Chef Profile April 2017: Gareth McCaughey, chef and owner of The Muddlers Club, Belfast
The Muddlers Club opened to the public in 2015 and quickly welcomed a string of awards, critical acclaim and a reputation that makes it one of the go-to restaurants in Belfast. Here HRNI catches up with chef and owner Gareth McCaughey...
WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND RAISED?
Born in Co Tyrone, in Donaghmore. Also where I grew up
WHAT’S YOUR MOST MEMORABLE FOODIE EXPERIENCE?
Cooking alongside Alain Passard.
WHERE WAS YOUR FIRST JOB?
Peeling potatoes in local fish and chip shop.
ASIDE FROM YOUR CURRENT ROLE, WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE POST IN THE INDUSTRY?
That was working with the boys at OX restaurant as sous chef. It’s another place that came out of nowhere and broke all of the rules. Being part of it when it was all kicking off was a great experience. OX took everything in a new direction which was nice to see. The guys there knew I would eventually go out to do my own thing. They gave me a lot of encouragement and pointers – the dos and don’ts of what to look out for. I couldn’t have bought the knowledge they passed on to me.
WHAT’S YOUR MOST POIGNANT MEMORY IN YOUR CAREER?
My fondest memory was completing my first service in The Muddlers Club. My first service (the peak time in the restaurant’s kitchen) in The Muddlers Club was a pretty big achievement. It took two years to get the restaurant off the ground. I always wanted to open my own place, but it took a lot of time to find the right site and get it up and running.
WHO INSPIRES YOU?
The people that inspire me are those dedicated local food heroes and suppliers who work extremely hard to bring quality and amazing ingredients to work with.
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE MUDDLERS CLUB’S OFFERING?
Modern dining in a relaxed space.
WHERE DO YOU SOURCE YOUR INGREDIENTS?
We source locally. As close to the restaurant as possible using only the best ingredients we can.
HOW MANY PEOPLE DO YOU EMPLOY?
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
Out of work I dine out and spend time with my wife and kids.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR MUDDLERS CLUB?
To continue to cook the food we always have in the style/environment we always have.
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