1 Michelin Star Chefs: Paul McDonald, chef owner, Bastion

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 9th December 2019

Paul McDonald is the chef owner of Bastion in KinSALE, Ireland.

The chef and his wife Helen Noonan opened the wine bar cum bistro on the corner of Market and Mains street in 2015. It was awarded a Bib Gourmand in 2016, becoming the first in the city to get a Michelin star in the 2020 guide.  



Junction of Market St & Main St, Kinsale, Cork, Ireland

Telephone: +353 21 470 9696

Website and reservations: http://www.bastionkinsale.com/

Opening hours:

Wednesday-Sunday: 5-11pm

Monday-Tuesday: Closed

Twitter: @BastionKinsale

Instagram: @bastion_kinsale

Facebook: @BastionKinsale

Career path

Scottish-born Paul McDonald started working in kitchens when he was 14, potwashing at a restaurant  in Glasgow called Havana. 

His apprenticeship programme with MI Tech secured him a diploma in a record eleven months, and from there the chef moved to a restaurant called Rococo, where he stayed until he was 18. 

Paul moved to Dublin and was hired to work at The Clarens Hotel (famously owned by U2 lead singer Bono) under chef Anthony Eli.

Then, he was named sous-chef at Bleu, owned by Eamonn O'Reilly - now owner of two Michelin-starred The Greenhouse. He was quickly promoted to head chef when his predecessor disappeared without a trace. 

Two years later, Paul moved to London to work at Tom Aikens' No 43 at Elephant Street, where he met Aiden Byrne.

When Aiden announced that had been offered the head chef position at Danesfield House with Russell Bateman as his sous, he asked the young chef to join him - which he did with little hesitation. 

A year later, Paul went back to Dublin to work for Kevin Thornton at then one Michelin-starred Thornton's, before taking on the head chef position at Adare Manor, where he met his wife Helen. 

In 2010, the couple took over the now Michelin-starred The Mews in Baltimore.

Then, after a year in Australia, the chef worked at The Westbury, followed by the G Hotel in Galway, where he oversaw the whole food operation. 

However, the 100 hour weeks took their toll on his relationship, so the chef took Helen on what he called a 'save the relationship tour' - intending to go from Galway to Kinsale, followed by stops in Baltimore, Killarney and Limerick before going back to Galway - which was cut short when the couple saw the premises of Bastion.

The rest, as they say, is history.

What the guides say





The Kinsale neighbourhood has long been a seafood destination, but, with the addition of restaurants like Bastion, is fast becoming a go-to for the city's food lovers.

The bar area, where guests are invited to wait before being seated, is partitioned off from the main restaurant area. Originally seating 50 people, as the menu became more complex, the couple decided to reduce the number of seats in the restaurant to 36. 

A love for Irish produce transpires throughout the eight-course tasting menu, from the Guinness sourdough with treacle butter to foie gras with poached rhubarb, mustard leaf and brioche croutons.

It is playful, too, with dishes like mackerel with gin and tonic foam, for instance, or fillet steak, jam and doughnuts with sage and Dijon dauphine, balsamic onions, velvet cauliflower and sprout cups. 

The guide singles out the three following dishes: pea mousse and soup with lemon, mint and basil; lamb cannon with aubergine and wild garlic, and finally, caramelised milk with chocolate & mandarin crumble and milk & honey sorbet. 

Despite its success, critic reviews of Bastion are few and far between. New York Times travel writer Brendan Spiegel, however, called the restaurant an "inventive spot" offering "delectable dinner." 

In these challenging times…

…the hospitality landscape has dramatically changed in the last two months, and with that our advertising revenues have all but expired, significantly impacting our business. Despite having to furlough a large portion of our staff, we are still delivering the valuable content and honest information, which hundreds of thousands of you come to The Staff Canteen for. We believe we have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs, are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector.

Your financial support means we remain independent and open to all. We were launched by a chef and remain the voice of chefs and other hospitality professionals.

We need your support to keep delivering the products and content that you love, giving you the platform to share opinions and inspiration. Every contribution whether big or small, means so much.
Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 9th December 2019

1 Michelin Star Chefs: Paul McDonald, chef owner, Bastion