Michelin Stars“Look, you’re trying to make it better every day and every week and improve dishes as part of your everyday work.”

As heard on Today with Sean O'Rourke

Share this Post

Monday was a good day for the restaurant industry in Ireland, with the 2020 Michelin Guide awarded a veritable galaxy of new stars to Irish eateries. Just ask Jordan Bailey, Head Chef at Aimsir Restaurant in Kildare. Jordan, speaking to Seán O’Rourke the morning after the night before, said that winning two Michelin stars for the restaurant he and his wife Majken only opened in May was a complete surprise.

“It’s still very, very much unbelievable. I’m still trying to soak it all in. It’s just very, very surreal at the minute.”

Jordan, as Seán pointed out, has previous: he’s worked at a three-star restaurant in Oslo and at a two-star restaurant in Nottingham. So Aimsir having stars bestowed on it was probably inevitable, but still, a restaurant barely six months open getting two stars at the first time of asking is a huge achievement.

Aimsir only uses ingredients indigenous to Ireland, something Jordan and Majken researched extensively prior to opening their Kildare restaurant.

“Myself and Majken spent about three months on the road… just going around visiting suppliers and producers and fishermen and craftsmen, trying to get things sorted for the restaurant. And it was amazing. It was an incredible journey. We’d never really been to Ireland before. It was very eye-opening and it just kind of cemented what we were about to do was the right thing because the produce in Ireland is second to none.”

The restaurant, situated at Cliff at Lyons in Co Kildare, only has six tables, seating a maximum of twenty-four people. Diners are served eighteen courses – eighteen! – starting with what Jordan calls snacks and ending, naturally, with dessert and coffee. Even before their stars were awarded, Aimsir was fully booked until the New Year.

“It’s not just a meal, we feel it’s a bit more than that, it’s a bit more of an experience.”

Seán also spoke to Mike Moriarty, from Dublin’s Greenhouse Restaurant, which has gone from one Michelin star to two. The Greenhouse is now one of only three two-star restaurants in Ireland. Mike, also host of RTÉ One’s Beyond the Menu, told Seán that it was a privilege to be a part of Head Chef Mickael Viljanen’s team.

“It’s almost pinch yourself stuff. I mean, it’s something he’s obviously been working towards, and we’ve all been trying to achieve with him in the restaurant for so long and you talk about it for so long… he’s almost floating around on cloud nine.”

Being awarded Michelin stars presumably puts extra pressure on a restaurant to perform, Seán suggests. But Mike reckons that’s why everyone’s in the game in the first place.

“I suppose it’s a by-product of the everyday work and, look, you’re trying to make it better every day and every week and improve dishes as part of your everyday work. And it’s just been amazing for Ireland and all the chefs yesterday that were awarded Michelin stars, that Michelin are probably still the benchmark of fine dining around the world.”

It’s hard to disagree with Seán when he suggests that we’re experiencing a golden era of dining in Ireland. Now if only we can get bumped up that waiting list…

You can hear the full discussion with Jarlath and Mike, as well as the rest of the Today programme, here.  And you can see Mark on RTÉ One’s Beyond the Menu here.

© The Listener 2019

Share this Post

Next Up