Chapter One turns the page on another success

IT’S another chapter in the success story of Chapter One, with the fine dining Dublin venue voted best restaurant in Ireland for a fifth time by the Restaurant Association of Ireland.

It is also the second year in a row that the Michelin-starred restaurant, co-owned by Ross Lewis and Martin Corbett, has scooped the top RAI award.

The restaurant, which opened in February 1992 in the basement of the Dublin Writers’ Museum on Parnell Square, won the best restaurant award in 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2009. In 2008 it won the RAI’s best chef award.

This year’s best chef award went to Danny Millar, head chef at Balloo House in Co Down since September 2006.

Mr Millar describes his food as a modern interpretation of classic European cooking and says he uses only the finest, locally sourced ingredients, preferring organic produce where possible.

The celebrity chef award went to Neven Maguire, head chef and proprietor of MacNean House and Restaurant in Co Cavan.

The Cavan restaurant also won the top award for best customer service.

Speaking at the presentation of the awards in Dublin last night, RAI president Paul Cadden described Irish restaurants as the economic engine rooms in every town in Ireland, creating and maintaining much needed local employment.

“Our industry has annual sales in excess of €2 billion and we employ 64,000 people. In fact, we are the largest employer within the Irish tourism sector,” said Mr Cadden, owner of the Saba Restaurant and Saba To Go in Dublin.

RAI chief executive Adrian Cummins said restaurants had cut costs as much as they could in a bid to survive the downturn in the economy.

The association has been campaigning on a number of issues, including a reduction in the minimum wage and local authority rates.

“It is great that a lot of people are deciding to holiday at home this summer but that does not take away from the high cost of doing business, that we are driving home as well,” he said.

The RAI is looking for a minimum 10% reduction in local authority rates immediately.

Restaurant workers were expected to stage a protest against wage cuts outside the Burlington Hotel where the awards ceremony took place.

The protest was organised by members of the Restaurant Workers’ Action Group, established by the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland.

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