Paul on CROI

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Restaurant opening.

 

We are now open 2 weeks, I have a few minutes to myself away from everyone I am contemplating my position here, if I wasn’t I suppose I wouldn’t be doing this right. I am of the belief that if you are not questioning your actions your not making progress. To myself it’s a realisation of a dream which in itself is bittersweet. On the one hand I’m pushing forward with my life, that part i can deal with, the part that gets me as I write this is the sadness from the loss of my mother last year, as I use her tunnel to grow the strawberries, rhubarb and salad leaves that go out on the starters and desserts. Each time I pick from the tunnel, I can’t help the feeling that should by mom still be here I might not be growing as much as I am.

 

It’s been a rollercoaster ride so far seeing what we walked into and with the help of friends and family alike, cleaning tidying, organising. I must say a huge thank you to all, the people who have came in and dines with us over the last two weeks. I am glad that I have made this decision as I further my career and make progress down a road less traveled, with 2 of my friends Noel and Kevin, I couldn’t ask for 2 better business partners so thanks lads.

Each of us have a different viewpoints on this restaurant and different reasons as to why we walk this path.

 

The journey is just beginning, it’s emotionally and physically draining, but it’s worth it at the end of the day we are doing it for ourselves.

 

Follow the restaurant on Facebook Twitter and Instagram @croitralee

 

Or myself for behind food pics @chefpaulc on Instagram and Twitter with the occasional food pic thrown in for good measure.

 

Hope to see ye in the restaurant soon.

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Starting out as a chef

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8 TIPS FOR CHEFS STARTING OUT

1: Learn how to sharpen your knife. A sharp knife does less damage than a blunt one

2: Learn how to finely dice an onion. It’s the most commonly used ingredient in the kitchen and a great way to practise your knife skills

3: Bring a spare pair of socks to work. When you’re working for a couple of hours in hot shoes it can cause health problems.

4: Don’t be afraid to ask question, if you’re not sure of something ask. Chefs would rather see your interest and show you something properly than you mess it up. Even if you do mess it up ask where you went wrong and don’t mess up the second time.

5: Learn how to make soup. It’s more than likely your first job will be on starters. If it is nearly every restaurant has a soup on those menu. If you can learn to do that you’re taking on a full dish by yourself. Also soups have to be seasoned correctly so it is an ideal opportunity to start your seasoning skills and allows you to experiment with flavours.

6: Show interest. If you’re in a busy kitchen and you have nothing to do. Wander over to the sauce section and see how the chef make their peppercorn sauce. No one chef does everything the same way but when you become qualified you can choose what way you like best. You need a base knowledge to start with though.

7. Don’t take it personally. My first night working in kitchen I had never used bean sprouts before. A chef on my section had put gone off bean sprouts on a salad and I didn’t know the difference. I got blamed for serving it and looked like a fool. However I didn’t storm off in a mood. I finished my shift and we were still friends afterwards. People shout get angry it happens. Don’t take it to heart.

8. Start high end and decide where to go from there. If you start in a good restaurant you learn the basics. Saying that not everyone wants to work in fine dining. That’s fine. But it’s hard to move from a low casual dining restaurant to a fine dining restaurant.

Diarmuid on the food service industry

What a wonderfull weekend on the #foodtrail to the Kingdom. I probably don’t need to go into any furthuer detail on my experience in Listowel & Tralee as I have well documented my reviews on Social Media. So I’m going to just ‘tip’ on being an owner/operator having spoken to both proprietors on my journey and from my own experience of being a bar and hotel owner in my own time. Firstly I want to acknowledge the guys in Listowel & Tralee and wish them continued success in the future. When I began my career in the late 80’s going to the pub/restaurant was in the Top 5 of places of interest to go socialise and meet with friends family etc. 30 yrs later with the advent of so many many forms of social activity people are more health concious and with the demise of the Celtic Tiger the f&b trade has suffered a major downturn and our customers are now finely tuned in to ‘value for your buck’ Bars & Restaurants are under constant screunity from not alone the well travel and versed general public but from also within by the governing food and drink bodies. I have heard on countless occasions people saying ‘oh I’d love to have a pub/restautant’ they see an operation on a busy weekend night and immediately marry the till take to a it’s a good money maker. It’s obviously not the case. Our guests do not see what goes on behind the scenes and what an enermous effort it takes just to open the door let alone keep it open and trading successfully. My point without over stating the obvious is the respect I have for the guys I met this weekend. Hard working conceious people as well as being food lovers they are employers they are fantastic chefs and front house operators. I personaly am fully supportive of anyone in business but in particular in our Industry. It’s 7 days 7 nights every week week in week out. It’s then sometimes that naturaly I become disappointed when I read the reviews of staff and premises on Tripadvisor. Posted up by ‘mini-private eye foodies’ without a seconds thought for someone’s career and someone’s hard work. I was brought up to the mantra if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything and if you realy feel something is to be said at least be constructive. My point again coming from being an employer to a damm good employee is We should all help support and encourage those who make the brave step forward to become an owner/operator. We should all take time to be transparent with out customers and when an opportunity arises to explain how deathtraemtal someone’s unkind review can be on any form of Social Media. The good times are gradually coming back People have a few extra bob in their pocket and once again with thanks to will oiled professionals in hospitality who did not bail out people are coming back into our bars & Restaurants and the ‘steaks’ are high and we need to continue to produce the goods and the experience our guests now demand. And we will I know all of us here on TCG will endevour to produce the best to the best of our ability. So I encourage everyone to support the Owner/operator. I for One raise my glass to you guys this evening. After all… we are the willing led by the unknown doing the impossible for sometimes the ungrateful but we keep doing it! Why I ask. Because that’s what we do. #atyourservice 👤

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Seasonal changes

 
As more light shines in the daytime more flowers come to life. Some of our spring flowers are coming to the end of their season.

There are summer flowers blooming everywhere from the meadows to the hedges and the rivers and streams

The red clover and fuschia are beginning to bloom across the countryside along with the rather unlikely suspect the hawthorn is flowering, however be careful as when you are plucking these flowers they have a tendency to fall like cherry blossoms littering the undergrowth with its tiny white petal, wild garlic and leek flowers are still going strong but are coming to the end of their seasons.

While most flowers this time of year are perfectly edible some are harmful if ingested in large quantities, or if eaten raw, though may be eaten if cooked.

As always be sure of what you are picking before you eat it. Also keep an eye out for wild berries starting to flower at the moment wild strawberries are flowering at the moment if you know where they are.

We are using a variety of wild herbs and flowers in our restaurant in the square Tralee CroĂ­. Come in and experience homegrown and wild food like no other.

Follow on Instagram and Twitter @chefpaulc and the restaurant Instagram and Twitter @croitralee and on Facebook​ @croirestaurant 

CROI new beginings

So having worked hard and as I said before giving every last drop to work, I’ve come to the point where we felt like opening my own. Teamed with chef Noel and Paul from the Tralee culinary gangsters, we’ve open a restaurant. The excitement is huge and so is the work load. Noel and Paul both in the kitchen and me front of house. Now I get to give the same dedication to this my own as I have for others so many times before. We have learned so much over the years and now we sit at are own table. We know all the right producers with a menu that consists with everything Irish and 97% of it from Kerry. Followed by carefully selected wines to marry the stunning food that’s leaving the kitchen. Chef Noel has a chump of lamb from Banna strand produced by Peter Curran of the well bred butcher and for this we have a rioja, supplied by Stephen Wallace of Ardfert. A full bodied red that explodes in your mouth with flavour which excentuates the flavour of the lamb. The lamb is tender and packed with flavor. Some light dressing and trimming because on this stage the lamb doesn’t need much company. Together they are perfection.

Follow kevin on twitter @parsnip78