Chefs from Ireland
Kevin Dundon, signature chef and proprietor, Dunbrody Country House Hotel & Restaurant, Wexford, Ireland, and Raglan Road, Orlando. One of Ireland’s most acclaimed chefs, Chef Dundon, along with his wife, Catherine, run Dunbrody, a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World and the prestigious Ireland’s Blue Book. The hotel has won numerous culinary awards, including, “Andrew Harper’s Best Hideaways in the World” and “Country House of the Year” in 2001, and “Restaurant of the Year” in 2004. In 2005, the Dundons added a cookery school at their hotel, which won immediate international acclaim. Dundon graduated from the Dublin College of Catering and began his career in Dublin. He moved to Zurich on a scholarship, where he worked at La Mère Catherine. He then worked on the Wind Star Sails cruise ship that ran between Le Harve, France, and the Caribbean. He worked for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Canada, for eight years, where he started as sous chef and ended as the company’s youngest executive chef. During that time he completed his master’s degree and received honors in Chef de Cuisine. In May 2005, he opened Raglan Road, a new Gastro-Pub in Orlando. He is the author of a new cookbook Full on Irish: Creative Contemporary Cooking.
Darina Allen, executive chef and owner, Ballymaloe House and Cookery School, Cork, Ireland. For more than twenty-five years, Chef Allen has been one of Ireland’s most beloved and prolific culinary representatives. In 1983, she established the Ballymaloe Cookery School, which is a member of the prestigious Ireland’s Blue Book. The school draws students from throughout the world. She has written or co-written ten cookbooks, many of which are part of a successful series of cookbooks published by Gill & Macmillan. Her most recent book is Easy Entertaining, published in 2005. She has won numerous awards, including “International Cooking Teacher of the Year,” awarded by the International Association of Culinary Professionals in 2005, an honorary doctorate from the University of Ulster in 2003, Veuve Clicquot “Business Woman of the Year” in 2001, and the Waterford Wedgewood Hospitality Award in 2000. A sought-after personality by the media, Allen has made several appearances on Good Morning America, NBC’s Weekend Today Show, CBS’s Early Show, and QVC’s Shopping Channel. In Ireland, RTE, Ireland’s national television, created an eight-segment series called Simply Delicious, based on her cookbooks, and Carlton Food Network produced a twenty-six-part series called A Year at Ballymaloe Cookery School.
David McCann, executive chef, Dromoland Castle, Clare, Ireland. For the past decade, Chef McCann has shaped Dromoland Castle’s worldwide reputation as a unique dining experience. Under his direction, The Earl of Thomond Restaurant at Dromoland was voted “Best Irish Regional Restaurant” in 2004, and received the Wedgewood “Fine Dining Award” in 1995. He began his professional career at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, where he strengthened his foundation in classical French cooking. He spent time in London at the Mirabelle under the guidance of Executive Chef Herbert Berge, then served as sous chef to Chef Michael Bourdin at the world-famous Connaught Hotel in London’s Mayfair. In 1992, McCann received the “Award of Excellence” by the Acadimie Culinaire de France, and was a finalist in the “UK Chef of the Year.” He won the “Grand Prix Pierre Taittinger Competition,” representing the UK at the international competition in Paris. During his tenure at Dromoland Castle, McCann has cooked for many famous visitors, including American Presidents William Clinton and George W. Bush, and South African President Nelson Mandela. In 2005, Dromoland was voted “Hotel of the Year in Britain and Ireland.”
Neven Maguire, executive chef and proprietor, MacNean Restaurant, Cavan, Ireland. Chef Maguire has been cooking alongside his mother since he was twelve years old in the family’s award-winning restaurant in Blacklion, County Cavan. He also trained in many prestigious Michelin Star restaurants throughout Europe, including Roscoff in Belfast, the Grand Hotel in Berlin, Lea Linster Restaurant in Luxembourg, and the Arzac Restaurant in San Sebastian, Spain. Though still in his early thirties, Maguire has won numerous awards for his culinary skills. In 2001, he represented Ireland in the prestigious Bocuse d’Or World Cuisine Competition in Lyon, France. In 1999, Maguire was awarded “Eurotoque Young Chef of the Year.” He won the “Bushmill’s Chef of the Year” award in 2000, and the “Jameson Chef of the Year Award” in 2004. MacNean Restaurant won Food & Wine’s “Best Restaurant in Ulster” in 2003 and 2004, and in 2006 it won the “Georgina Campbell Natural Food” Award. Maguire has appeared on numerous culinary programs, including, Neven Cooks, a six-part series broadcast in South Africa and Australia and on the BBC’s Food Network.
Richard Hart, executive chef, Glenlo Abbey, Galway, Ireland. Chef Hart has more than fifteen years’ experience in the hotel industry in Ireland and the United Kingdom. Originally from Manchester, England, he trained at the prestigious Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland, and then moved to Michelin Star restaurant Roscoffs in Belfast, working under Chef Paul Rankin. He worked at the Coppid Beach Hotel in Berkshire before moving to Galway, Ireland, where he was head chef at Waterslade House. He was executive chef at the Zetland House Hotel in Cashel, which under his tenure was nominated in the “Best Hotel Restaurant” category by Food & Wine. In July 2005, Hart became executive chef at the prestigious Glenlo Abbey, a five-star hotel on 138 acres of property along the west coast of Ireland. The Glenlo, a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World and of the prestigious Ireland’s Blue Book, is owned by the Bourke Family.
Noel McMeel, executive head chef, Castle Leslie and Cookery School, Glaslough, County Monaghan, Ireland. Chef McMeel has been praised by The Irish Times for his “code of simplicity” and also hailed for “the sheer indulgent Victorian cookery that includes dishes like venison, beef fillet, ox cheek, and lots of chocolate.” He trained at the Northern Ireland Hotel and Catering College, Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, Boston University, and Ecole le Notre in Paris. He worked under Chef Jean-Louis Palladin at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C., and for Chef Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in San Francisco. His restaurant, Trompets, was named one of the “Top 100 Restaurants in Ireland” in 1998 by The Bridgestone Guide. Under his direction, Castle Leslie was named “Best Country House” by the Sunday Times and “Best Country House Restaurant in Ulster” by Food & Wine in 2005. McMeel won international media acclaim a few years ago as the chef who presided over Sir Paul McCartney’s wedding at Castle Leslie, where he prepared a sumptuous Indian-vegetarian feast for more than 300 guests. Last year, McMeel started a Cookery School on the castle grounds for culinary students from around the world.