A former Irish Chef of the Year and one of Ireland’s top pastry chefs have joined Primrose as it opens in new, expanded premises on the Strand Road in the Maiden City.
Derek Creagh – who won Chef of the Year at the 2015 Georgina Campbell Awards – is to take up the position of Head Chef, while Monto Mansour has been appointed as Head Pastry Chef. Mr. Creagh was previously head chef at Harry’s, whose Portstewart restaurant Harry’s Shack won Irish Times Restaurant of the Year in 2014, as well as at Deane’s in Belfast, which was Michelin-starred during his time at the restaurant.
He has worked in a number of other Michelin-starred restaurants including Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck, Chez Bruce, and The Square, Putney Bridge. Donegal born and bred, Mr. Creagh is known for his modern and innovative approach to cooking, which he pairs with the strong commitment to local quality produce which Primrose is renowned for.
He and Monto Mansour have worked together for more than ten years, moving together from Deane’s in Belfast to the Salty Dog in Bangor, then Harry’s and now Primrose. The husband-and-wife team behind Primrose, Ciaran and Melanie Breslin, first started selling cupcakes made by baker Melanie in Ciaran’s butcher shops.
They opened their first Primrose in Derry with four members of staff in 2012, and now employ 80 people across two sites, Atlantic Quay and Strand Road, under the supervision of general manager Shelley McLaughlin.
Primrose won Best Casual Dining in Co. Derry in the Restaurants Association of Ireland awards, and is the north west’s current restaurant of the year.
“I’ve got to know Ciaran and Melanie over the last six months,” said Mr Creagh, “and I’ve been impressed by their straightforward talking and their hard work and determination. I’m delighted to be taking up the position as head chef in Primrose. It’s exciting to be associated with something new, and I’ve no doubt it’ll be successful. Derry has really moved on in terms of food, we have so many good places to eat out now and we are becoming known for our restaurants.
“Primrose will be another reason for people to stop in Derry.”
The new Primrose – which opens on 16th November - will include a restaurant and cocktail bar, as well a delicatessen and coffee to go. The famous ‘scratch bakery’ – where all of Primrose’s bread and cakes are made fresh from scratch, every day – will also move on site.
A selection of breads and patisserie items, as well as delicatessen from Breslin’s butchers, will also be on sale to take out for the first time. “We’re delighted to welcome Derek and Monto onto the staff of Primrose,” said Ciaran Breslin.
“This is our first venture into night-time eating, and we’re confident that with chefs of such calibre on board Primrose will continue to grow from strength to strength.
“We’ve been able to grow from four staff to 78 in five years, and that shows the appetite there is in Derry for quality food made from local produce, and also the potential that’s in this city to succeed as a small business,” said Melanie Breslin.
“Derry’s become a real food destination, and it’s wonderful to be part of that.”