Blogs

If you told me 17 years ago about social media and food, I wouldn’t have had a clue about either. I’ve always appreciated food; my parents are both great cooks in their own ways. Old and battered cookbooks from Lima, Peru and Stornoway, Scotland were always in my kitchen. My first stint in a kitchen 17 years ago was an accident. I worked at the bar and it was clear it wasn’t for me. I was told to go to the kitchen or go home. It was busy, hectic… and I had the best time of my life. Endless covers. Weddings. Functions. Bar food. Fine dining. Split shifts. My first executive chef put the fear of God into me, but I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor. He told ...
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THE MODERN MENU: HEALTH AND WELLNESS CENTRE STAGE A Chef's Perspective   When I first started to cook professionally, over 30 years ago, healthy options on the menu were an afterthought, last in the pecking order of the food I was excited and eager about. What the customer wanted was also often secondary, I wanted to show off. It was all about my ego. Time, awareness, education and a few hard knocks have changed my perception of cooking and menus beyond recognition. Thankfully! The convergence of health and wellness with sustainability, authenticity and mindfulness has brought remarkable changes and challenges to the restaurant industry. ...
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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 Susan Bell , Operations Manager at Wowburger Why did you become a Chef? Ever since I was young, I’ve always been passionate about cooking. My mum and nana were both very good home cooks and ...
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I graduated from DIT with a BA in Culinary Arts last year, so I have been working as a chef full time for just over 1 year. While I did a lot of my learning in the kitchens of DIT, I feel that some of my greatest developments as a chef have been in the many kitchens I have had the privilege to work in along the way.   DECISIONS, DECISIONS I didn’t always want to be a chef, in fact, I thought I would be a Garda or a home economics teacher for a little while in secondary school. I have always had a passion for cookery and food. When I was still in primary school, my mam who had been an accountant decided to train as a chef and started ...
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‘The Mindful Kitchen’ - The Potential of New Skills to Innovate Kitchen Culture and Futureproof the Chef Career! Denise Murray & Annette Sweeney   While there have never been more food establishments and opportunities available for chefs, worldwide, chef numbers are in decline.  Trained, young chefs are abandoning their career in favour of either unskilled work or the pursuit of another profession. We need to ask ourselves why this is happening and how it can be helped.   In light of the time and investment of resources in developing culinary skills in the classroom and the professional kitchen, there is a responsibility on all stakeholders ...
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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 Erik Van der Veken, Technical Advisor at Redmond Fine Foods and Director & Owner of Arcane Chocolate   Why did you become a Chef? I’ve always been really into making cakes and baking, ever since I was a child. ...
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I have always focused on creating locally sourced, seasonal and sustainable menus, with a close to zero food waste approach. Recently, I have focused even more on sustainability.   This was inspired by last year’s the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health, where more than 30 world-leading scientists from across the globe come together to reach a scientific consensus that defines a healthy and sustainable diet.   Following this, I started to look at the main areas of concern from the report when it came to sustainability, and the one that stood out to me the most was the consumption of meat or foods sourced from animals, especially red ...
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Menu health   Ireland occupies an uneasy position when we look at our national weight heading towards becoming the fattest nation in Europe by 2030, a fact completely at odds with our troubled and bleak past with food. Over and undernutrition costs the state billions each year and as Dr. Marion Nestle says (Professor of Nutrition in New York University) the consumption of too many or too few calories is the single biggest issue with nutrition which threatens to overwhelm health care resources around the world: "Calories, therefore, affect societies in ways that are political as well as personal".   But more and more research is piling in ...
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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 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 Domini Kemp , joint MD at the ITSA Food Group. Why did you become a Chef? I’ve actually been cooking since I was a teenager. My sister had a catering company and growing up I used to work for her. You tend to be attracted ...
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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 -    Ludovic Lantier, Executive Chef at The Butler’s Pantry   BEING A CHEF…. What I love most is… the smile on a customer’s face when they taste our food. ...
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