Tim Daly is Executive Head Chef at the Kingsley Hotel in Cork
I’ve been working in kitchens since I was 16, so just going on 25 years this summer. I started off, as many in this industry do, as a kitchen porter in a local restaurant. An opportunity arose on the starter section and I haven’t looked back since.
I guess that this career choose me. After working in a local restaurant for the summer under a French chef, I loved the buzz of new ingredients, new dishes, the adrenaline rush from a busy service. I knew from then on that this is what I wanted to do.
On a normal day I would be up at 7am, spend a bit of time with my two kids and wife over breakfast. I try to be on the road for 8.15am; as we are living in Skibbereen, it takes about an hour to get to work.
Once in, I check my emails and greet the early shift in the kitchen before attending the daily 10am briefing where we discuss the business for that day.
Then it’s straight into the kitchen to set up for lunch. Every day is a bit different, depending on what business is on. Most days just fly by — which is the way I like it. I like being involved in a busy environment where there are a range of different functions going on throughout the day.
Yesterday, for example, lunch was busy in The K Lounge, then we had a barbecue function for 100 people and just as the BBQ was finishing up, The Springboard restaurant filled up.
When the restaurant was finishing up, I finished off the ordering for the following day and went through the following day’s business to make sure we were organised.
There are many things that make my job enjoyable — getting to be creative, the diversity of the environment, the job satisfaction when you hear that the guest has enjoyed their meal, the fact that you are continually learning.
The fact that my job has allowed me to travel, to learn new languages, meet my wife, and learn from different cultures — I have a lot to be grateful for.
What surprises me the most is new people coming into the industry, unsure of their surroundings — and then just blowing you away with their passion and talent. I’ve had a few over the years that at first glimpse, you may feel apprehensive about, then they go on, given a chance, to take on the world! This is something I enjoy doing, taking new talent under our wings and mentoring them on their journey.