The Restaurants Association of Ireland is pleased to announce that the All-Ireland Finals of the Irish Restaurant Awards took place in the Clayton Hotel Burlington Road, where the premier restaurant and hospitality establishments in Ireland for 2018 were named.
Over 1,000 restaurateurs and staff attended the sold out, black tie event which celebrated the achievements and perseverance within the industry over the last 12 months.
Now in its tenth year, the awards have continued the trend of growing in both attendee numbers and industry esteem. Over 90,000 online nominations were received for Irish restaurants and hospitality businesses this year. Awards were received from 21 categories that included all areas of the sector and keeping with recent movements, the awards introduced their newest category this year, Best Free From, which received an impressive response from nominees and the general public.
On the night, Liam Edwards, President of the Restaurants Association of Ireland spoke about the resilience of the industry, saying: “As an industry, the restaurateurs, pub-owners and entrepreneurs of Ireland, continue to defy the odds. You strive to create jobs, expand upon Ireland’s understanding of food standards and world cuisine, all while maintaining exemplary customer service. Your support of Irish produce has never been greater and for this you should be wholeheartedly applauded.”
Attendees were treated to a six course gala dinner, prepared by a line-up of Ireland’s most high profile chefs. The team included Shamzuri Hanifa of Cottage Restaurant, TV chef Gary O’Hanlon, Danni Barry of Clenaghans Restaurant, Keith Boyle of the Bay Tree Bistro in Waterford City and Elena Martinez of Crover House Hotel. Several of the chefs are previous winners of the Best Chef title for the Irish Restaurant Awards.
The All-Ireland Best Chef winner was announced as Jess Murphy from Kai Restaurant in Galway. Her philosophy at her establishment is very simple; Murphy sources fresh, organic produce from local suppliers to create daily menus bursting with flavour, texture and colour. The judges were impressed with Murphy’s commitment to high quality, local produce.
Etto Restaurant took home the All-Ireland Best Restaurant Award 2018. Based in Dublin, Etto are previous winners in the Irish Restaurant Awards Best Casual Dining and Best Wine Experience awards. They offer a daily changing, seasonal menu, served in a relaxed and informal environment and describe their dishes as honest and simple, using ingredients from local producers and suppliers where possible.
Speaking at the awards, Chief Executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland Adrian Cummins commented: “On our tenth anniversary of the Irish Restaurant Awards, I’m delighted to report that this has been our most successful year to date. These awards are the accolades of the Irish restaurant industry and they celebrate only the very best that this country has to offer. From over 90,000 online nominations cast earlier this year to 3,000 guests attending our regional events, it is clear that the stature, calibre and reputation of the awards is expanding at a considerable rate and it is all in aid of highlighting the talent within our sector. All winners and finalists here tonight are utterly deserving of the recognition they have received.”