“Using the best from the sea and the land” is how Executive Head Chef, Kevin Curran describes his cooking style at Keadeen Hotel in Newbridge, Co. Kildare. Kevin has been working in Keadeen Hotel since 2011, and the recent development works to the Saddler’s Bar & Bistro and the Bay Leaf Restaurant has injected a new lease of life into the dining experience at the well- known Kildare hotel.
Kevin’s first steps in cooking came when he was just 14 when he started working in The Loft Restaurant in Bunratty, but his real education came from Roger Porrott, the owner of Gooser’s Bar & Restaurant in Lough Derg. “Roger was a huge influence on the way I cook and the ingredients I use,” said Kevin, “he taught me the importance of food provenance, of using the best product you can get your hands on and how cooking with seasonal ingredients is always the right thing to do.”
Having trained at RTC Galway, Kevin worked in Germany before returning to Ireland to take up a position in McGrattan’s of the Lane in Dublin, before cooking for some of Ireland’s best-known faces at the Russell Court Hotel and the famous Krystle Night Club.He then moved on to take up the position of Head Chef at the Osprey Hotel in Naas, which is where one of the biggest achievements of his career came. The late Paolo Tullio, a renowned food critic who wrote for the Irish Independent and regularly made appearances on RTE and Newstalk Radio rated Kevin as one of the best chefs in the country during a review of the restaurant, giving the food a rare 10/10 rating and awarding it ‘The Best Hotel Meal’ in Ireland in 2010.
Later, when Kevin moved to Athlone to work in the Hudson Bay Hotel Paolo was determined to taste the delight of his cooking once again, writing in May of that year and referring to Kevin’s previous tenure at The Osprey “knowing that a good chef was in the kitchen was enough to goad me into a drive to the Midlands”.
Kevin and Paolo became good friends after that, something that the chef still cherishes. “It was really humbling to see a renowned food critic like Paolo Tullio writing such glowing reviews about my food a few years ago, and when he came to Athlone a few months later it was a real vote of confidence for the quality of the food I was producing at the time. He was a really great supporter of mine and often offered me great advise and encouragement. Sadly, he has passed away now but he will always be remembered as a great supporter of chefs and restaurants all around Ireland. Of course, my cooking has evolved over the years, but the importance of great produce remains at the core of what I do.”
Although Kevin has worked all over the world he says he has never enjoyed his work as much as he does now under ‘the missus’, the name he affectionately calls the Keadeen’s owner, Rose O’Loughlin. “I love being part of The Keadeen Hotel team, the O’Loughlin family are fantastic hoteliers, they understand the importance of great food and service and are always open to new ideas and innovations which is so refreshing.”
Kevin’s style of food centres around the time of year, as he notes that there are different seasons for various produce including fish. “The specials on offer are always exceptional and they reflect the time of year in which they are cooked in. With spring season now beginning, one of the main dishes will be lamb, but the menu in the Keadeen is always full of wonderful variations of red meat, fish and poultry, alongside some tantalising vegetarian options”.
“I always ensure that the food we put on the menu suits the time of year as it means that it is fresh and in season. We source our fish from Nick Lynch of ‘Nick’s Fish’, and he sends me a brilliant variety of different types of fish all the time that would not normally be seen on menus throughout Ireland. We get our poultry from Feighcullen Farms in Rathangan, which is all organically produced and just a few miles down the road from us here at the hotel.”
Dining options at Keadeen are varied and guests can choose to eat at Saddler’s Bar & Bistro which offers restaurant quality food served in a casual setting or The Bay Leaf Restaurant which serves fine dining food and the best produce from the sea and the land. The Atrium Lounge serves light bites, cocktails and decadent afternoon teas and is a wonderful place to enjoy a catch up with a good friend. It all makes for a fabulous dining experience where you’re never going to be left short on choice! To find out more visit www.keadeenhotel.ie
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