Chefs Crave Return to Cooking

‘We just want to get back cooking’ was the wish of two of the country’s top hotel chefs when they spoke to Micheline Corr of The Firm in the latest ‘The Firm Optimist’ conversations today. 

Ed Cooney, executive head chef at The Merrion Hotel Dublin said : ‘We miss cooking, and serving our guests. So the best day will be when we can start cooking again’. Philippe Farineau, executive head chef at  Ashford Castle Hotel agreed. ‘We are making many preparations for the day when we again welcome our guests’, he said.

Both are looking forward to re-opening restaurants on 29th June with full hotel facilities coming back on stream on 20th July. ‘We will be re-opening in a whole new world’, Ed Cooney said. ‘We will be complying with Government protocols so that our hotel is safe and comfortable for our teams and our hotels. We will be at the cutting edge and will seek to lead the way’.

The chefs agreed that initially they will be catering for the domestic market. ‘After a long period of lockdown, guests will want to enjoy food that they cannot have at home, with new flavours and interesting ingredients’, Philippe said. ‘It will be a long time before the international market returns’, said Ed.

Ed Cooney said that the experience of the lockdown was traumatic initially. ‘I saw my whole life’s work go up in the air. It was hard to process, but now we are planning to re-open and it has given us more confidence’. He said that hotels can plan to comply with new protocols, ‘but the big unknown is the level of business we can generate’.

Asked by Micheline Corr how they are coping with the lockdown, apart from business planning, Philippe said that he is spending time foraging on the Ashford estate and Ed reported that after an injury lay-off, he has returned to running. 

The full discussion is available on The Firm YouTube channel and the link below: