Chef Kevin Thornton has said losing his Michelin star left “a void” as he confirmed his Dublin restaurant is to close after more than two decades in business.

Thorntons on St Stephen’s Green will close on October 29 after more than 25 years.

However, the chef intends to focus on cooking masterclasses and providing dining services to high-end clients.

Mr Thornton, originally from Cashel in Tipperary, was the first Irish chef to get two Michelin stars. His restaurant had two stars between 2001 and 2005 and one from 2006 until September of last year.

At one point, the Dublin restaurant was ranked among the 50 best in the world in the UK’s Taste Magazine.

Speaking to RTÉ radio, Mr Thornton’s wife Muriel said the decision to close the restaurant was as a result of the loss its Michelin star .

“It was a decision that has taken some months that was prompted, initially, by the loss of our [Michelin] star last September. I think we both reacted differently. We were both hugely shocked at the loss of it,” she said.

Mr Thornton said the loss had left “a void” after more than two decades in the business.

“It’s like getting an Oscar but you don’t dwell... we had the star for 20 years, when you lose it, it was like a void because you can’t finger why it happened and because I put my heart and soul into it,” he said.

The couple said they had no idea why they had lost the star and that they only found out via Twitter.

Mr Thornton said that he felt the food at the restaurant was better now than it has ever been.

“I think better. Even from the second star, I think our food was more and more Irish, more kind of unique,” he said.

Ms Thornton said that, despite losing the star, the restaurant had its best December ever last year but had noticed a drop off in the international tourist trade.

However, she said both of them were looking forward to a break.

“The first thing we will do is have a little holiday which is nice and catch up. We haven’t had an extended Christmas off in a long, long time,” she said.


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