Our Hotel team in their uniforms

Gordon Smyth: “We are only ever as good as the team around us”

Tuesday, 27 March 2018
Gordon Smyth’s career in food began early, at his grandfather’s butcher shop in Eglington to be exact. As a young lad growing up he worked alongside his grandfather and developed a budding interest in food. He still believes that knowing the provenance of food and how it is prepared in its raw state is extremely important. 

Gordon is a gentle genius who certainly does not fit the archetype of the stormy head chef. However, the quiet confidence he displays in cooking and the consistently stunning results have earned him the respect and admiration of his peers and his loyal team at Redcastle Oceanfront Golf and Spa Hotel.  

His career followed a circuitous route from Eglington around the world and back to Redcastle, Co Donegal. Along the way he had the opportunity to work with such renowned chefs as Charlie Trotter and Daniel Boulud in America, Marco-Pierre White in London and Tetsuya Wakuda in Sydney. They inspired him and opened his mind to what could be achieved. 

"Many chefs have spent a lot of time abroad, in London or elsewhere, and they bring this knowledge and new ideas back home," he says in relation to his own experiences. 

Back home he worked for a period at the 5 star Lough Erne Resort before coming back to his own doorstep in Redcastle 10 years ago. His arrival in Redcastle marked a watershed for the hotel and the type of dining experience it offered. Reputations began to soar.  

The recognitions were not long in coming either and included an AA Rosette for the Edge Restaurant and, for Gordon, the accolade of Ulster Chef of the Year 2017. The latest recognition comes with the inclusion of the Edge Restaurant in John and Sally McKenna’s highly regarded guide.  

“John and Sally have been at the forefront of the Irish food scene for many years and to be part of this guide is a credit to the entire team here at the Redcastle Hotel and a fantastic achievement”, says Gordon. Gordon and the team hope this endorsement will attract more guests to Inishowen and the North West of Ireland. 

Customers will enjoy a very similar menu to the one served to the McKennas, since the Edge Restaurant launched a new spring/summer menu last Friday. “John and Sally had the first taste of what our new menu will offer. We have created a spring/summer menu with our usual emphasis on big flavours, local ingredients and seasonality. Fresh local fish will play an integral part, as well as lighter fresher ingredients such as crab, peach or avocado”, Gordon explains. Local produce is key to this menu according to Gordon. “We want to showcase what Inishowen has to offer.”  

When asked about the key to his success, Gordon replies that “we are only ever as good as the team around us”. And what is the team’s next goal? “We are trying to get the 2nd AA Rosette but, above all, we work to offer the highest standard of quality to our customers every day, to offer them a unique gastronomic experience and for now we believe we are on the right track.”

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