Congratulations to Ahmet Dede and all the team at Mews Restaurant on being awarded a Michelin star from all of us here at FOOD&WINE!
Ahmet Dede, who is Head Chef at Baltimore's Mews Restaurant, has worked to ensure that the produce used is as fresh, local and seasonal as possible. Having previously worked in Dawson Street's The Greenhouse for two years with Mikael Viljanen, Ahmet is accustomed to working in a Michelin-starred restaurant.
Mews itself is a seasonal restaurant – this year the doors opened in early March and it will close again for winter later this month. The menus are carefully curated and draw inspiration from the stunning Cork landscape, as well as the produce that is grown, fished or foraged locally. Not surprising to many when this Cork gem was awarded its first Michelin star on Monday at the Michelin Guide GB & Ireland 2019 announcement ceremony in the BFI IMAX, London. With such amazing food, people will surely be clamouring for a reservation before it shuts its doors for the year. We certainly are!
We chatted to Ahmet after this year's Michelin revelation for a quick Q&A about his favourite foods and tools in the kitchen.
What's your earliest food memory?
"It would have to be my Mom's cooking back home in Turkey, especially when she made fresh bread on a charcoal stone early in the mornings. She would make flatbreads and use them to make us the traditional Turkish breakfast dish menemen, which has onions, garlic, peppers, fresh tomatoes and mince fried together with a fresh homemade pepper past. It was then topped with fried eggs and feta cheese delicious!"
What is your pet peeve in the kitchen?
"I think structure is really important in the kitchen. I like when the guys keep everything in the right place, so you can find everything and everything is neat, tidy and labelled. So I guess that my pet peeve is messiness in the kitchen."
Which kitchen tool could you not live without?
"Chef tweezers and timers. The tweezers are so important because we use a lot of wild stuff here at Mews, like herbs and flowers, and they need to be handled carefully and put in the right place on the plate."
What is your current ingredient obsession?
"I don't really have one in particular, but we are very seasonal here so I really like to get what is best at the time and use it. I would say that I am obsessed with using the best produce, which is always what is in season."
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We are so thrilled! We had such a fantastic day in London. Sharing the joy with @thechestnutwestcork and @miyazaki_cork made it so special. Great for Cork, great for West Cork, great for Baltimore. We are so thankful firstly, to our small team at Mews who all have pushed hard for this. Thanks to all the wonderful West Cork farmers, market-gardeners, foragers, fishermen and producers, who work tirelessly to provide us with the very best world-class ingredients. And to the people of Baltimore and West Cork for making us feel so welcome and cherished in our adopted home. Thank you all for the staggering amount of messages of congratulations and good-will which we have received. 😀🥂⭐️ #MICHELINSTAR19 #MICHELINguideGBI
What's your guilty pleasure?
"A lot of the team here at Mews lives together and after service we take home any leftover sourdough bread. Then we cook braised lamb shoulder till its crispy, top it with fried eggs, grated blue cheese and chilli flakes. That, with a cold beer, after a sixteen-hour shift is my guilty pleasure."
Who is your dream dinner party guest?
"There’s a man called Mustafa Kemal Ataturk who passed away a long time ago. He won our freedom in World War II and is very important in Turkish history. We grew up learning about him in school because he is a hero, so I would love to have been able to cook for him."
Let us in on your top foodie tip.
"I think the structure of the menu is so important. From start to finish, the menu should be a journey. When you eat, you should get a sense of balance, so the menu needs to work as a whole. So I would say my tip is to remember to make your food work together for a sense of balance."
Have you been to Mews Restaurant? Let us know how it went in the comments below.