Interview: Chef James Keaveney of Aerlingus

'The only way to work is being a team play in the catering business'

The Daily Meal: Why did you decide to become a chef?

Chef James Keaveney: My father was a great chef in that he loved food and loved to cook food . We had a country pub and used to get farmers coming in with trout, rabbit, pheasant. My Mother was also a great cook and her apple tarts /rhubarb tarts being made in the house would have a lingering sweet smell that would make you want more. I remember my father teaching me how to cook kidneys with seasonal mushrooms (picked out in the fields.) I knew at the early age of 10 / 11 that I wanted to cook .

What other back-of-the-house positions have you previously held?

I grew up in a pub and could pull a pint with the best of them; serving up the best Guinness in Co Galway.

Did you go to culinary school?

Went to RTC in Galway.

What credentials did you earn through your culinary studies?

City and guilds 7061 ( Chef ) and 7062 ( Chef ) and 7011( Bar Management)

What did you like best about the education experience?

There was a great pride and professionalism in the teaching staff. I loved working in the pastry /dessert classes as out teacher (whose surname was Keaveney, but no relation) was one of the best in Europe and his skill was not matched by anyone . it was a pleasure to work with him.

What did you like least?

I loved it all .

Where and how were you trained?

Trained in the Great Southern Hotel in Galway and the Corrib Great Southern Hotel as well.

What is your management style?

My style is work in the trenches with the team and let them know I would lead from the front.

What management style do you prefer for your supervisor to have?

I prefer that the supervisor to work the same as I do , Lead and not be led , If you don’t make mistakes you do not learn !

Are you a team player?

The only way to work is being a team play in the catering business

Describe your usual role in a team-centered work environment? Do you easily assume a leadership role?

I am the leader but seek out advice from my team . I take feedback in positive manner , this helps me lead with a strong team.

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