Q&A: Devon Butterfield, Gather, Tuam

Devon Butterfield is Front of House at the multi-award winning Gather restaurant in Tuam, Co. Galway. They do an average of 500 covers every weekend. Barbara Collins asks Devon – what are the tricks of her trade?

FFT.ie: How did you end up working in Tuam?
Devon: Siobhan and I were working together in Vancouver, where I’m from. We were both chefs and got on really well. That was about eight years ago. Then Siobhan decided to move home to Abbeyknockmoy in Galway where she’s from. I had continued working in the industry and then when Siobhan and her sister Aoife decided to open up Gather, we thought it would be amazing to work together again.

This is a really busy place. What do you think you need to be a good front of house?
I would say you definitely need to have a lot of patience and a lot of passion for your business. I always say to myself and my team that you need to “own your business”. Own your business is tapping into yourself and your passion and trying to make it as fun as possible, but definitely a lot of patience.

Is that patience with the customers or just dealing with the general day to day running of the restaurant?
Well, you’re in a situation where you’re constantly being pulled and pushed in many different directions. So, yes, you sometimes need to have patience with customers but also patience with the lack of control. You’re always having to figure things out in the moment and if you’re someone who doesn’t have a lot of patience, that’s when you might crumble and I think you need to tap into patience and be able to roll with the punches, be it a customer, be any of sort of incident that happens on the general fly, that’s what I mean when I talk about patience.

Compared to Vancouver though, how different is it working in a country area of Galway? What’s the difference between the customers and the kind of vibe?
What you actually get here is more of a sense of community. One thing that happens often, especially on a Sunday evening is that you get a lot of tables connecting together because they know each other. There’s a little bit more engagement. In Vancouver, people are just coming in for their meal. They’re not asking where you’re from, or if you know each other or if you’re related? You definitely get a lot more of that here which I absolutely thrive on.

The Head Chef of Gather is Siobhan Flaherty. It is open on Thursdays for dinner with all day casual dining on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Bestselling dishes include spiced aear with balsamic radicchio, Galway goats cheese and pickles hazelnuts; Brady’s braised oxtail, creamy wild mushrooms, truffle oil and sage crisp; and Friendly Farmer free-range chicken, roast squash, puy lentils and tarragon veloute.

There are sharing boards priced between €12.50 and €22.50. Starters range from €5.75 to €10.50 and mains from €18.25 to €31.

Gather won Best Casual Dining in Connaught at the 2018 Restaurant Association of Ireland Awards and was Highly Commended at Georgina Campbell’s Irish Breakfast Awards 2018.

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