Interview: Chef Kevin Dundon of Dunbrody Country House Hotel and Restaurant

'My style is modern Irish cooking, using indigenous ingredients in season'
The Daily Meal stayed at the Dunbrody Country House Hotel and Restaurant for two nights to experience their exceptional food. Kevin Dundon, a celebrity chef and the owner and executive chef of Dunbrody Country House, chatted with us to tell us many stories about the house, the atmosphere he likes to keep in his kitchen, and what keeps him cooking.
The Daily Meal: How did you get into cooking?
Chef Kevin Dundon: Cooking has always been a passion for me, from a very young age I recall standing on a stool in the kitchen watching my parents preparing delicious homecooked meals from basic ingredients. Mealtimes were a time when family came together to recount their day and share news.
Do you have a specialty dish?
One of my favourite dishes to cook is my Rack of Lamb with Irish Stew Consommé followed by a decadent Dunbrody Chocolate Kiss.
Do you prefer a particular style of cooking?
My style is modern Irish cooking, using indigenous ingredients in season.
What kind of atmosphere do you create in the kitchen?
Respect – first and foremost we endeavour to create a positive kitchen culture and by doing so you get the best from your staff (mostly!). Also endeavour to inspire our trainees, we try to give our staff the training they need to excel.
What do you look for when you hire other chefs to assist you in the kitchen?
As the Executive Chef here at Dunbrody House, I look for Chefs that can create my dishes with the same passion for good food, locally produced ingredients (where possible) and an understanding of cooking with the seasons.
Have you won any awards?
Best Culinary Experience in Republic of Ireland (Haute Grandeur)
Best Restaurant Hotel in Republic of Ireland (Haute Grandeur)
Boutique Hotel of the Year 2018 – Luxury Travel Guide
Boutique Hotel of the Year 2018 – Travel & Hospitality Awards
What is your favourite spice? Why?
I love most spices, but Peppercorns are the most commonly used spice in our kitchen. They come in either black, green or white and add varying levels of heat to dishes, both savoury and sweet (think strawberries with freshly ground black pepper!) Cinnamon is another popular choice because it has a lovely strong aroma with a deep sweet taste with a light spiciness. It is often used in desserts (particularly in the cooler months), but it also elevates many savoury dishes, such a meat stews and those dishes with Middle Eastern origins. I also loved Smoked Paprika, it’s made from ground sweet and spicy chilli peppers, and available in smoked, sweet and plain varieties. I use it in many dishes, it’s great in hearty stews. My least favourite spice is nutmeg!
What keeps you in cooking?
My overdraft! No, seriously my love of good food and continuously learning and creating new recipe ideas, meeting like-minded people who share my passion for cooking.
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