At a glittering awards ceremony in Dublin’s Mansion House on Sunday August 23, head chef Seamus Commons of La Fougère restaurant, Knockranny House Hotel and Spa in Westport was named Best Chef in Connaught at the Food & Wine Magazine Edward Dillon Restaurant of the Year Awards 2009.
Mr Commons won in a category which included fellow nominees Cedric Bottarlini from West restaurant, Stefan Matz from Ashford Castle, Wade Murphy from Lisloughrey Lodge, and Joe Flaherty from Vina Mara.
All nominees were selected by the food-loving general public and the final decision was made by a panel of Ireland’s top food and wine experts who included Lucinda O’Sullivan, Paolo Tullio, and Tomás Clancy.
Speaking after the Food & Wine Magazine awards ceremony, Mr Commons said he was truly honoured to have won this prestigious accolade. “To be shortlisted in this competitive category was a real honour for me and my team, but to actually win is an absolute dream. Our team at Knockranny is a group of extremely talented young men and women who work hard to ensure everything we offer represents the very best of Connaught. The recognition today has made all that dedication and effort extremely worthwhile.”
Mayo-born Mr Commons is renowned for his attention to detail and is truly passionate about using the highest quality locally produced ingredients in his cooking. Knockranny House Hotel prides itself on stocking the absolute best of what the local area has to offer and so Mr Commons has found himself very much at home with this mutually shared ethos. Since his arrival, the talented chef has been a driving force in the hotel’s new gourmet showcase Taste Knockranny and in developing the production of the hotel’s on-site organic smoked salmon.