The Executive Head Chef at The Ardilaun Hotel, David O’ Donnell was awarded the title of Best Chef in Connacht status for The Ardilaun Bistro at the national YesChef Awards 2016 that were held at the Hotel Bay Hotel & Spa, Athlone.
The Ardilaun Bistro was also one of four national finalists for the Best Hotel Restaurant Award and also nominated for the Best Front of House Award. David was in good company, with the overall winner going to David Gilmore of James St. South, Belfast who was awarded Best Chef 2016, but also Best Young Chef 2016 went to Brian Murphy, The Talbot Hotel, Belmullet.
Other worthy Galway winners included Renvyle House Hotel and Paddy Coynes, Renvyle. Originally a native of Cobh, Co. Cork, David O’ Donnell has led the kitchen team at The Ardilaun Hotel for over six years so it has been a team effort on achieving this accolade.
His love and passion for food came from having spent his summers in Tonragee in Co. Mayo, and as David says “both of these places have taught me how to use ingredients from the land, sea and the air”.
Having relaunched The Ardilaun Bistro earlier this year featuring dishes with locally sourced ingredients from West of Ireland artisan suppliers, David and his team are now working on introducing the new winter bistro menu in the coming weeks, to tie in with the start of the game season, along with a new afternoon tea menu, which will also be influenced by the seasons, so busy times ahead.
Shane Smith publisher of YesChef Ireland and Scotland and event organisor says “this year’s much anticipated event, which honours the work of Ireland’s hard-working chefs, both young and old, was a superb success with very deserving winners from across the island.”
Shane also says, “we are delighted to say that following the inspections and a very tough day for the senior independent judging panel in mid-September, the list of winners were truly deserving in our eyes and we were excited to honour them at the event.”