What’s in a Michelin Star? For some Irish restaurants, it’s their goal from the beginning to, ‘join the club’ and find their place on the list of restaurants deemed worthy of One, Two or Three Michelin stars. For others, it’s less of a priority.
The past few years have been extremely difficult for Irish restaurants; particularly those focused on fine dining experiences in rural areas, with a lack of staff and increased costs of operation. Recently, Cork-based chef Takashi Miyazaki made headlines when he announced his fine dining Japanese restaurant, Ichigo Ichie, which has a Michelin star, would be closing down. In its place, he plans to open a more casual dining restaurant.
This follows chef Enda McEvoy’s lead in closing down his Galway-based Michelin starred restaurant, Loam, last year to focus on his casual dining spot, Éan. It brings up the question of fine dining as an industry – is it profitable enough to cover the high operating costs?
That said, there are few who would deny the increased business a Michelin ranking will bring, and on Monday, 5 February, the annual guide for the United Kingdom and Ireland was announced with three new stars for Ireland – two of which were awarded to rural Irish restaurants. Along with these three new distinctions, restaurant Terre, which is located at Castlemartyr Resort in Co Cork, was awarded Two Stars; joining its west Cork neighbour, Dede, in both being the only rurally-located Two Star venues in the country for 2024.
Terre’s second star is an exceptional achievement for the restaurant, which only opened in October 2022, as the Michelin guide announced:
“County Cork has another Two Star restaurant to add to its collection in the form of Terre. Gaining One Star last year and now a second, Vincent Crepel and his kitchen team have made impressively quick work of crafting a bold, assuredly Two Stars experience.”
Terre’s Chef Patron Vincent Crepel, who is originally from France but spent years living and working in Spain and Singapore, has gained a reputation for perfectly-executed dishes; utilising his classical French technique and infusing them with exotic flavour and flair. He says being awarded their second star is the, “realisation of a life-long dream.”
“I am so proud of the team and what we have achieved,” he says. “We aim to make a visit to Terre accessible to diners and we are fortunate to work with great local and international suppliers who help inspire and shape our menus. Receiving the second star is a tribute to the creativity and standards we aim to reach and maintain.”
Meanwhile, in Co Clare, chef Robbie McCauley and wife Sophie are celebrating their first Michelin Star just seven months after opening their restaurant, Homestead Cottage. This star, and indeed all three of the newly awarded Michelin Stars to Ireland, were no surprise to those within the industry, but for Robbie and Sophie, it is a firm nod to their hard work, ethos and the risk they took in opening a fine dining restaurant in such a remote location.
Irish Country Living caught Robbie and Sophie just as they were landing back into Cork airport after the Michelin ceremony in Manchester. They said they were off to collect their two girls, Iris (aged seven months) and Louise (aged 3) and have a little family celebration, “although I don’t think they quite know what has happened,” Robbie says, laughing.
He says they are thrilled with their first Michelin Star and the plan is to keep true to what they have been doing from the start.
“There will be a few changes, but nothing new with our approach to service or our style of food,” he says. “We are both absolutely shocked to have achieved this after only seven months in business – it’s amazing. It wouldn’t have been possible without all the help we have gotten from friends, family and neighbours – we are truly blessed to be surrounded by good people who have helped us when we have been in need. Definitely a massive shout-out to Brian Bridgeman, my sous chef, who has stood by us through all my crazy ideas and through thick and thin.”
The Bishop’s Buttery
Our other two new Michelin starred restaurants are D’Olier, which is located in Dublin, and The Bishop’s Buttery, which is found at the new five-star Cashel Palace hotel; becoming Co Tipperary’s first Michelin starred restaurant.ADVERTISEMENT
Opened in 2022, The Bishop’s Buttery offers contemporary Irish cuisine with much of the produce sourced from farmers, growers, and artisanal food producers in Tipperary.
Cashel Palace’s culinary director, Stephen Hayes, congratulated his team and head chef, Stefan McEnteer, for the achievement of their first Michelin star.
“We are really delighted with today’s news,” he says. “Gaining a Michelin Star so soon after opening is a fantastic achievement. It has always been my hope to receive the Star and now, along with Stefan and the team, we have achieved it. I honestly couldn’t be any happier. This is an important recognition of our hard work and is wonderful for team morale, reflecting our ambitions front and back of house.” CL
Rural Ireland is becoming an increasingly diverse place to live and work, and the amazing food we have on offer is a reflection of this diversity. Here is a list of all of our Michelin starred restaurants found in rural Ireland:
Terre – Castlemartyr Resort, Co Cork
dede – Baltimore, Co Cork
Bastion – Kinsale, Co Cork
Lady Helen – Thomastown, Co Kilkenny
Chestnut – Ballydehob, Co Cork
House – Ardmore, Co Waterford
The Oak Room – Adare, Co Limerick
The Bishop’s Buttery – Cashel, Co Tipperary
Wild Honey Inn – Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare
Homestead Cottage – Doolin, Co Clare