Stéphane Robin, restaurant manager at Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud in Dublin, was named Host Of The Year at the 2019 FOOD AND WINE Awards in association with Rémy Martin.
Known for his unparalleled hospitality, Stéphane Robin is the restaurant manager and part-owner at Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, Ireland's only restaurant to hold two Michelin stars. He originally came to Ireland for a six-month stint in 1986 to learn English while working at Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud. Chef-owner Patrick invited him to stay and become part of the business; 33 years later, Stéphane is still helping to run Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud.
Making everyone feel at home in the restaurant, whether a regular or a new customer, is what helps Stéphane to stand apart from other hosts in Ireland. He knows exactly how to run a two-star Michelin restaurant without making it a stuffy or uncomfortable affair.
While Stéphane couldn't make it to the awards, we spoke to him after the ceremony to find out more about his career and reaction to this award.
What is the most important thing about being a host at a two-star Michelin restaurant?
"To be a good host, it’s only possible when the food is good and the team is well trained. Attention to detail is also so important. Around 80 per cent of our clientele is repeated, local customers. Our business will be from mid-September to early May with mostly locals, then we do a lot of tourism in the summer. We pay special attention to our clientele to make sure they come back but we try not to be intrusive either."
Do you think Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud will be awarded a third Michelin star?
"Hopefully! Someone said to me once 'never kill the dream' and a third star is the dream. I think our food and service is at a three-star level. I know we can get it, but it's up to Michelin to give it to us, so we are waiting for them. We need to look good for them to look good, so hopefully one day we will get the third star."
Do you think there are any other restaurants in Ireland that deserve two Michelin stars?
"So many are very good, there are a lot of very good chefs in Ireland. There are always new chefs and talents around Ireland. There are lots of deserving restaurants out there and there are definitely a few chefs that are at that level but won’t name any names! It’s only a matter of time."
What does it take to be a good host?
"Firstly, for everything to work, it never happens on your own. I sent someone in my place to the awards because I was sick, but when I came back I congratulated the staff because it’s all about teamwork. Without them, there is no restaurant. There is a lot of hard work and training to keep the quality up. The restaurant has been full all year this year, last year was the best year, but this year has already been better. It's not just about being a good host, it's about everything, the food and the staff need to be strong too."
Click here for more info about Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud.
Main image from @RPGuilbaud on Twitter.