It’s the end of an era.
After three hugely successful decades running one of the most prestigious, interesting and adventurous restaurants in Ireland, Ross Lewis is stepping aside from Chapter One.
The chef, who retained a Michelin star for 15 years, is handing over to Mickael Viljanen, the talented chef who held two Michelin stars since 2019 in The Greenhouse for his elegant, complex and delicious food.
Now Ireland has an exciting food scene, but that wasn’t the case when Lewis opened Chapter One in the 1990s.
The restaurant has gone on an impressive journey since then.
When Ross previously featured as Irish Country Living’s front cover, he said: “It’s been a journey of self-discovery, trying to build on every building block, developing your own style, and that’s been great.
"When we first opened, it was ‘Paddy wants a seafood starter, some protein for mains - a 10oz steak or a piece of flat sole on the bone, veg on the side, chocolate for dessert and a nice bottle of red to wash it down'."
However, around the time of Riverdance, Ross says a really interesting change came about among the Irish people and their food choices.
“They were willing to try more, experiment. They didn’t need the great big steak, there was a moving on, an acceptance.
"Obviously, with a restaurant, if you cook tasty food and people visit and like what you do, they have the confidence to let you change and embrace it.
"So from that time right up till now, it’s just been getting better and better.
"People are well travelled, knowledgeable. They have a confidence, an expectation when eating out that is really helping the restaurant industry to drive forward and become more exciting.”
Well done to Ross for keeping his finger on the pulse and pushing things forward for many years.
He will stay on as a partner with Michael, but his main focus will now be his restaurant Osteria Lucio on Clanwilliam Terrace
Italy, we miss you. We miss the pizzas and the pastas and the powerful sips of espresso in the sun.
And of course, we miss the wine.
SuperValu is helping to ease the pain, as it is currently running an Italian wine sale.
It’s a great opportunity to explore the vibrant notes of Italian wine known for its full-bodied flavours.
Over 35 bottles are on special offer and we’ve selected three of our favourites for those barbecues in the sun this weekend.
Baffo Rose Chianti (€9, reduced from €13.99)
A Chianti for €9, now that’s a bargain.
For those who like a lighter red, this is young and elegant, with pops of redcurrants, cherry and a subtle earthy tone.
Light velvet tannins give it a lovely finish. If you’re lucky enough to have one of those cool pizza ovens, get it fired up for this beauty.
Barone Montalto Ammasso (€15, was €18.99)
This is a quality wine at a great price.
From Sicily, it’s got notes of jammy blackcurrants and raspberries and a little toastiness, resulting in a wine that is smooth on the palate with a lovely long finish. Great with chicken and chorizo skewers.
Amarone Della Valpolicella
If you want something really special, it has to be Amarone. You’ll taste the difference with this Amarone Della Valpolicella. This is the one to enjoy with a juicy rib eye steak.
Even in the glass it looks impressive, with its deep purple colour, met with ripe red fruit and a little sweetness on the finish.
Big, bold red wine lovers, this is for you - full bodied with lots of alcohol.
And if you’re not into wine but fancy a cocktail, Aperol Spritz is on sale for €17. Check out www.supervalu.ie.
After a refreshing swim and a walk on the beach, people head to Randaddy’s Beachfront Restaurant in Lahinch for tasty grub.
It’s an assorted menu reflecting the travels of owner Randy Lewis who loves recreating dishes from the five continents he has visited.
The Canadian foodie and chef has been living in Lahinch for 15 years and while he has travelled the world, he wanted to explore his Irish home in more detail, all of which will be documented on his new show Randy’s Taste of Adventure, which airs on RTE One, starting Sunday 30 May.
It’s been a dream for a long time, but COVID-19 hampered his plans.
Finally, his show got on the road and over six days he visited eight counties and a dozen food businesses.
In his cool VW California Campervan, he meets some great Irish producers, with kayaking, climbing and cliff diving along the way.