Blogs

At our second annual future-proofing foodservice seminar in September 2019, we heard from a range of speakers on the topic of sustainability in our kitchens. During the seminar, our speakers, Philippe Farineau & Paula Stakelum from Ashford Castle (with help & support from Ailish Keane (Ashford Castle Estate Purchasing Manager) and Sorcha Kavanagh from the Conscious Cup Campaign, focussed on what we can do across our kitchens and businesses to reduce plastics and single-use disposables. Here are their top pieces of advice and insights into this topic.   BACK TO THE OLD It’s only in recent years that we’ve begun to depend more heavily on ...
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Last week Sarah talked about the start of her chef journey. If you haven’t seen that yet, you can click here to read part 1 A BIT ABOUT ME Hi! I’m Sarah Mitchell, a 23-year-old, first-year culinary arts student at TU Dublin, Tallaght Campus. I started my culinary arts journey a few years back in Galway, but for personal reasons that didn’t quite go to plan. Now I’m starting over. In Autumn of 2019 I joined TU Dublin, Tallaght as a first-year culinary arts student, ready to start fresh and begin my journey again. As I mentioned in my earlier blog for Chef Network, I’m in a completely different place now compared to when I first started ...
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INTRODUCING MYSELF Hi! My name is Sarah Mitchell and I’m a 23-year-old, first-year culinary arts student at TU Dublin, Tallaght Campus. Cooking has always played a big role in my life. My mother was a chef in Intel before I came along and my grandmother, I would say is locally famous for her apple tarts, and rightly so because they are amazing! When I began to think about becoming a chef, I knew I would have big shoes to fill. I loved baking and cooking at home. Although in the beginning, I burned everything! MY FIRST JOB At the age of 16, I worked in a little café in my local town. It was only for two weeks, as part of my Transition ...
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KITCHEN CULTURE 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 Mark Anderson, Culinary Director for Gather & Gather Ireland and a member of the Chef Network Advisory Council . Mark was one of the first members of Chef Network and has been actively involved in its creation ...
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Vegan food from a non-vegan chefs' point of view I started my journey as a vegan chef 3 years ago. When I was offered to take over the kitchen in The Hopsack - an institution in the Irish health food scene since 1979 - my knowledge of vegan cuisine came from the Lent menus in Greece. The Greek Orthodox Church applies a different concept to Lent to their Catholic counterparts. Instead of banning chocolate and wine, they stick to advising the believers not to consume meat or dairy product for 40 days before Easter. Then, for Easter, everybody feasts on whole lamb cooked over embers on a spit. For restaurants, this period means that a lot of recipes ...
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Tempering chocolate in a restaurant kitchen is often difficult because conditions are often not optimal for working with chocolate. So, what are the conditions for creating the perfect result? And what are the smart tips and tricks to successfully temper chocolate? We teamed up with Gastronomixs.com and they share all you need to know about chocolate and how to work with it with the help of master patissier Hidde de Brabander! The components of chocolate  The basic ingredients in chocolate are cocoa beans, cocoa butter, and sugar. Dark chocolate contains a high percentage of cocoa-based components. In addition to sugar and cocoa-based ingredients, ...
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Right now, we are living a large part of our lives online. Reading and watching the news, getting social media updates, chatting with loved ones of Houseparty or Whats App; holding meetings with colleagues or learning online via ZOOM...   Increasingly, we find our diversions online too - at least while restrictions on social interaction to tackle the spread of COVID-19 remain in place. We're listening to podcasts and audiobooks; watching Netflix and Disney+. In the same way, we consume food - we are consuming information - and just like we pay attention to what we eat - being aware of our 'MINDfood' is also vital.   What we read, watch, ...
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From a very young age, Niall was to be found ‘sneaking in’ to the kitchens and was kept busy peeling prawns under the watchful and encouraging eye of the chefs in his father’s restaurant. He trained as a chef while still in school and at age 15 went off to France to work in a professional kitchen, later moving on to train & work in various establishment across the world. But Niall has also been born and raised with the sea. He spent his childhood raking for cockles, picked mussels and catching mackerel. It was ‘second nature’ for him to eat the fresh seafood available around him. His connection with the sea sparked a ‘mission to remind everyone ...
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Noel Keane of Croí Restaurant in Tralee embarked on his ‘grow your own’ journey in 2018. Two years later his garden supplies most the salads and herbs for his restaurant as well as a large variety of vegetables and berries. In this blog, Noel talks about some of the ups and downs of growing your own, how it has changed his cooking and increased his focus on sustainability, and his ambitions to soon be fully supplying his restaurant from his garden. It all started quite simply. The herbs I was getting were either imported or the varieties I wanted were hard to source, so I was only meant to have a small herb garden starting off. That was the original ...
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Margaret started her career in Cathal Brugha Street where she completed a professional cookery course and Culinary Arts degree. During her time in college, she also spent time working in the Merrion Hotel, in the pastry section along with Paul Kelly. After working in the Merrion for nearly 4 years, Margaret moved to the Waterside Inn, where she met Mr.Roux and spent the next 3 years, before leaving to travel. Since then she has been the head chef in Hugo's Restaurant in Dublin, worked in The Wild Honey Inn in Clare and is currently working in The Brooklodge and Macreddin Village as a senior chef de partie. _________________________________________________________ ...
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