Blogs

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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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 Glen Wheeler , Chef & Owner of 28 Darling Street in Co. Fermanagh Why did you become a chef? I actually fell into the whole thing honestly. When I was growing up, I always wanted to be a ...
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Is there such a thing as a free lunch? They say “ There is no such thing as a free lunch ” – that may hold true until you discover foraging! Little did I know when my father took me picking wild mushroom at the age of 6 that I would end up on the island of Ireland, picking much more than just mushrooms. Nowadays, I collect wild foods from forests, hills, meadows, seashore and the sea. Foraging has undergone an unprecedented renaissance and not only in Ireland. However, for me, it is much more than just the collection of wild food. It brings me in contact with nature; it is the equivalent of a good workout; it allows me to be reflective and mindful while ...
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Part of being sustainable means cutting down on the amount of utilities you use throughout your business. In the process of running a business, it’s common that a big portion of income ends up being spent on these resources. It makes sense that a business becomes more sustainable by cutting down on all the unnecessary uses of utilities as well as saving money overall. Utilities In my opinion, all Restaurateurs and Chefs need to know the cost that Water, Gas and Electricity plays within the business. Look at the long run. Invest in ways to be more resourceful, it will pay off over time. Giving the example of induction hobs, we’ve seen ...
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