ABOUT YYY IRELAND

Céad míle fáilte, a hundred, thousand welcomes, represents Ireland’s ancient reputation for hospitality and an island rich in culinary produce, but this culture needs sustained nurturing. The Young Chef Young Waiter Ireland competition promote this hospitality and food culture as a career of choice, a profession and a vocation to a new generation. This Irish competition is open to all young professional chefs and waiters under 28 years of age, from any background, working in the restaurant sector on the island of Ireland.

The unique process of the Young Chef Young Waiter and Young Mixologists Ireland competition means that entrants will engage with Ireland’s premier industry experts and along the way gain key skills, as well as make new friends in Ireland’s renowned food family.

Young Chef Young Waiter Ireland 2023 competition took place at the iconic Titanic Belfast, for a one-day final on Tuesday 19th September 2023. The Young Chef Young Waiter Ireland competition is open to chefs and waiters who are 28 years old, and under, from any background working in the hospitality industry.

The Chef and Waiter winning duo from Ireland joined all other country winners, for a World Final that took place in Monaco, on the 23rd-24th November 2023 and the World Champions won a cash prize of US $10,000.

2024 COMPETITION

Chefs, Waiters, and Mixologists will battle it out for the title of YCYW Ireland Winners 2024.

The winning Chef, Waiter, and Mixologist trio from each country will join for the World YYY Final competition, scheduled for 15th – 17th November.

World Young Chef Young Waiter Ireland Competition:

  • Entries are now open online for YYY Ireland on our online awards platform https://youngchefyoungwaiter.awardsplatform.com/
  • Online entries will close 1 month before the competition date, which is where a short-list will be selected for YYY Ireland.
  • When online entries close a short-list will be selected, by the Ireland judging panel.
  • Entry is free for Young Chefs, Waiters, and Mixologists who are 28 years old or under and working in the hospitality industry.
  • The winners will be announced after taking part in a one-day live final.
  • After the YYY Ireland competition an awards ceremony will take place, to announce the 2024 YYY Ireland winners.
  • YYY Ireland Competition date and venue to be confirmed.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER YYY IRELAND – NOW OPEN

 

Patron


The team at Lough Eske Castle and their owners, Harcourt Developments, are honoured to announce their patronage for the Young Chef Young Waiter Competition and Awards 2023.

General Manager of Lough Eske Castle Dónal Cox commented “We take pride in flying the flag for the hospitality industry and what better way than with the patronage of the Young Chef Young Waiter Awards”

Clement Gaffney, Group Hotels Operation’s Manager of Harcourt Developments commented “We own and operate five hospitality venues across the Island of Ireland and continuously encourage our team, who are from around the world, to develop their career in this exciting industry. Working closely with the YCYW Ireland Awards 2023, our aim is the highlight hospitality as a long-term career path”

Robert Lee Mulcahy, Chairman YCYW Ireland and Monaco confirmed “We very much welcome the patronage of Lough Eske Castle and its owners Harcourt Developments, to help to also attract new entrants to the hospitality sector, in these times of staff shortages, and to celebrate and award emerging talent within the industry.

Harcourt Developments is one of Ireland’s largest privately owned property companies employing 1500 people across its properties in Ireland, Northern Ireland, the UK and Antigua.

Our Supporters 2023 Ireland

CHEF JUDGES

Our expert judges are well known advocates for new talent as well as staunch supporters of our food culture. Led by Richard Corrigan with Derry Clarke; Jordan Bailey; JP McMahon; Michael Tweedie; Gordon Smyth; chef-proprietor Anna Haugh of Myrtle London; Sunil Ghai, Executive Chef Pickle, Dublin and Michelle Darmody, The Irish Examiner.

WAITER & HOSPITALITY JUDGES

Our waiter and hospitality expert judges include General Manager of The Merrion Hotel, Peter MacCann; Majken Bech-Bailey front of house management at Michelin starred Aimsir; Elaine Murphy Managing Director Woollen Mills Group; Peter White, General Manager of Ballyfin House; Jess Murphy, Chef proprietor Kai Galway, Declan Maxwell Spitalfields Restaurant & Bar, Peter Loughnane the Group Sales and Marketing Director, The Trigon Hotel Group; Master of Wine Alan Crowley; and Raymond Blake, one of Ireland’s leading wine writers

The Young Chef Young Waiter competition, established originally in the UK in 1979, flows from a 45 year heritage.
The global focus began in 2019 and this year fifteen countries, including Ireland, will compete at the World YCYW Finals in November 2024, to celebrate culinary professionals and hospitality excellence.

Being part of the Young Chef Young Waiter of the Year Ireland is a once in a lifetime experience. This is a chance to test your proficiency, gain new skills and progress your career with Ireland’s leading experts as your guide. Not forgetting of course, the many new relationships forged in the heat of competition.

The aim of the Young Chef Young Waiter Ireland competition is simple: to uncover the very best young talent in our industry. Devised by respected professionals, the competition has a modern approach focusing on tasks and criteria that are challenging and informative as well as fun.

The competition showcases all aspects of hospitality: inspiring, empowering and inclusive, we celebrate the capabilities and diversity of our amazing industry.

You are the leaders of the future. It’s your incredible expertise that Young Chef Young Waiter Ireland commends.

Entries are now open for 2024
Further details RobertLee@Mondrian.ie

Judges - IRELAND

Chef Judges

JUDGES - IRELAND

Richard Corrigan

Richard Corrigan’s reputation and fame straddles the Irish Sea: he is undoubtedly the most recognisable Irish chef across both Britain and Ireland. He has opened numerous read more restaurants; gained Michelin stars; he has cooked for Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth II; he’s the author of two recipe books; and he regularly makes appearances on radio and television. Notably, winning the Great British Menu three times, he has also been a regular judge on the popular BBC series. Richard runs Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill off Piccadilly, Corrigan’s Mayfair, Daffodil Mulligan as well as Virginia Park Lodge in Co. Cavan, Ireland.

A farmer’s son, Richard began his teenage career in the kitchens and has cooked all his life. He is a vehement supporter of Irish and British produce as well as small independent suppliers. Richard’s chefs only use wild game, wild sustainable fish, and produce such as butter, cheese and charcuterie are primarily sourced from family-run, independent businesses in Ireland and Britain. Bread is made in the restaurant's bakeries and salmon is smoked on Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill rooftop. In short, everything, where possible, is made from scratch in-house. Richard is well known for his generous hospitality and celebrating seasonal events such as St Patrick’s Day, Game Season and The Return of the Oyster Natives in September. Since Virginia Park Lodge’s acquisition in 2014, Richard has devoted much of his time to restoring the Co Cavan estate back to its former glory, growing seasonal produce for his restaurants and making the 100-acre property as self-sufficient as possible. Almost everything is recycled on site including the food and even the glass.

Richard was awarded his first Michelin star as head chef of Stephen Bull in Fulham, London,
in 1994. After opening Lindsay House in Soho, London, he scooped a Michelin star there in 1997. A long list of accolades and awards followed right up to the present day. Twitter

Derry Clarke

Dublin born Derry Clarke trained in the classical French tradition in the Man Friday in Kinsale. He came home to Dublin to continue his training under the direction of John Howard in the renowned Le Coq Hardi for four years. read more He then spent 8 years as Head Chef in le Bon Appetit Restaurant but his aspirations were always to open a place of his own.

Derry and Sallyanne married in 1987 and opened l’Ecrivain Restaurant in July 1989. They have had several transformations and now l’Ecrivain stands on the site of two old Georgian Coach Houses in its own charming courtyard. Derry was awarded a Michelin star in 2003 and held it for every consecutive year since then.

The late A.A. Gill gave a rare rave review of L'Ecrivain. He noted that Derry's Wicklow venison was among “the best deer I've ever tasted”, going on to describe L'Ecrivain as "a very decent, hospitable, friendly, stay-a-while hybrid restaurant".

His recipes are published widely including the Irish Independent and the Evening Herald. He has written two successful cook books, Not Just Another Cookbook and Keeping it Simple. His cooking confirms his commitment to the very best local, fresh produce cooked with flair and imagination. Twitter

Jordan Bailey

Previously a key member of the team in Restaurant Sat Bains, Jordan Bailey opened Aimsir, his first restaurant as head chef, after a stellar career in the UK (Rosewarne Manor in Hayle, read more The Elephant in Torquay) and Scandinavia, gaining and holding three Michelin stars in Maaemo, the renowned Norwegian restaurant of chef Esben Holmboe Bang in Oslo. The restaurant opened in May 2019 and went straight to two Michelin stars. This an extraordinary achievement, something that has never been done in Ireland before – Aimsir is the fastest ever restaurant to achieve a two-star rating in the history of the Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland.

Just over four short months after opening, husband and wife Jordan and Majken Bech Bailey and their young, multi award-winning team at Aimsir, were awarded two Michelin stars for their ground-breaking restaurant which opened in the stunning setting of Cliff at Lyons. The recognition copper-fastened an incredible first few months for Aimsir, where the food, service and entire team had already been universally fêted by the media, winning multiple hospitality awards.

Aimsir, which means weather in Irish, which celebrates “what can be grown and harvested, fished and foraged on the island of Ireland. As much as possible, everything served in Aimsir is grown or produced on the island of Ireland. An all-island restaurant, the best producers and growers from all over Ireland have been invited to be part of this new celebration of the most powerful, significant and influential force in this country – the weather.”
Twitter

JP McMahon

JP McMahon was born in Dublin and moved Galway City in 1999. He is a restaurateur, chef and educator. He has three popular restaurants under the brand Eat Galway –, Cava Bodega, read more Eat Gastropub and Michelin starred Aniar Restaurant. As Culinary Director, JP manages all aspects of the food side of the business. He chefs, teaches and promotes the restaurants through traditional and social media outlets. He travels nationally and internationally giving demonstrations and lectures.

After working behind the scenes for many years JP and his partner Drigín opened Cava Restaurant, their first venture, in 2008. At the time Tom Doorley said they served ‘the best tapas in Ireland’. They then went on to take over the food aspect of Massimo bar on William Street through their gastropub offering of high quality, accessible food for all. In 2011 JP and his wife Drigín opened another restaurant next door to Cava, called Aniar, which means from the west in Irish. Aniar and its unique philosophy gained a Michelin star in 2012.

JP sits on the Food Council of EuroToques, he is a Food Ambassador for Fáilte Ireland and was invited by Fáilte Ireland to speak at Toronto Hospitality Symposium Terroir in 2013. JP is first Irish person to the represent Ireland with the esteemed Cook It Raw Foundation.

Awards won by JP and Drigín’s restaurants include 2012 & 2013 Michelin stars, Best Restaurant in Ireland FOOD&WINE Magazine (2012), Best Ethnic Restaurant, Georgina Campbell Guide (2012); their Restaurant Association of Ireland awards include Best Emerging Irish Cuisine (2013); Best Restaurant in Connacht (2012); Best Gastropub in Connaught (2013); as well as Best Cookery School from Good Food Ireland (2013).
Twitter

Michael Tweedie

Originally from Devon in England, Michael Tweedie has spent his career working in some of Ireland and England's best restaurants. He joined Adare Manor in June of 2017 to oversee read more the creation of the new fine-dining menus for The Oak Room which was then awarded its first Michelin star in 2019. Michael honed his skills as head chef at the five star Ballyfin Demesne country house hotel in Co. Laois, where the restaurant won two AA Rosettes within eight weeks of opening. Previously, Michael rose through the ranks at several luxury hotel restaurants in England, including the two-Michelin starred Gidleigh Park Hotel in Devon under Michael Caines and the Michelin starred Lucknam Park Hotel in Bath under Hwyel Jones.

When Michael joined the team at Adare Manor in 2017, the resort was just re-opening after a 21-month long refurbishment. Since then he has been making waves as head chef at The Oak Room, Adare Manor's award-winning fine dining destination. Having won a slew of awards over the past four years, The Oak Room, which is known for its decadent dishes and gorgeous surroundings, has fully cemented itself as a fine-dining destination in the West. Michael recently introduced a new menu to the restaurant, which he hopes will help the guests to better understand his food style. Instagram

Gordon Smyth

Gordon Smyth's career in food began early, following a circuitous route from Eglinton around the world and back to Co Donegal. Along the way, he had the opportunity to work with such renowned chefs as Charlie Trotter and Daniel Boulud in America, Marco-Pierre White in London, and Tetsuya Wakuda in Sydney. They inspired him and opened his mind to what could be achieved. read more After his experiences abroad, he worked at Castle Leslie in Co Monaghan, the 5-star Lough Erne Golf Resort before returning to Co Donegal. Fourteen years ago, he arrived in Redcastle, which marked a watershed for the hotel and the type of dining experience it offered. Redcastle, part of the Harcourt Hotel collection, continued to expand, and Gordon assumed the role of Executive Chef. He established processes, built teams, and contributed to menu development and recruitment across the group.

The recognitions were not long in coming either and included an AA Rosette for the Edge Restaurant in Redcastle and, for Gordon, the accolade of Ulster Chef of the Year 2017. The second AA Rosette Award for The Edge Restaurant was awarded each year since 2018, as part of the AA hospitality award scheme's annual assessment of hotels across the UK and Ireland.

Noel McMeel

Executive Chef

Training at the Northern Ireland Hotel and Catering College in Portrush, a period with Paul and Jeanne Rankin at Roscoff in Belfast and a 1988 scholarship to the united States helped open some very prestigious doors. They included the Watergate Hotel in Washington DC, with Jean Louis Palladin, and a stint at Chez Panisse in San Francisco, working with his culinary heroine, chef-patron, Alice Water. read more Opportunities beckoned in Northern Ireland and he returned to take up the position of head chef at the Beech Hill Country House Hotel in Londonderry. In the late 1990s, Noel opened his own restaurant, Trompets. More recently, he starred at Castle Leslie and his efforts helped earn it a ranking among the top ten places in the world to stay.

Not a man to rest on his laurels, Noel has now moved on to Lough Erne Resort where he is bringing his own particular brand of modern not only to the world leaders. Now culinary director of the new Ebrington Hotel in Derry.

Irish cooking to a new and discerning audience. So what then is the McMeel trademark?

“Absolute simplicity and respect for the integrity of the ingredients is paramount. I believe in letting the flavours sing for themselves. My dishes may appear complex, but in fact they tend to be cooked quite simply, with rigorous attention to the freshness and seasonality of the ingredients.”

Anna Haugh

Anna Haugh hails from Tallaght in Dublin and has been cooking professionally for almost 20 years. She is the chef-proprietor of Myrtle Restaurant located in Chelsea, London, and has named the restaurant after the doyenne of Irish food, read more Myrtle Allen.

She began her culinary career in the Michelin starred l’Ecrivain with Derry Clarke, followed by the last 14 years in London working for celebrated chefs Philip Howard, Shane Osborne and Gordon Ramsay. Myrtle Restaurant is Anna’s first solo venture where she puts a strong emphasis on staff potential and believes an empowered and engaged team leads to the best possible dining experience for customers. The menu is modern European with an Irish influence using the finest Irish produce in a sophisticated but relaxed dining atmosphere. Twitter

Sunil Ghai

Sunil Ghai is an internationally acclaimed master chef and the leading Indian chef in Ireland.

Having grown up in the prosperous city of Gwalior in Central India, he studied at the prestigious Gwalior Catering College graduating among its top chefs in 1996. Before even graduating, he was headhunted by the Oberoi Hotel Group, with whom he worked for five years learning all aspects and regions of Indian cuisine.
read more In Ireland, Sunil’s bold, contemporary style transformed the nation’s consciousness and love affair with Indian food. He won numerous awards as Head Chef of the Jaipur & Ananda Restaurant Group, including FOOD&WINE Magazine’s ‘Chef of the Year’ 2009, Restaurant Association of Ireland (RIA) ‘Best Chef in Ireland’ 2013, and the coveted Bridgestone Guide’s 100 Best Restaurants in Ireland.

In addition to helming Pickle, Sunil has also opened Tiffin, with his wife Leena – a neighbourhood deli and spice store – and Street, a casual suburban outpost that offers Sunil’s signature flare to eat-in or take-away.

In all his ventures, Sunil has remained committed to authenticity, integrity and seasonality in his food. Seasons and regions are reflected in his menus, which change to celebrate the particular qualities of non-indigenous ingredients and the traditional tastes and styles that best suit them.

From 2015 to 2018, Sunil served as a Commissioner of Euro-Toques in Ireland – the elite international chefs organisation dedicated to preserving the highest culinary standards and cultural authenticity, founded by Paul Bocuse and other world leading masters in 1986.

Sunil says: “My philosophy is inspired by the rich culinary traditions of all of India, marrying the traditional with ideas that are exciting and new. Many of my influences in the creation of my recipes come from my mother. She has a fantastic imagination when it comes to cooking and I have yet to taste food quite like it. In the kitchen, I found the answers to all my curiosities.”

Sunil’s home city of Gwalior was an ideal starting point for an aspiring chef. Known as the city of music, it boasts over 400 years of royal music patronage which also brought with it the best cuisine from every corner of the nation. "The wonderful thing about growing up in Gwalior was the eclectic influences all around you. It’s a melting pot of culinary delights from all over the many different regions of India,” says Sunil.

Awards for Pickle

Best World Cuisine, 2016, FOOD&WINE Magazine Awards
Best Ethnic Restaurant, 2017, Georgina Campbell Awards
Best Indian food in Ireland, 2016, Yes Chef Awards
McKenna’s Guides 100 Best in Ireland (formerly The Bridgestone Guide) Twitter

Michelle Darmody

Michelle Darmody is an entrepreneur and food journalist who founded the award winning bakeries The Cake Café and Slice. Both quickly became market leaders in all things read more cake as well as gaining a reputation for well sourced savoury dishes which placed small Irish food producers and local suppliers at the centre of quality driven menus.

She also established Our Table, the social enterprise supporting people living in Direct Provision, with Ellie Kisyombe, a food project aiming to highlight how asylum seekers in Ireland are not allowed to cook for themselves, thus losing a vital link with their culture.

Michelle is currently undertaking a research project exploring food literacy in Ireland. She has extensive experience of project management having completed major projects in IMMA, with the Arthur Guinness Foundation, and various other cultural institutions. Michelle is also a weekly columnist for The Irish Examiner as well as a regular commentator on food, culture and travel for a variety of Irish print and broadcast media. She is the treasurer of the Irish Food Writers’ Guild; author of The Cake Café Bake Book; and is regularly asked to speak on food issues by the Irish media. www.michelledarmody.com

Robert Lee Mulcahy

Robert is the Chair of Young Chef Young Waiter (YCYW Ireland & Monaco) and divides his time between Dublin and the South of France. read more His ventures have spread across a number of sectors from technology and food to education and art history, having studied at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London.
He served as President of the European Catering Association, which included development and operations for inter-college culinary competitions and Awards.

Robert’s Masters in Business Administration has been put to good use in his pro bono work for VSO Ireland (Voluntary Services Overseas). As chair of the VSO Champions’ Board,
he developed and managed vital fundraising initiatives, to support their work in 36 countries across the globe. His remaining time is spent as a non-executive director and adviser to private clients. Twitter

FRONT OF HOUSE JUDGES

JUDGES - IRELAND

Peter MacCann

General Manager of the Merrion Hotel Peter MacCann heads the 5 star luxury hotel as it welcomes clientele accustomed to the most exacting of service. The Merrion occupies some of the finest, most beautifully read more restored, and best-located Georgian buildings in Dublin city centre. The gracious public rooms with crackling peat fires and iconic Irish art epitomise the relaxed elegance for which The Merrion is known and which Peter has flawlessly maintained over many years. Twitter

ELAINE MURPHY

Elaine Murphy is a leading figure and entrepreneur in the hospitality sector heading up a group of iconic restaurants in Dublin. The Winding Stair, The Legal Eagle, The Woollen Mills, The Washerwoman and The Yarn, read more although all unique in themselves they also do their part in preserving Dublin traditions and native suppliers. Renowned as a good-employer her devotion to quality is expressed through staff who are as committed as she is to high service standards and a deep knowledge of their menus. www.winding-stair.com

Adrian McNally

General Manager Titanic Hotel Belfast

Adrian McNally, a native of Armagh and graduate of University of Ulster, has over 30 years of worldwide luxury hotel experience, including hotels openings, expansions and renovations. read more He has global experience, spanning four continents including, North America, Africa, Asia and Europe and has demonstrated strong and influential people management skills. Adrian brings a wealth of luxury knowledge to Titanic Hotel Belfast and has a major focus on delivering excellent customer service. The hotel has won Best Hotel in Northern Ireland by World Travel Awards from opening in 2017. The hotel is located in the former H&W Offices.

Previously, Adrian has an extensive leadership background with Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, having being responsible for leading teams in San Francisco, San Jose, Kansas City and Nairobi. In addition to this, his strong project management background can be seen through his work with Fairmont in Seattle, Toronto and The Savoy Hotel in London. Adrian’s excellence in management and communications was acknowledged in his position for Ritz-Carlton Hotels on the opening Guidance Team for Powerscourt in County Wicklow, before moving to Portman Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, China and assisting with new openings in Moscow and Pudong, Shanghai.

Returning to Northern Ireland in 2011 he joined the team at Lough Erne Resort in Enniskillen where he was instrumental in the delivery of the 2013 G8 Summit and in the resort attaining the NITB Hotel of the Year Award for 2014. Prior to opening Titanic Hotel Belfast, Adrian was General Manager at Hastings Culloden Hotel, Northern Ireland’s first five-star hotel.

Peter White

General Manager Ballyfin

Peter White became General Manager of Ballyfin Demesne in 2021, bringing with him 30 years of experience in luxury hospitality management. read more White’s career began in his homeland of Australia holding management positions at various boutique hotels across the country until his career path brought him to North America as Guest Services Manager at Rimrock Resort in Banff, Canada, then a member of Leading Hotels of the World.

As a sought-after hotelier, White moved to Great Britain to manage the Front Office for London’s Pelham Hotel. Not long after White moved to the Lucknam Park Hotel, a 5-star country house hotel near Bath, where he would spend the next 11 years moving up the latter to become Resident Manager.

An avid traveller and outdoor enthusiast, White was ready for a new challenge and headed back down under to New Zealand to become General Manager of Treetops Lodge & Estate and eventually to help develop, open, and run The Marlborough Lodge.

Prior to joining Ballyfin, White was Resort Manager of Kamalaya in Koh Samui, Thailand, one of the world’s leading holistic wellness retreats.
Now a dual citizen of Australia and Great Britain, Peter White was born in Australia and attended the College of Tourism & Hospitality in Brisbane, and later became recipient of the Master Innholder scholarship at Cranfield University School of Management.

When not working, White loves to travel. When asked where, White replies, “I don't care where. I believe you are able to find beauty everywhere you go if you look for it.” Twitter

Jess Murphy

New Zealand-born chef Jess Murphy has lived in Ireland since 2003 and has been based in Galway since 2005, where she opened her award-winning restaurant Kai in 2011 with her Irish-born husband, Dave Murphy. read more Born and raised in Wairoa on New Zealand’s North Island, Jess washed dishes and worked in bars after school to put herself through catering college, then moved to Australia where she met her husband Dave Murphy. Together they moved to the UK, then to Ireland, where Jess spent a year working with Michelin starred chef Kevin Thornton in his eponymous Dublin restaurant. She finally made her way to the West and Galway in 2005.

Declan Maxwell

Manager of Bib Gourmand restaurant/bar Spitalfields, in the Liberties, Dublin

Spitalfields was a worthy winner of the Michelin Welcome and Service Award in March 2023 .

Declan started his career with Nico Ladenis of 3 Star Michelin Chez Nico restaurant in Dulwich, London, spending a decade there.
read more On returning to Ireland he was the Restaurant Manager of La Stampa, Dublin, for six years before moving on to the highly acclaimed Chapter One, where Declan spent fifteen years, working closely with Ross Lewis and Martin Corbett, in the One Star Michelin at the time.

Then onto Luna restaurant, which was awarded the Best Restaurant in Ireland, after only being open ten months.

Declan has always thought service is a huge part of the restaurant and states that:

“You can have the best food in the world but if you don’t have very friendly, knowledgeable & professional service, then the experience isn’t complete.”

He has judged front of house competitions at his old alma mater GMIT and the Northern Irish Tourism Awards.

We are delighted to welcome Declan to the YCYW Ireland judging panel.

PETER LOUGHNANE

Peter Loughnane has recently been appointed to Group Sales and Marketing Director at The Trigon Hotel Group, that includes The Metropole, Cork International and the Cork Airport Hotel. read more Allen. Having grown up in the County Arms Hotel in Birr, Peter previously worked for Hyatt & Jumeirah in London and was General Manager at Cork Airport Hotel. The core food and service principles at Ballymaloe House was the spark that lit the artisan food renaissance in Ireland and helped secure its global reputation. (Myrtle Allen was the co-founder of Euro-Toque with Paul Bocuse). Twitter

RAYMOND BLAKE

Raymond Blake is one of Ireland’s leading wine writers. He is a former schoolmaster and for a number of years he juggled the contrasting challenges of teaching by day and writing by night before going freelance in 2000. read more He was Wine Editor of FOOD&WINE Magazine from its launch in 1997 until it went online in 2019. Raymond is the author of two critically acclaimed books, the first, Breakfast in Burgundy – A Hungry Irishman in the Belly of France was published in New York in 2014. His second book, Côte d’Or – The Wines and Winemakers of the Heart of Burgundy was published by Oxford in 2017 and short-listed for the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards, 2018.

He writes as a consumer for fellow consumers and, as an independent voice, his judgement and opinions are widely respected. As such his travels take him to most of the far-flung corners of the wine world, though his spiritual home is Burgundy, where he and his wife realised a long-time ambition by buying a house a few years ago. He writes for numerous other publications and is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers. In 2006 he was inducted as a Chevalier du Tastevin in Burgundy. Twitter

ALAN CROWLEY

After graduating in Food Science from Queen's University, Belfast, Alan joined Scottish & Newcastle Breweries as Wine Chemist to set up and run their new laboratory and quality control systems within their wine division, read more Waverley Vintners. In 1984 he was promoted to Assistant Wine Buyer. He joined Harvey's of Bristol as their Wine Buyer in 1986 followed by a posting with Reine Pedauque as Export Manager for the US, Canada and British Isles.

In 1993 Alan was awarded Master of Wine so becoming the first Irish Master of Wine and currently one of only 393 people in the world holding this prestigious qualification. That same year he joined African and Eastern based in Bahrain where he led the development of their wine sales to all the International hotels and prestige restaurants throughout the Gulf.

Moving back to Ireland in 1996, he joined the major Irish wine Importers Edward Dillon & Co as Business Development Director, expanding their wine portfolio and building business throughout the Irish On Trade. Alan left Edward Dillon in 2008 and spent five years setting up and running Cellar Master, Ireland’s first wine warehouse. Building on his extensive international experience and wine expertise, Alan now acts as a consultant to wine producers looking to enter the Irish market as well as to restaurants and retail outlets wishing to develop their wine selections. He also acts as an adviser to clients assisting them in collating and also disposing of their extensive wine collections.

Majken Bech Bailey

Aimsir restaurant manager Majken Bech Bailey designed and implemented a service ethos at Aimsir inspired by her own experience working in Oslo restaurants Bon Lio, ORO and Maaemo, where she also worked with husband Jordan, read more and in Henne Kirkeby Kro in Denmark. Her instinctive sense of a professional but relaxed service is a tribute to the time she has spent in a series of restaurants renowned for their polished but comfortable service.

The restaurant opened in May 2019 and went straight to two Michelin stars. This an extraordinary achievement, something that has never been done in Ireland before – Aimsir is the fastest ever restaurant to achieve a two-star rating in the history of the Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland.

Just over four short months after opening, husband and wife Jordan and Majken Bech Bailey and their young, multi award-winning team at Aimsir, were awarded two Michelin stars for their ground-breaking restaurant which opened in the stunning setting of Cliff at Lyons. The recognition copper-fastened an incredible first few months for Aimsir, where the food, service and entire team had already been universally fêted by the media, winning multiple hospitality awards.

Aimsir, which means weather in Irish, which celebrates “what can be grown and harvested, fished and foraged on the island of Ireland. As much as possible, everything served in Aimsir is grown or produced on the island of Ireland. An all-island restaurant, the best producers and growers from all over Ireland have been invited to be part of this new celebration of the most powerful, significant and influential force in this country – the weather.” Twitter

Ross Golden-Bannon

Ross Golden-Bannon was educated in Britain and France, a graduate in politics, economics and French he worked in the House of Commons for Nick Ainger, read more the Parliamentary Secretary to the Secretary of State for Wales. He returned to Dublin in 2000 to pursue a career in the private sector. He was a board member and fundraiser for The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre and One Family. He was a board member of Marriage Equality Ireland for some 10 years and part of the team which helped deliver a victory for the Yes side in the Referendum on Marriage Equality.

He has been involved in the food industry for over twenty years as restaurant critic for The Sunday Business Post from 2001 to 2014; editor of FOOD&WINE Magazine from 2008 to 2013; and Irish Country Magazine from 2017 to 2019. He is a member of The Irish Food Writers' Guild since 2008 and rapporteur of the Guild’s policy paper The Health of the Nation.
Twitter

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