Member of the Month December 2017: Chad Byrne

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd January 2018

Here at The Staff Canteen, we felt it would be a great idea to show our appreciation to our loyal users, so to honour this we will be featuring a different member every month who we think deserves to be celebrated - this month’s winner is Chad Byrne.

As a member who regularly contributes to our site via the app Chef+, Chad will receive a copy of Borago: Coming from the South by Rodolfo Guzman, a goodie bag from our app sponsors Essential Cuisine and The Staff Canteen mug.

Mussels, ancho chilli,  mussel juice gazpacho

Mussels, ancho chilli,

mussel juice gazpacho

Current place of work, position and a brief overview of where you have worked before.

I am currently head chef at The Brehon Hotel in Killarney, which is part of the Gleneagles group. It is a luxury hotel with a 2 rosette restaurant. I've also worked at several leading five star hotels and Michelin starred restaurants including The Merrion Hotel, The Clarence Hotel, The Killarney Park Hotel, Mount Juliet and Restaurant Semplice. I started my career as a KP in my local Chinese restaurant over 20 years ago. It's been a long journey but I'm delighted to be where I am today, being self taught. 

What is your cooking style and what can people expect from the food on your menu?

My food style is seasonal and clean with robust flavours. I like you to be able to have a connection with the food and I'm cooking dishes that are recognisable. I don't do foams or powders - give me substance over style any day! The menu is always based on whats available, and my team's input. I feel when the team are involved in development, they respect the dishes more. It's a lot of trial and error sometimes - we have to do a dish several times to get it on the menu.

I've some great guys working with me and they're all different nationalities, so I'll always ask them for a dish from home and we'll get ideas from that - within means, I'm not cooking Cantonese chicken and noodles! But we'll take elements from that style of cuisine and incorporate them. It's important to value your teams ideas and their heritage.

What do you like about The Staff Canteen app and website?

The Staff Canteen is a great chef network. We all borrow recipes and ideas from each other so its a great platform to exchange knowledge.

Chad Byrne and kitchen team, head chef at The Brehon Hotel, Killarney
Chad Byrne and team
The Brehon Hotel, Killarney

What is your favourite dish to cook?

At home, you can't beat a great spaghetti vongole - beautiful clams, garlic, good wine, parsley and spelt pasta for that ancient grain. It's simple, flavoursome and done in minutes! In work lately, I'm really loving using clay ovens. It's bought a different dimension to my cooking . (Hopefully the boss is reading this and getting the wallet out!) 

My favourite dish currently is whole turbot cooked in birch wood with olive oil, lemon, thyme and good salt - that to me is perfection.

Guilty pleasure: list food item / dish / ingredient that aren’t considered ‘cheffy’ but you love to eat

It has to be big taco fries - chips, chilli beef and cheese - it's the dinner of champions ... well, lazy champions! 

What are your plans for the future?

To build on the reputation we are earning at The Brehon and to push for a third rosette. I'd like us to invest in a clay oven, building on my passion for food cooked with fire wood. Also, to bring my team on the journey of development. Finally, to expand my repertoire, you're never too old to stagiaire, and I plan to go away at the end of January for a few weeks to better myself, so watch this space!

Do you want to be the next Member of the Month? Download the app now for free and start sharing your images, videos and recipes and interacting with other members to be in with a chance of winning!

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd January 2018

Member of the Month December 2017: Chad Byrne