Monday, August 24, 2009

Chef of the Year 2009

...and the winner is Sunil Ghai of Ananda Restaurant in Dublin who received standing ovations at last nights award ceremony hosted by Food & Wine Magazine. He was very humble and simply said thanks for the award and thanks toward his amazing team at the restaurant. But let me start at the beginning.

The day started of with a Veuve Clicquot Reception at 12:30 on the terrace of Fire Restaurant at the Mansion House. The champagne was flowing freely and the chefs enjoyed their day off. Well known faces as Derry Clarke with his charming wife Sallyanne of L'Ecrivain, Dylan McGrath of former Mint, Paul Flynn and too many to name here all. Lots of food writers were attending as well like Dianne Curtin & Aoife Carrigy (both write for Food & Wine) as well as Regina Sexton - a food historian from UCC.

Dianne and myself arrived in the morning after a 'short' drive from Cork (my first time driving up myself), and we were already in the mood for the champagne. We were then called into the 'Round' Room of the Mansion house which - as the name kind of suggests - is round with a ceiling that had 'stars' glowing down on us. The service was amazing and the food mouthwatering (below the menu). Norah Casey (Publisher of Food & Wine) opened the day with a lovely speech that relaxed everyone and set the mood for the rest of the event.

Roast Thyme infused baby beetroot St Tola feta goats't cheese, orange and mache salad with caramelised walnuts (WOW in capitals. One of the best salads I have eaten in a long time. The walnuts gave a lovely sweetness and texture to the dish). Served with Penfolds Reserve Bin Eden Valley Riesling 2005 (leave the Riesling to the Germans - one of the few things they really do well). The wine was okay but nothing to write home about. Saying that, it went well with the salad.

Casteltownbere crab ravioli in a spiced tomato and coconut broth and yellow curry oil. (The soup was more a cream soup than a broth but it was absolutely yummy. A great kick from the spices and the curry oil. The crab was fresh and the ravioli was cooked to perfection). Served with Penfolds Thomas Hyland Chardonnay 2007 (again, okay but nothing of note but then, I am not the biggest fan of Chardonna)

Duo of wild marsh black face lamb with nage of spring vegetables (samphire & peas), celeriac gratin and caramelised shallot jus (it look fantastic - listening to the carnevores - very rich and filling). I had panfried hake with samphire & peas, served with potato cubes and lemon cream (they let the fish speak for itself - simply perfect dish). For the main course, we had 2 wines to choose from, Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2004 & Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 (I chose Shiraz - nice wine but I like my wine bolder).

We were then served a Crozier Blue Cheese and Pear Cider Sorbet.........okay, lets be didn't work. Almost everybody sent it back. If they'd left the cheese out, it would have been great. The texture was simply perfect for an ice cream - and you expected something refreshing.....and then you were hit with the blue cheese, nope it didn't work as a palette cleanser

Lemon posset with a layer of passionfruit jelly served with lavender sables and strawberries......heaven on earth.

And now to the winners:

Restaurant of the Year
1st Chapter 1
2nd L'eCrivain
2nd Pearl Brasserie
3rd The Tannery

Chef of the Year
1st Sunil Ghai (Ananda)
2nd Paul Flynn (The Tannery)
3rd Garrret Byrne (Campagne)

Ulster Best Restaurant
1st McNean House
2nd Deanes
3rd Balloo House

Munster Best Restaurant
1st The Tannery
2nd Fishy Fishy
3rd Gregan's Castle

Leinster Best Restaurant
1st Campagne
2nd Dunbrody House
3rd Aldrigde Lodge

Connaught Best Restaurant
1st The Pier
2nd Inis Meain
3rd Oscar's Restaurant

Dublin Best Restaurant
1st Pear Brasserie
2nd Dax
3rd Chapter One

Ulster Best Chef
1st Neven McGuire (MacNean House)
2nd Noel McMeel (Catalina)
3rd Danny Millar (Balloo House)

Munster Best Chef
1st Paul Flynn (The Tannery)
2nd Mickael Vilajeu (Gregan's Castle)
3rd Martin Shanahan (Fishy Fishy)

Leinster Best Chef
1st Garrett Byrne (Campagne)
2nd Billy Whitty (Aldridge Lodge)
3rd Henry Stone (Sha-Roe Bistro)

Connaught Best Chef
1st Seamkus Commons (La Fougere)
2nd Wade Murphy (Lisloughrey Lodge)
3rd Stefan Matz (Stefan Matz)

Dublin Best Chef
1st Sunil Ghai (Ananda)
2nd Sebastien Masi (Pearl Brasserie)
3rd Ross Lewis (Chapter One)

Best Artisan Supplier
1st Murphy's Ice Cream
2nd Blazing Salads Bakery
3rd Gubbeen Smokehouse

Best Sommelier
Ian Brosnan (Chapter One)

Best Wine Experience
The Wine Cellar (Fallon & Byrne)

Best Service Award
1st Deanes (Belfast)
2nd Park Hotel Kenmare (Kenmare)
3rd Seasons Restaurant (Four Season Hotel)

The Readers' Choise Award went to KOH Restaurant

Congratulations to for organising such an event and congratulations of course to all chefs and restaurants that have been nominated and a special hurrah to all the winners.

What a day - the evening was continued at Ron Blacks Champagne Bar across the road from the Mansion House. Silly me forgot the camera again - the dishes were elegantly presented and woul have given a lot of material for the blog. I certainly got many ideas for the next dinner party.

Maybe next year if I get invited again :-) (hopefullly)

1 comment:

Caroline@Bibliocook said...

Sounds like you had a ball, Elke!