Gregans Castle wins Best Restaurant & Best Chef award

Gregans Castle won Ireland’s Best Restaurant and Best Chef at the recent Food & Wine magazine/Penfolds Restaurant of the Year Awards at a gala luncheon in Dublin’s Convention Centre recently.

Bray’s Campo de’Fiori took the Readers’ Choice accolade for the second year running while Hilary Finlay and Kevin Thornton were inducted into the Hall of Fame for 2011.

Voted No1 Restaurant and Chef in Munster, Gregans Castle went on to claim the Restaurant of the Year Award and Chef of the Year Award for Mickael Viljanen’s ground-breaking cuisine.

Gregans Castle is situated close to the Cliffs of Moher, set amongst the beautiful landscape of the Burren, offering breathtaking views across Galway Bay and is owned by Simon Haden and Frederieke McMurray.

“It has been a tough year for the catering sector” commented Food & Wine magazine editor Ross Golden-Bannon, “but standards have not slipped and the excellence of the finalists and winners are a testament to the determination of restaurateurs and chefs across the country to innovate and succeed. They can hold their heads high in 2011 and other sectors could learn from their fast responses to a rapidly changing market place.”

Two entrants to the 2011 Hall of Fame were also announced, the first went to Hilary Finlay, former Director of Ireland’s Blue Book and also former president of the prestigious Historic Hotels of Europe of which the Blue Book association is the only Irish member. The second went to Kevin Thornton, the first Irish chef to achieve two Michelin stars. Kevin is also owner and head chef of Thornton’s Restaurant, Dublin.

The Ethnic & World Cuisine Award went to China Sichuan, Sandyford Dublin.

For the judging, readers of the magazine were asked to nominate their favourite restaurants, chefs and sommeliers. Then a regional panel of experts (including academics, food writers and industry specialists) provided their own feedback on the list, created a shortlist from the nominations and voted on national categories. Finally, an expanded panel of national judges voted on the overall winners of Best Chef and Best Restaurant using a secret ballot.

Winners of the 2011 Food & Wine magazine/ Penfolds Restaurant of the Year Awards

The Restaurant of the Year Award 2011
Gregans Castle, Co Clare

Best Ulster Restaurant Award 2011

Balloo House, Co Down

Best Munster Restaurant Award 2011
Gregans Castle, Co Clare

Best Leinster Restaurant Award 2011
Campagne, Kilkenny

Best Connacht Restaurant Award 2011

La Fougère, Co Mayo

Best Dublin Restaurant Award 2011
Chapter One, Dublin

Best Wine Experience Award 2011
Greenacres, Co Wexford

Best Sommelier Award 2011
Martina Delaney, L’Ecrivain, Dublin

Good Value Award 2011
Hargadons, Co Sligo & Dublin

Best Service Award 2011
Chapter One, Dublin

Good Cooking Award 2011
Farmgate Restaurant, Co Cork

Ethnic & World Cuisine Award 2011
China Sichuan, Sandyford, Dublin

Best Style Award 2011
Ballyfin, Co. Laois

Readers’ Choice Award 2011
Campo de’ Fiori, Bray, Co Wicklow

Hall of Fame Award 2011
Kevin Thornton, Thornton’s, Dublin

Hall of Fame Award 2011
Hilary Finlay, Former MD – The Blue Book  

The Chef of the Year Award 2011
Mickael Viljanen, Gregan’s Castle, Co Clare

Best Ulster Chef Award 2011
Neven Maguire, MacNean House, Co Cavan

Best Munster Chef Award 2011
Mickael Viljanen, Gregan’s House, Co Clare

Best Leinster Chef Award 2011
Billy Whitty, Aldridge Lodge, Co. Wexford

Best Connacht Chef Award 2011

Seamus Commons, La Fougère, Co Mayo

Best Dublin Chef Award 2011
Ross Lewis, Chapter One, Dublin


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