Congratulations to Rob Krawczyk, Elaine Fleming and all the team at Restaurant Chestnut on being awarded their first Michelin star from all of us here at FOOD&WINE!
A West Cork native, Rob and his partner Elaine opened Restaurant Chestnut in April this year. Wowing visitors with an ever-evolving menu inspired by the seasons, Restaurant Chestnut received its first Michelin star at the Michelin Guide GB & Ireland 2019 announcement ceremony in the BFI IMAX, London.
Speaking to F&W about the win on Monday he said, "It came as a shock, but is starting to sink in now." Read more from Rob about his food and what goes on in the mind of a Michelin chef in our Q&A below...
What’s your earliest food memory?
"It's from when I was really young, my parents grew a lot of their own vegetables and I remember them picking sweetcorn when it was in season. They read in a book somewhere that you have to pick and cook it really quickly, which you do to keep nutrients and flavour, but not as dramatically quick as we were! We were running down the garden with water boiling in the kitchen to grab the sweetcorn, then running back up to get it cooked as quickly as possible. It's really funny to look back at."
What is your pet peeve in the kitchen?
"Lack of respect for ingredients. We have the best ingredients here and I don’t like to see people wasting or disrespecting them by not using them properly. I also can’t stand laziness or messiness in the kitchen."
Which kitchen tool could you not live without?
"Every chef will say knives, we can’t do a whole lot without them! I have a load of knives, but I mainly use a lot of Fingal Ferguson's knives because they’re fantastic. I also have a Big Green Egg (a Kamado style charcoal grill) that I love because cooking on charcoal adds such good flavour. They would be the two things I can’t live without, definitely."
What is your current ingredient obsession?
"Aubergine. Everything is seasonal here, so we are going into root vegetable season and at the moment I have venison on the menu, which is fantastic. However, I really enjoy cooking with aubergine because I love the texture of it, I love what you can do with it. I made an ice cream with it, which I think was a bit of a Marmite thing for people-you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it, it’s quite interesting."
What’s your guilty pleasure?
"Sausage Rolls from petrol stations, and Yorkie bars. I love them."
Who is your dream dinner party guest?
"I don’t know if would say 'dream dinner party guest', but I’d love to have Keith Lemon to dinner. His whole show, everything about him really, is so funny, so I think it’d be brilliant to have him over. He really cracks me up!"
Let us in on your top foodie tip.
"Buy the best you can, then respect it and keep it simple. Get the best ingredients because that’s where the taste and flavour is."
Have you been lucky enough to dine at Restaurant Chestnut? Let us know how it went in the comments below.