Top chefs join forces to cook banquet for 800 of their peers

Industry figures out in force for the Irish Restaurant Awards 2015

Stephen Gibson of Pichet restaurant will be cooking the main course for 800 diners at the RAI Irish Restaurant Awards

Sometimes chefs get a call to cook for royalty, for stars of the big screen, for key influencers, and this recognition of their talent is a career defining moment. Likewise an invitation to cook at the Restaurants Association of Ireland awards is a honour that only a select band of top-flight chefs have attained.

Some 2,500 restaurateurs, chefs, managers and staff have already attended the four regional rounds in the 2015 Irish Restaurant Awards, and 800 of them will be sitting down to a five-course banquet prepared by an A-team of their peers at the all-Ireland finals at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Dublin on May 25th.

The menu is a closely guarded secret that will only be revealed on the night, but the chefs who have been chosen by the RAI to cook this year are Frankie Mallon of An Port Mór restaurant in Westport (starter); Kevin Aherne of Sage in Midleton (soup); Brian McMonagle of The Brewer's House in Dungannon (fish); Stephen Gibson of Pichet in Dublin (main course) and Billy Whitty of Aldridge Lodge in Duncannon (dessert).

Last year's big winners were Neven Maguire, who took the title of best chef in Ireland, and Campagne in Kilkenny, named best restaurant. Sisters Kay Harte and Maróg O'Brien of Farmgate Café were last year's winner of the hotly contested Local Food Hero award.


There are five finalists in this year's Rewarding Times Local Food Hero category. Food writer and TV presenter Donal Skehan is the Dublin representative. Darina Allen of Ballymaloe Cookery School has been nominated in Munster. Caroline Wilson of Belfast Food Tours is the Ulster representative. Highbank Orchards and Roy Calder-Potts take the Leinster vote, while Connaught is represented by Ronan Byrne, the "Friendly Farmer".