10 Minutes With: Chad Byrne on combating the chef shortage in Ireland with his event #KerryCollab

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 18th May 2018

Chad Byrne is head chef at The Danú Restaurant and is hoping his event can combat the chef shortage in Ireland.

Chad is also part of the development team for the Gleneagle Hotel Group, which includes Scotts Killarney and The Maritime Hotel. He has recently started up a series of chef collaboration events called #KerryColab, inviting chefs of all levels to cook together at local pubs.

The Staff Canteen spoke to Chad about the concept behind the events, and how he hopes it will help combat the chef shortage in Ireland.

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One of Chad's creations

Why is there a chef shortage in Ireland?

Despite there being over 40 hotels in Killarney, Chad explained that they still have difficulty recruiting chefs because of the location.  “We’re in one of the most beautiful places in the country, but it’s hard to get chefs," he explained.

In order to motivate and help develop current staff, Chad came up with the idea for #KerryColab – a series of chef collaborations where chefs of all levels can cook cost-price food and come together. 

Chad said: “There’s a lot of stigma around chefs about working long hours and this and that but I think that’s dying away now because there literally are no chefs.

"Everybody has to pay a fair rate, the hours have got to be decent, so I suppose it’s a common meeting ground to learn from each other, inspire each other, grow and be better.”

What is #KerryColab?

The events will be hosted on neutral ground, at local pubs and gastropubs, and head chefs are encouraged to bring commis chefs or chefs de partie with them.

He added: “It will be a local pub or gastropub and we’ll change the venue each time. Just a pub with a kitchen, where there are no graces, there’s no egos, if it’s a commis that wants to cook, me or another chef or his head chef will mentor him to make sure the dishes are up to standard.”

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Brined Hake

The first #KerryColab event is already confirmed and will be on Monday, May 28 2018 at Courtney’s Bar, Killarney. One of the town’s oldest and most popular pubs, head chefs already confirmed include; Chad Byrne, The Brehon Hotel; Dylan Kelly and Simon Regan, The Rustic Pantry; Noel Enright, The Lake Room and John O’Leary, The Yew Tree.

The chefs will cook a four-course menu with amuse bouches and petit fours, priced at 25 Euros per person. Chad explained that the food will be at cost price so that chefs of any level can come without breaking the bank.

Chad said: “A lot of the food will be sponsored by suppliers. None of the chefs will be paid so it’s doing it if you want to do it, but every chef that I’ve talked to so far has thought it was brilliant… It’s not about making money – it’s about a genuine network.”

The first event will be an introduction to the series, and it sold out with three weeks to go. Chad also told us that the next two are already in the planning stages. He has had quite a lot of uptake for the events so far, including Eddie Atwell, a Roux Scholarship finalist and Great British Menu contestant.

The future of #KerryColab

Whilst the events are currently based in Killarney, Chad hopes that they will be able to expand in the future to include chefs from the United Kingdom and overseas. He said: “If we continue doing this and we can make connections with people in the UK, we could offer to pay their transport or whatever. That would be brilliant but it’s about getting that network going first.”

The first #KerryColab will be at 9PM on Monday, May 28 2018 at Courtney’s Bar, Killarney. The event is now completely sold out!

You can also follow Chad on Twitter at @chadpbyrne for updates.

By Jenna Lloyd

@canteenjenna

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 18th May 2018

10 Minutes With: Chad Byrne on combating the chef shortage in Ireland with his event #KerryCollab