The celebrity world of Chefs is getting bigger every year and to be honest you can’t turn on the television without some well-known chef appearing nationally or globally on a number of channels not to mention the everyday person that seems to able to cook like a genius in their own homes due to made-up easy watching TV spectacles . But what we are forgetting is we have great chefs without the big TV show or recipe published in your newspaper every week right under our noses in Cork and for me personally it’s time to recognize these committed hospitality food career chefs.
I have known Robert Farrow for some time & has turned into a very close family friend & I suppose writing about a friend is easy or bias, but after working under him as he represents Chef de Cuisine (Head Chef) at The Macdonald Kinsale Hotel & Spa, it’s not a friendship in the kitchen quite the opposite, but all the same it’s a great proud feeling to see a dedicated chef that I met in collage 7 years ago & now progressing very quickly in his field of culinary expertise.
In most chosen careers you work your way up the ladder and there is no exception when it comes to this born and bred cork man from Rathcullen, Aherla. In 2003 he started working part-time at The Castle Hotel Macroom, which ended up becoming a full-time position for the next 5 years which gave Rob a great grounding. Not only this he also studied at the same time at Cork Institute of Technology and achieved his Level 6 Culinary Cert.
With the travelling bug in his bones at 23, Rob and his future wife Michelle O’Callaghan stepped outside of Ireland for a couple of years and enjoyed the big bad world of Australia, Fiji and America exploring a new food with a big cultural difference.
Returning to Ireland, and at the age of 27, Robert took a Sous Chef position at the well-known The Crow’s Nest – Victoria Cross, Sunday’s Well, Cork (Has Deceased Trading) where he admits that he really wasn’t quite ready for that type of management role and responsibility.
After reflecting on his career so far, Rob took a step back and decided to concentrate on his real passion of pastry where he worked at Fota Island Resort Hotel.
‘I have always loved pastry and desserts as I learnt to make my own pocket money with my mum making Christmas puddings and selling them to the neighbours when I was a small kid. My decision also to go back to Cork Institute of Technology in 2011 to specialise in Pastry where I achieved a distinction really gave me the knowledge to move forward into the pastry arena so I had a fuller and wider education on all aspects of each section in a kitchen with the ability to run them’.
Head Pastry Chef at the 5-star Luxury Hotel Aghadoe Heights was Roberts’s next move which is some achievement with only a few years of pastry experience but fulfilled his ambitions all the same.
Working two jobs after leaving Aghadoe heights Hotel to earn some extra money, off travelling again to Japan and South East Asia where a lot of influences, ideas were gained and is part of Roberts cuisines that he incorporates in his menus today.
Always coming back home he gained a job as Head Pastry chef at the newly reopened Kingsley Hotel where himself and the head Chef Paul Lane brought a new outlook to this premier hotel in Cork City.
The ultimate goal for any chef working his way up the ladder is to become a head chef and the well known busy café/restaurant Liberty Grill in Cork was the perfect fit for Robert where all his skills, passion, knowledge was tried and tested. A year under his belt he left and took on his second head chef role at the Macdonald Kinsale Hotel & Spa where after a year his pastry skills have been an asset to the hotel along with his organisation and bringing a team together under the chef crises in Ireland.
Personally I have never worked with a head chef that dominates or specialises in Pastry but also controls all aspects of a professional kitchen. A great teacher an excellent sense of humour with his Asian and modern Irish cuisine influence’s seems his menus are something special. An all-round confidant chef that any kitchen would cry out for.
Knowing Rob he will probably end up travelling again but when he returns I feel that the talk of opening his own restaurant will be another ambition that he will conqueror. If not a restaurant the hospitality industry will need to keep an eye out for Robert because if employed he will bring all of the above to your restaurant or establishment.
Try Roberts Roasted Supréme of Corn Fed Chicken, Confit Celeriac, Gubbeen Chorizo Recipe. It looks and tastes great.
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