFS STARTING OUT IS….. Stick with it, it isn’t easy, but it will be worth it in the end.

MY ADVICE TO CHEFS TRYING TO PROGRESS THEIR CAREER IS…. Travel, work abroad and give it time. Spend at least 1 year in any role that you commit to, unless something is not right…

MY ADVICE TO ANY CHEF OPENING THEIR OWN PLACE/SETTING UP A BUSINESS IS… Take time out for your family and friends. Work to live, don’t live to work. Your family may not always be around so, make time for them, while they still are.


MY BIGGEST INSPIRATION IS – Nature and everything that is around us all.

MY FAVOURITE JOB EVER – Making Pomme soufflées in de Librije.

MY FAVOURITE PLACE TO EAT – Casual – 777, Dublin. Posh – One Pico, Dublin. Sunday’s – Campagne, Kilkenny.

MY FAVOURITE THING TO EAT – Anything that comes from the sea.

MY FAVOURITE DISH ON OUR MENU – Skeaghanore Duck, Sweet Potato & Brussel Sprouts

MY FAVOURITE PIECE OF KIT – My Wusthof carving knife. I use it for everything.

SOMETHING I WOULD LIKE TO LEARN – How to play a musical instrument other than the tin-whistle.

HOW TO KEEP OR ATTRACT STAFF – By allowing them to grow.

*We are also looking to hire staff for The Cashel Palace Hotel which is due to open later this year. We are looking for both kitchen staff and front of house staff. If you would be interested please contact me at *


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