Rob Krawczyk, something is changing in Irish cuisine
Born in County Cork, award winning Irish Chef Rob Krawczyk, grew up in a home in Schull that revolved around the kitchen, influenced by his parent’s strong culinary and artistic heritage. After living away, West Corks ’spectacular rich larder is what has drawn Rob home to open up a Restaurant in the heart of this beautiful area, making it the new hub of Irish cuisine.
“It’s a bit more of me and now I’m able to express myself more” chef Robbie Krawczyk says of his own restaurant, the Michelin starred Chestnut Restaurant. Krawczyk, who was named Best Chef in Leinster in 2015 and 2016 while head chef at Brabazon Restaurant in Tankardstown House in Co Meath, comes from curing stock. His father, Frank Krawczyk, is a cheesemaker and an important figure in Irish charcuterie. Ten years ago, Robbie started curing and smoking meat himself. “I built a curing room and a smoking room at Tankardstown House to produce charcuterie exclusively for the guests,” he says.
Before Tankardstown House, he worked for Richard Corrigan in London, Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in San Francisco and Martijn Kajuiter at the Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore, among others.
Rob moved away but was drawn back to West Corks’ ‘spectacular rich larder’ to open up a Restaurant in the heart of this beautiful area with his partner Elaine. Restaurant Chestnut is a 18 seater restaurant set in a former pub in Ballydehob, “It’s small, seasonal menu using the best of produce – he says -It’s heavy with the curing and smoking.”
The menu, inspired by nature, is an ever evolving menu designed around the best of the seasons ingredients. It opened its doors in March 2018 and in October 2018, Restaurant Chestnut was awarded its first Michelin Star.
He has a simple approach to food using quite humble ingredients. He told Image: “I’m not really into cooking foie gras or stuff like that. I much prefer taking something like a beetroot and making something from that, whether it’s a sorbet or even served shaved raw. I think in our younger days, we can overcomplicate things. Over time, you start to realise, less is more.”
He says his dad Frank has been a huge influence in his work, particularly in terms of charcuterie. He says he taught him everything he knows. He learned from his mistakes and both of his parents taught him to appreciate good food.
“We have the best ingredients here and I don’t like to see people wasting or disrespecting them by not using them properly.” This is the base concept for Restaurant Chestnut that use only the amazing products from around the area.
Restaurant Chestnut’s menu, inspired by nature, is an ever evolving menu designed around the best of the seasons ingredients. Local herbs, flowers , vegetables, meat and fish are sourced, picked, grown and foraged from West Cork and surrounding countryside. Dishes are presented as close to nature as possible allowing an honest encounter between Chef and Diner.
In short … there is so much new in the deep Irish South, far from the lights of Dublin a small great culinary revolution is emerging!
Have a good trip Rob!