Blogs

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Personal Wellbeing - DEALING WITH STRESS – A two-part blogpost Stress is a normal part of everyday life, and, as we discussed in Part 1 , in and of itself – stress in small amounts, is not always bad, and is in fact a necessary function of life. However, not everyone experiences stress or responds to (real or perceived) stressors in the same way.   Often we don’t even recognize that we are “stressed” or being negatively impacted until it’s too late and we burnout, or get sick – sometimes seriously ill – as chronic stress has been linked to hypertension, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, anxiety and depression.   Part 2 - STRESS - Can’t ...
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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 ...
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Chef Network is working on a range of initiatives that address ways that we can improve our industry. One area we are looking at is improving the health and wellness of chefs and later this year we will run a series of practical workshops on this topic. In the run-up, Wellness Coach Maria Caldwell will share a series of short blogposts with practical tips on dealing with stress and improving health & wellness. Please do share your own thoughts, tips and feedback in our   Health & Wellness discussion thread Personal Wellbeing - DEALING WITH STRESS – A 2 part blogpost In every article, book, course, documentary about wellbeing and wellness ...
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Saving a Planet

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“ Sustainability, Local food, Seasonal, Fresh, No waste, Education, better farming ” These are all words that we hear about every day in our kitchens, read about in newspapers, magazines and social media. Sometimes you can feel that they are just buzz words that people use and with very little practice or in some cases chefs would like to do more but can’t, depending on where they work and how that business is managed. But what if I said that the planet is running out of time and chefs can play a major part in fixing a broken food system? Would you then want to do more? As chefs we can influence the public in what to eat, when to eat it and why. We ...
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What makes a good leader and what is the best way to manage your staff?   Is it a case of tough love and a firm hand in charge?  The head chef you were terrified of and yet respected at the same time.  Or should you lead by example; don’t ask any of your team to do a job you would not be willing to do yourself if necessary, surely every one of us have done a stint in the wash up when needed?  In my opinion, there doesn’t seem to be a definitive right or wrong answer to this question and the requirements seem to change on a regular basis, all depending on the kitchen and the team within it.   Every kitchen has its own dynamics and surely it is ...
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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 -   Laura Dent, Sous Chef at LinkedIn for Gather&Gather BEING A CHEF…. What I love most is… when you take on something challenging and you're not sure if it is going ...
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LOCAL AND SEASONAL???

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LOCAL AND SEASONAL???   Every restaurant in Ireland seems to be shouting about the above 3 words, but what does it all mean? I have eaten out of season Grouse in Dublin, Mackerel in Clare, and Strawberries everywhere! I have seen restaurants with ‘local’ written on the window serving prawns from Asia, eel from France, and more recently have noticed ‘Honestly Irish potatoes’ from Israel! Environmental Health Officers have been told to crack down on the origin of food in the kitchen, but seem too caught up in regulations and red tape to see the woods from the trees (‘ you need to write on your menu that the beef is of Irish origin, I don’t care if you have ...
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Chef Network is working on a range of initiatives that address ways that we can improve our industry. One area we are looking at is improving the health and wellness of chefs and later this year we will run a series of practical workshops on this topic. In the run-up, Wellness Coach Maria Caldwell will share a series of short blogposts with practical tips on dealing with stress and improving health & wellness. Please do share your own thoughts, tips and feedback in our   Health & Wellness discussion thread POWERING DOWN & RECHARGING Most of us – myself included – rely nowadays on our mobile phone for pretty much everything – from chatting ...
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People always try to make the most of what they buy so food shouldn’t be any different, especially ingredients coming into your kitchen everyday. Making use of the entire produce is not as difficult as it may seem; us, chefs, do it on a daily basis to a certain extent, it is in our nature to save the peelings for stock, or gathering heals and crusts of bread crumbs for bread and butter pudding. Nowadays, more and more chefs are coming up with ingenious ways to make the most of food byproducts using modern techniques but for me, the old approaches are the best; the way people did it hundreds of years ago, preserving their food with methods such ...
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Chef Network is working on a range of initiatives that address ways that we can improve our industry. One area we are looking at is improving the health and wellness of chefs and later this year we will run a series of practical workshops on this topic. In the run-up, Wellness Coach Maria Caldwell will share a series of short blogposts with practical tips on dealing with stress and improving health & wellness. Please do share your own thoughts, tips and feedback in our   Health & Wellness discussion thread From The Ground Up As we go through our day to day activity – we rarely stop to think about everything that happens in our bodies in ...
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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 -   Michelle Crehan, Chef/Proprietor of The Kitchen at Galway Museum BEING A CHEF…. What I love most is… the delight of when someone takes their first bite of something delicious. ...
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This blog comes from Head Chef Johnny Harvey, who has recently experienced 'the other side' , working in an office job on internship (with Chef Network!) and finds himself comparing life in the kitchen with a Mon-Fri office environment, which brings up some big questions about job satisfaction and workplace wellness... and some painful memories. Working 9-5 I am currently a 4 th year student in Culinary Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and as part of the course I am partaking in an internship with the Chef Network. In the beginning I was unsure as to what to expect, as I would be completely out of my comfort zone but I listened and learned how marketers ...
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Chef Network is working on a range of initiatives that address ways that we can improve our industry. One area we are looking at is improving the health and wellness of chefs and later this year we will run a series of practical workshops on this topic. In the run-up, Wellness Coach Maria Caldwell will share a series of short blogposts with practical tips on dealing with stress and improving health & wellness. Please do share your own thoughts, tips and feedback in our Health & Wellness discussion thread Just Breathe! How many times have we said this to someone who's having a bad day - whether they're angry, or sad, or in a stressful situation? ...
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My REACTION to Food on the Edge - And the ACTION I'll Take  I had a strong curiosity and desire to attend Food On The Edge 2017, but a packed up calendar with work engagements had me thinking that work and responsibilities were a priority. Then, I've received the news that Chef Network will have me as their guest... plans quickly shifted and I was lucky enough that my partner in business offered to cover for me on the 2 days of the symposium. I won't deny that taken 2 days off in a very busy schedule, came with guilt and excitement at the same time. But I was open to enjoy every experience and every lesson learned at FOTE 2017. My very first ...
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I’ve searched high and low for information, articles, stories from people who’ve went to college in Ireland and studied Culinary Arts, there is not much at all to be found! Whether or not it’s the fact there’s not many success stories, or people just don’t want to share them, I really don’t know. I didn’t always want to be a chef. Infact, I didn’t even think about becoming a chef until just over a year ago. Until I fell in love with the restaurant industry, the waves and the rush that comes with a service, pleasing the customer and all that comes with it, I’d worked in various cafés, restaurants over the last couple of years (a good few of them, due to impulsivity/ ...
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THE TRIALS, TRIBULATIONS, AND TRIUMPHS OF SUSTAINABLE SOURCING I started cooking in Germany when I was 17. The way Germany approaches the economics of kitchen waste and recycling was way ahead of any other country. Every bit of waste was recycled or sorted in some way. A sustainable restaurant always made sense to me, but there was one turning point a few years back that solidified my mentality. A big volcanic eruption in Iceland disrupted the industry – ash covered crops and caused some to fail, while planes were temporarily halted and importing ingredients became impossible. Up until then, we had been mindlessly importing things, purchasing ingredients ...
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In our latest Chef's Blog , Luke Ahearne, Chef de Partie at the Clove Club, London, talks about why he made the move to work away from Ireland, building his knowledge by eating out, and the importance of setting goals and knowing where you want to go.   A while back, during a holiday in London, I stopped for a meal at one of London’s world-renowned restaurants: The Clove Club. This was long before beginning work there, but since then things have come full circle – I started by having lunch, and it was during that meal I decided I wanted to work there. Now it is approaching the one-year mark since I moved and took a position as Chef de Partie at ...
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As a Pastry chef who works closely with Cacao Barry (one of the most well known high-quality chocolate brands for the artisan industry and organiser of the most prestigious chocolate competition in the world, the World Chocolate Masters) one of the things that came up during meetings with the colleagues from abroad is that Ireland is rarely involved at the sharp end of pastry competitions. So when the Junior Chocolate Masters - probably one of the most intense chocolate/pastry competitions around for chefs under 25 - came around again, I was determined to get an Irish entry. In the end, I managed to get not one but two pastry chefs selected to take ...
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LinkedIn   for Chefs - How to Build the Best Online Profile    We at Gather&Gather were truly delighted to host the recent Chef Network #KitchenCulture event with our colleagues at  LinkedIN . Working with LinkedIn has been a really exciting journey so far for Gather&Gather and we are really proud of what we have achieved with them.   At the event, as well as having a great discussion amongst chefs about improving the culture in our professional kitchens and a presentation on Chef Network’s future plans and partnership opportunities, we had a presentation from LinkedIn themselves with tips for chefs on using their LinkedIn profile.  ...
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Without collaboration and conversation, the food industry falls flat. It is essential to confront the issues facing the industry and debate solutions to them – and that is exactly what more than 80 Chefs and suppliers did at #KitchenCulture . A panel featuring four experienced and innovative Chefs led the discussion. Chef JP McMahon of Aniar Restaurant and Food on the Edge participated alongside Ireland's Chef of the Year Danni Barry of Deane's Epic. Also joining the discussion were Gather&Gather's Mark Anderson and Dalata Hotel Group's Darina Brennan. These chefs shared what motivated them every day, debated how to recruit and train incoming chefs, ...
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