Dede at The Customs House in Baltimore, Co Cork, was promoted from one star to two at the Michelin Guide UK & Ireland awards ceremony at Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire on Monday evening. There was good news, too, for Terre at the Castlemartyr Resort hotel, which makes its debut with one star in the 2023 guide.
Irish restaurant personalities were honoured in the five special awards that were presented at the event. Declan Maxwell, formerly at Chapter One in Dublin 2 and now leading the front of house team at Spitalfields in Dublin 8, received the service and welcome award. Chef and restaurateur Michael Deane, of Eipic in Belfast, was the recipient of the mentor award.
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No Irish restaurant lost a star in the 2023 guide, despite widespread speculation that a cull of one-star restaurants was on the cards. The concerns stemmed from the recent release of the French edition of the guide, in which 25 restaurants lost stars.
Dede, which Ahmet Dede and Maria Archer opened during the pandemic in July 2020, was awarded its first star in 2021. Since then, it has made rapid strides, with an all-Turkish kitchen team recreating dishes from their native country, made with Irish ingredients. “This is for Ireland and for Turkey,” Dede said in his acceptance speech.
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According to Michelin, Dede’s “sophisticated modern dishes dazzled our inspectors”. The restaurant was one of just three to be awarded two stars in this edition of the guide, the others being The Ledbury and Hotel Cafe Royale, both in London.
French chef Vincent Crepel was headhunted specifically to open Terre at the Castlemartyr Resort hotel in Co Cork last year, with the stated ambition of seeking Michelin recognition.
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There was speculation among restaurant critics that Terre could emulate the feat achieved by Aimsir in Co Kildare when it made its debut in the 2019 guide at two-star level, having opened less than five months previously. But instead, the newcomer, which launched in September of last year, was among the 20 new one-stars announced.
In its citation, Michelin commended Terre “for making the very best of the local larder”. In addition to sourcing some ingredients locally, the restaurant also casts a wide net to gather some of the most luxurious and rare culinary ingredients from around the world and makes a point of displaying them to diners in advance of their meal.
Commenting on the award, Crepel said: “Gaining one star after such a brief period of time is a source of immense pride to me and my team at Terre. It has taken a lot of hard work to get to this level so quickly.”
No new three-star appointments were made in Ireland or the UK, despite rumours that Chapter One by Mickael Viljanen in Dublin 2 was being considered for elevation.
An emotional Declan Maxwell, accepting the award for outstanding service and hospitality, said that he always tells wait staff to “treat customers as if you’re bringing them into your house for a dinner party. And always have someone there to say goodnight at the end of the evening”.
Belfast restaurateur Michael Deane was named chef mentor of the year. “I have been around a long time, and in the words of Thomas Keller, it’s important we make the next generation better, without that, we don’t have anything,” he said.