Type and press ENTER
Hit ESC to close
Stuart heeney zampas hard rock hotel

In the kitchen with Stuart Heeney

The Dublin-based chef talks Peruvian food, family life and more.


Have you ever wondered what chefs eat when they're not in work? Us too.

That's why our series In the kitchen with... sees us chat with some of our favourite chefs about their food habits outside of the workplace. Today, we're chatting with Stuart Heeney, head chef at Zampas Restaurant at Hard Rock Hotel Dublin.

Formerly of Clontarf Castle, Stuart Heeney has brought Peruvian flavours to Dublin with the menu at Zampas. Here, Stuart tells us about her life outside of work.

Do you cook a lot at home?

I do. I love to cook at home and will cook a family meal on Sunday and Monday evenings when I’m away from the kitchen at Zampas. Outside of that, my wife Annemarie is a great cook so she tends to do a lot of the cooking for our family, in particular at the weekend when I’m working.

Who do you usually eat with?

When I’m not at the Hard Rock Hotel with the Zampas kitchen crew, it’s usually Annemarie and our two kids, Jodie and Adam… when they find the time to be at home with us!

Are there any foods you have to or choose to avoid?

Burgers, pizza and anything that contains lots of cream - it goes straight to my waistline and isn’t a good look for me.

What five ingredients do you always have in your kitchen?

Good quality tinned tomatoes, chillies, pasta, butter and fresh eggs.

What's in your fridge right now?

Honestly, I’m going to say milk and some cheese. It’s the day before the weekly shop so I’m looking forward to stocking up the kitchen again.

READ MORE: In the kitchen with Jess Murphy

What is your default dinner after a busy week in Zampas?

I’m usually off work on Sundays so I love to cook a good roast dinner, whether its beef, lamb or chicken, with all the trimmings.

What is your favourite kitchen gadget?

I recently bought a KitchenAid mixer and it is amazing. I’m wondering what I ever did before I got it to be honest!

Do you have a favourite chef or cookbook?

I’ve been immersing myself in Peruvian cuisine and some of the similarities between Ireland and Peru. Peruvian Kitchen by Martin Morales is my current favourite.

Have you ever had a kitchen disaster?

I was a very green 18-year-old chef and was asked to prepare 100 crème brûlées. I put salt in them instead of sugar. It was one of those moments I’ll never forget, I'm scarred!

READ MORE: In the kitchen with Paula Stakelum

What's the best thing you've ever cooked?

Right now, it’s our Asador Peruvian Roast Chicken in Zampas. They are marinated and then cooked fresh in our kitchen every day and the marinade we’ve created is incredible. The chicken is served whole with a tangy coriander and garlic sauce packed full of fresh herbs, jalapenos and garlic - it’s genuinely the best roast chicken I’ve ever eaten.

What is the best cooking tip you've ever been given?

Such a simple one but it’s the key to perfecting great flavours - Taste as you go.

What would be your last meal?

A John Stone rib-eye steak with all the trimmings and a side of chimichurri Peruano sauce.

What is your favourite dish to cook?

I know I’ve mentioned it before but at the minute it’s the Asador Peruvian Roast Chicken on our menu in Zampas. The feedback has been brilliant on this dish and it’s a really popular choice for sharing at lunch and dinner with lots of tasty sides.

READ MORE: In the kitchen with Finn Ni Fhaolain