KILRONAN CASTLE-One of Ireland’s most luxurious castle hotels, Kilronan Castle Estate and Spa, Co. Roscommon, is the ancestral home of the Tennison family and the legendary Colonel King Tennison. This secluded 19th-century hotel is majestically set on the shores of Lough Meelagh, surrounded by over 40 acres of breathing Irish scenery, lush green pastures, ancient forests and historical points of interest. The estate boasts a world-class spa and leisure centre for guests to relax and unwind. Named after the first President of Ireland who was born in Roscommon, the 2 AA Rosette award-winning Douglas Hyde Restaurant is the hotel’s iconic dining room. Created to inspire the senses – with mouth-watering dishes exquisitely presented, rich wood panelling on the walls, splendid chandeliers and rich, gold curtains – the combination offers a unique dining experience. It is all complemented by a classic, tempting menu, attentive service and the culinary team’s confident way with fine Irish ingredients, which echo the sophisticated surroundings. Did you always want to be a chef? From the age of about eight-years-old, I formed an interest in cooking. My Gran worked as a housekeeper during and after the Depression. I would stay with her most school holidays and would surf, fish and cook with Gran. I learnt how to cook rabbit, tripe, oxtail and flans, bread and butter pudding. All of the old school things, that are now in trend. How long have you been working at Kilronan Castle and what brought you there? I have been employed at the castle now for nearly two years. My wife is Irish and we moved over to Leitrim from Australia a few years ago. When I got a call about an opening as the Executive Chef, I jumped at the chance.
Executive Chef David Porter What makes your restaurant unique? Well, first of all, it’s the space, it’s over 200 years old. There are not too many restaurants set in buildings of that calibre. Then there is the cuisine, an Australian chef’s take on Irish European cuisine. Our service style is sophisticated, educational and yet not stuffy. Where do you source your produce? When possible local, local, local. Angus Beef From Drumshanbo, Seafood from Killybegs, Duck from Thornhill and fresh produce from Elphin. I do utilise the Dublin, London and Paris markets. You will see truffles, wild mushroom, Jamon Iberico and all of the gastronomic delicacies on our menu. What advice would you give to aspiring young chefs? My advice is simple — this trade requires passion and a general interest in cooking. It’s an expressive job as well and at the top level, requires an artistic approach. If you are just going through the motions, you will not go very far.