Additional reporting by Joe Leogue
Ireland has won two of three special awards at the 2020 Michelin star ceremony in London, while a Kinsale,Co Cork restaurant has become one of the three latest Irish eateries to receive the world-famous recognition.
Kinsale’s Bastion was one of the new recipients of a Michelin Star, and inspectors said chef Paul McDonald’s “exacting dishes often exhibit an innovative and even sometimes playful element, whilst at the same time displaying depth in their flavor and texture”.
A Scottish native, Mr McDonald said Michelin recognition will empower them to continue to push their food to be different.
“We kind of went up and down. We gave everybody what they wanted first,because we needed just to make money. We spent all the money opening a restaurant, and then after about two years we started doing we wanted to do,” he said.
Bastion joins Chestnut in Ballydehob, Mews in Baltimore and Ichigo Ichie in Cork City which entered the prestigious guide last year after each receiving a Michelin Star. Each of the three eateries has held onto its Michelin Stars for the coming year.
The 2020 ceremony saw five new Michelin Stars awarded to Irish restaurants overall — two of them at two- star level. Aimsir in Celbridge, where chef Jordan Bailey focuses on foraged and preserved produce, entered the guide for the first time this year receiving two Michelin Stars. The Co Kildare eatery opened four-and-a-half- months ago.
Variety Jones in Dublin and The Oak Room at Adare Manor in Limerick also received a Michelin Star for the first time. The Greenhouse in Dublin was also the only Irish eatery among three restaurants in Ireland or Britain to be promoted from one to two stars.
Early in the evening,Loam in Galway set the tone, receiving the first gong of the ceremony, the 2020 Sustainability Award. Michelin said chef-owner Enda McEvoy was “the first in Ireland to champion natural ingredients and build personal relationships with his suppliers. The menu is small so as to reduce food waste”.
“It’s the only way to go really, because we’re all facing an imminent crisis,” Mr McEvoy said upon receiving the award.
“I think we all have to be mindful of our responsibility as leaders in the industry, and people do take notice of what we do so, and it is our responsibility to lead the way. We work very closely with farmers, they’re all very close friends of ours, and they know what we want, they know our way treating their ingredients.
“What are our challenges? They’re just the same as everyone else’s challenges we just approached a little bit differently. I’m in no position to give anyone advice. Just be more mindful of what you do, I suppose.
Limerick’s Adare Manor made it two out of two for Ireland, when Jurica Gojevic won the next special accolade on offer; the 2020 Sommelier Award. The Michelin Guide said that “since his arrival in 2017 Jurica has shown passion, humility and, above all,detailed knowledge of all the wines served in his hotel.His natural warmth puts customers at ease.”
Mr Gojevic, from Croatia, said he was humbled by the recognition. He said he believes in investing time in working closely with his chef and researching the food on the menu.
“I think the combination between the chef and the sommelier really makes life much easier, but I think the guests makes it slightly complicated,” he said.
“You have to slightly challenge them, they like to be challenged. You have to be really focused, and I believe trust what you’re doing, and they will believe with you,” Mr Gojevic said.
Two-star restaurant Patrick Guilbaud in Dublin, the One-Star Chapter One and L’Ecrivain in Dublin City and Liath in Blackrock village have all held onto their Michelin stars for the coming year.
Campagne and Lady Helen at Mount Juliet Hotel in Kilkenny, Wild Honey Inn in Lisdoonvarna Co Clare, and the House Restaurant at Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Co Waterford also have retained their stars.
Co Kerry native Kenneth Culhane also picked up a star for The Dysart in Petersham, London. “This is an amazing year for the Republic of Ireland, with five new Michelin stars being awarded,” said Rebecca Burr, the director of the Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland.
“This brings the total number of starred restaurants in Ireland up to 18 and is just reward for the determination of young chefs who are keen to make their mark on the Irish dining scene.”
“Running a successful restaurant is tough, and we know that. It takes long hours, dedication, teamwork and the support of those people closest to you. I congratulate all the teams and chefs who have won and retained Michelin stars in the 2020 guide.”
Four Irish establishments also joined the Michelin list as bib gourmands for 2020; Land to Sea in Dingle Co Kerry, Thyme in Athlone, Uno Mas in Dublin and Circa in Terenure. Other restaurants that have held on to their titles include 1826 in Adare, Kai in Galway and Brownes in Tuam.