Eamonn O'Reilly - One Pico, Dublin
One of the most coveted of all our awards, the title Chef of the Year has previously gone to some very distinguished heroes – and some unsung heroes - of the Irish food scene including Kevin Thornton (Thorntons
Dublin, 1999); Moira Tighe (Cromleach Lodge
, Co Sligo, 2000); Michael Deane (Deanes Restaurant
Belfast; 2001); Maura Foley (Packies
Kenmare, 2003) and, more recently, Stefan Matz (Ashford Castle
(2007); Paul Flynn (The Tannery
, Dungarvan, 2008); and Richard Corrigan (Bentleys
Dublin, 2009). This year’s winner has earned a special place among these hallowed names.
If asked to single out just one person in the hospitality world who not only anticipated the downturn (as it was called last year) well ahead of everyone else, but also acted promptly to ensure a future for his business, together with exceptional value and quality for cash-strapped customers, it would be Eamonn O’Reilly.
One of Dublin’s finest chefs (we have followed his career with interest since the early days in Camden Street), his style is basically classical French with an occasional nod to Irish traditions.
He is known and, rightly, admired for sophisticated, technically demanding dishes that are invariably executed with confidence and flair - he cooks with first class ingredients, turning them into classic dishes with lovely clean flavours, yet with his own unique stamp on each dish.
Also the owner of Bleu Café Bistro
on Dawson Street, he moves between the two kitchens and it’s greatly to his credit that – as recent experience has confirmed - the cooking never waivers, whether or not he is present.
A true professional, we take off our toques to him.