‘Pushing New Boundaries’ – The Magic of Patricia at Carrig House
Our Head Chef, Patricia, walks quietly into the office. Not sure what to expect, she is slightly nervous and surprised that someone wants to ask her some questions about herself, where her love for food came from and how she produces such incredible magical delights. Personally, we feel her food has reached new heights this season from a standard that was already incredibly high. (But we would say that, wouldn’t we!)
This is Patricia’s 5th Season as Head Chef at Carrig Country House. She is very happy here, as Carrig allows her to “always try something different, to try something new”. Here, she can devote her full attention to dinner service where she “loves the adrenalin rush”. She’s excited by what marvellous creations you can achieve and the challenge of new techniques such as “sons vide” cooking, the exploration of new foods and trends – keeping an eye on chefs such as Heston Blumenthal – and the secrets of modern gastronomy, whilst retaining the basics of good Country House cooking.
She feels that diners are now so educated about cooking, what with the number of TV shows producing such a range of dining styles, options and demonstrations, people today are “cooking up their own storms” at home. Patricia therefore feels that she must show what she can do that is different and new, providing a delightful exciting experience for diners.
Patricia grew up in close by Dooks, the youngest of 10! Her mother, though never formally trained, was a cook at Glenbeigh’s Towers Hotel, during the time of the renowned hotelier, Ernie Evans.
Becoming a chef for Patricia happened naturally as opposed to always aspiring to become a chef. As a teenager she could not cook eggs and had no real interest in food. However, during some time in Dingle (minding her sisters’ children at the Half Door Restaurant), she ended up “helping” in the kitchen one night and became hooked! She went on to train at the Tralee Institute of Technology, winning a scholarship to the prestigious Johnson & Wales Hospitality Academy in the USA. She worked her way up through the ranks at Carrig Country House & Restaurant (1st time round,) She then spent a spell at Jack’s Restaurant and the Half Door Restaurant , before returning to Carrig as Head Chef.
Over the past few years, during the winter months, Patricia has been fortunate to gain some work experience at two of Dublin’s Michelin star restaurants, Chapter 1 and Patrick Guilbaud’s. She has found these experiences “wonderful” as it has allowed her to observe at first hand, the extraordinary detail and new techniques that can be achieved in restaurant dining.
For Patricia, these new insights complimented by her own passion for “pushing new boundaries” has allowed her to introduce new dishes for this season that are mouth wateringly supreme! Her love and interest in “playing with things” inspires her creation of new dishes, producing exquisite dining experiences for guests and local diners alike.
As Patricia returns to the kitchen to continue preparing for dinner that night, the lasting impression is of a chef passionate about her food, the dishes she produces and still aspires to create – but not for her own vanity or self-importance but ultimately for her guests by providing them with the most delicious, exciting, imaginative and creative of dining experiences.
As one TripAdvisor review simply stated – “Wow”!