Teamwork makes the dream work; it might sound cliché but for Mike Tweedie, head chef at Limerick's Adare Manor, this statement couldn't be truer.
Originally from Devon in England, Mike has spent his career working in some of Ireland and England's best restaurants, including Lucknam Park in Bath, Devon's Gidleigh Park, Ballyfin Demense in Laois and The Greenhouse in Dublin, before settling in Limerick. Mike joined the team at Adare Manor in 2017, just before the resort was slated to open after a 21-month long refurbishment that was reported to have clocked in somewhere around the €70 million mark.
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Since the resort reopened in November 2017, Mike has been making waves as head chef at The Oak Room, Adare Manor's award-winning fine dining destination. Speaking to us about The Oak Room, Mike told us that he tries to create supplier-led menus:
"For me, it’s all about the produce and the people that make it, that’s how we make our menus. We try to work with as many Irish suppliers as we can and everything is ingredient-led. Some things are available for a long time and others aren't so that affects the menu, like asparagus is only available for 2-3 months so we use it while we can and then take it off the menu. If I know I’ve only got something for two weeks, I'll use it for those two weeks then take it off. I really like to work with suppliers to find out what’s available, then work a few weeks ahead on our menus."
Having won a slew of awards in the past year, The Oak Room, which is known for its decadent dishes and gorgeous surroundings, has fully cemented itself as a fine-dining destination in the West. Mike recently introduced a new menu to the restaurant, which he hopes will help the guests understand his food:
"We’ve introduced a more traditional Irish menu, so it's á la carte with five options for each course. There's also a market menu, which is more of a tasting-style menu. A lot of guests didn’t understand the previous menu, which was a make your own tasting menu with three different options for each course. The portions were tasting-style, so guests could do five or six courses, depending on what they preferred. Nobody else in Ireland was doing it so people weren’t really sure about it and didn’t understand format. People know where they stand with our new menu, which we brought in about two months ago. It's going really well, the guests are happy and enjoying themselves. I'm trying to make sure the á la carte and tasting menus are different so if guests eat with us for two nights, they won’t get the same thing.
I have a few favourite dishes from the new menus, like the snack of Galway oysters with teriyaki. There's also a great pre-dessert with buttermilk and compressed strawberries that I really like. My signature dish uses fermented beetroot, some people enjoy it and others don't but I think it's really interesting."
To run a kitchen smoothly, you need to surround yourself with hardworking, like-minded chefs. For Mike, being at the helm of such a large operation in a resort as prestigious as Adare Manor has meant that he relies on his team to help create his vision:
"In terms of the head chefs in the hotel, we all have our own departments to run, but there's no machismo and we work together as a team. We help each other out as much as possible, so if there's a big wedding we'll all chip in. What we do here really won’t work without us all pulling together. We all get on well and have gelled really well as a team, so we support each other as much as we can. It sets a great example for our junior chefs. We all go out to have a drink and I'll buy a round for the juniors to repay them for their hard work. It's so important to just work together."
For more information about Adare Manor, click here.
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