Chapter One voted best restaurant for sixth time

Thu, May 26, 2011, 01:00

CHAPTER ONE restaurant on Parnell Square in Dublin has been named Ireland’s Best Restaurant for the sixth time and the third year in a row.

Gregan’s Castle in Ballyvaughan, Co Clare, also featured strongly last night, taking top position in three out of eight categories. The awards were presented by the Restaurants Association of Ireland.

La Cucina restaurant in Castletroy, Limerick, won Best Casual Dining; the award for Best Wine Experience went to Greenacres of Selskar, Wexford, and Harry’s Bar and Restaurant in Bridgend on the Inishowen peninsula took the award Best Gastro Pub.

The award for Local Food Hero went to Jack McCarthy’s of McCarthy’s of Kanturk, Co Cork. The awards won by Gregan’s Castle included Best Customer Service, Best Hotel Restaurant and Best Chef – in the person of Mickael Viljanen.

The association, which has sales of €2 billion a year, said more than 6,000 nominations were received for this year’s awards.

The awards ceremony was, however, marked by a protest from members of the Restaurant and Catering Workers Forum, which has accused restaurateurs of an attempt to reduce the pay and conditions of workers.

Workers dressed as chefs waved placards and handed out flyers outside the event calling on the association to “stop attacks on workers’ wages”.

Protesters said the restaurants association was campaigning for a reduction in the minimum wage for catering workers.

They wanted to contrast their situation with the awards ceremony, which they said involved a champagne and cocktail reception, a five-course meal “and black-tie glamour”.

Adrian Cummins, chief executive of the restaurants association, said minimum terms and conditions of employment in the catering sector were “above and beyond the national minimum wage, including premium payment for weekend and overtime work”.

Mr Cummins added that the catering workers’ terms and conditions were kept artificially high by the Government’s Catering Joint Labour Committee and the association “reaffirmed” its call for its abolition.