Celebrity TV chef Kevin Dundon is cooking a storm, with his food and hotel business on course to record more than a five-fold increase in profits to €260,000 this year.
Mr Dundon and his wife, Catherine, have operated the luxury Dunbrody Country House and restaurant in Co Wexford for the past 17 years.
He said: “The business is going from strength to strength. We are very happy with the business at the moment. It has been a good year.”
Mr Dundon was commenting on abridged accounts filed by Marriott Park Ltd, trading as Dunbrody Country House and Restaurant, that show it recorded a profit of €49,025 in 2011.
He said: “We love what we do. It is about the whole ethos of Dunbrody. It is a chef’s paradise and I get tremendous job satisfaction from what I do that brings me back every day.”
At peak season, 50 people are employed at the award-winning Dunbrody House and Restaurant and the 2011 profit takes account of the firm paying €214,876 in annual rent to the Dundons.
Mr Dundon — who has cooked for Queen Elizabeth II, President George Bush and Bono in the past — operates a cookery school at Dunbrody Country House.
Mr Dundon remarked: “The cookery school market has grown dramatically in Ireland. Cookery schools are like the way Spas were a number of years ago. At first, there were none and now there are hundreds with some operating cookery schools in their own kitchens.
“We are well established. We have professional chefs teaching here so people get a little more bang for their buck.”
A one-day cookery course costs €165 while a five-day course costs €650.
The TV chef — who also has business interests in the US — said the business has fully recovered from losses incurred in 2009.
He said: “The end of 2008, 2009 and the first few months of 2010 were the hardest time we had in our 17 years here, but we have turned the corner.”
Mr Dundon said Dunbrody employed an outside firm to examine all aspects of the business to help turn it around.
He said: “We needed a pair of fresh eyes. We found it very good and we put in place cost reduction and cost management programmes. We are on the right track now and making significant profits. It is very positive.
Mr Dundon also paid tribute to the staff at Dunbrody who he said “have put their heart and soul into making it a success”.
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