Q+A with Dunboyne Castle’s Executive Head Chef Ian Daly
From making the most of Ireland’s amazing local produce, to letting simple flavours reign supreme, Executive Head Chef Ian Daly tells us all about food at Dunboyne Castle.
I’m originally from Roscommon and started working in the culinary trade 20 years ago. Following my training, I spent three years working in Melbourne, then returned to Ireland to undertake my degree and my Master’s degree. I went on to work in Galway, Dublin and France before moving to Dunboyne last year. I knew Dunboyne Castle as I’d eaten there a few times previously, and was really pleased when the Executive Head Chef job opening came up last year.
What does your job entail?
I oversee all the kitchen activity for the hotel. We have a team of 20 chefs working across our AA Rosette restaurant The Ivy, as well as the kitchen for the bar. We also do all the food for weddings and functions, which are regularly hosted at the hotel. As well as overseeing the general running of the kitchen, I also do everything from menu development to balancing budgets.
What is your food ethos?
It’s important to me to use local suppliers, and we’re lucky to have many in Ireland. In my menus, I like to keep things simple and let the ingredients speak for themselves. There are a lot of modern techniques that are popular at the moment, such as molecular gastronomy, but I think the best food doesn’t need technology to taste amazing. I recently pared the bar menu back to keep it fresh and seasonal. With some signature burgers and sandwiches added too, it means people who only have time for a quick bite to eat at a conference or business meeting can still have something fresh and healthy.
Tell us about some of your local suppliers.
We have some particularly good local suppliers from whom we get all our meat and fish from. Newbridge Meats is just down the road from us in County Kildare. They work with great local farmers and we buy all our breakfast meats from them, including pork sausages and black and white pudding. M&K Meats do wonderful steaks and lamb and they also created a burger exclusively for us at Dunboyne Castle. Wrights of Marino source a fantastic selection of fish from off the coast of Ireland and further afield.
What dishes are especially popular at Dunboyne Castle at the moment?
At The Ivy, the rack of lamb is particularly popular at the moment. It comes with a mint and rosemary crust, crushed potatoes, ratatouille and mint jus. It’s also a popular time of year for fish dishes, and at the moment we’re serving seabass and lemon sole. We’ve also designed a new Caprese salad, which has a twist on the traditional Caprese salad, as we’ve added a variety of heirloom tomatoes to it. That’s going down really well.
Aside from the food, what do you think is the best thing about Dunboyne Castle?
Some of my family and friends recently came to stay at the hotel because they’d never been. They had spa treatments, used the pool, had afternoon tea and dinner at The Ivy. They couldn’t stop talking about how the combination of it all was so relaxing. I think the spa in particular is a real bonus for people who come to stay.
What are your favourite things to do in the local area?
Dunboyne Castle is close to Dublin, but a lot of people come to relax in the countryside. I also really like the Wicklow Mountains, which are on the other side of Dublin, for walking and taking in the scenery.
Join us for food at Dunboyne Castle, whether it’s afternoon tea, a bite to eat in the bar, or an a la carte meal in our AA Rosette restaurant, The Ivy.