Head Chef, Jonathan Keane, The Lodge at Ashford Castle

What inspired you to become a chef?

The west of Ireland flora, fauna and farms: nature’s larder.

What do you find most satisfying about your work?

Watching staff progress into becoming fine chefs under our tutelage.

And least?

People who pretend to have allergies, making it difficult for people with genuine allergies to feel confident that they are being catered for properly.

Is there a chef you particularly admire, and if so why?

Ross Lewis: respects all his staff, all of the time.

Is there any aspect of the contemporary food scene that you find especially irritating?

Foams etc. If it doesn’t add to the taste and texture of the dish, why bother?

Describe your perfect diner.

It’s always really satisfying to cook for someone who knows their food and ‘gets’ the little elements of the dish.

Are there any food critics whose opinions you respect, and if so why?

All of them who tell the truth and don’t pander to trends, fads or take bribes!

What’s the most important thing to bear in mind when cooking your recipes at home?

Cooking is simple. Stay calm and have fun!

The Lodge at Ashford Castle