Chef Profile September 2017: Iain McIntyre, head chef at The Dunsilly Hotel
Iain Mcintyre, head chef at The Dunsilly Hotel, talks to Alyson Magee
WHEN DID YOU FIRST GET INTO COOKING, AND WHAT INSPIRED YOU?
I have just always enjoyed cooking from a young age, and that continued when I studied home economics at Massereene Community College in Antrim.
HAVE YOU ANY CULINARY QUALIFICATIONS?
After Massereene, I went to Belfast Met when it was on Brunswick Street, and did the NVQ 1, 2 and 3 in catering.
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND IN THE TRADE?
I started out at the Dunadry as a commis chef, coming straight off the bus when I was finished at the tech every day.
Then, I just kept pushing myself and going up the ranks, working in a lot of different places and learning a lot from different people.
I worked at the Ballyrobin and then at Massereene Golf Club for quite a few years, and The Stables in Groomsport. I came to the Dunsilly Hotel six years ago as a chef, moved up to second chef and then, three years ago, when I was 25, became head chef.
HAS ANYONE INSPIRED YOU THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER?
One of my biggest influences has been working with Raymond McArdle for three weeks in Dundalk when I was at the tech – I really enjoyed what he was doing – and I’ve always liked Gordon Ramsay’s style of cooking.
Over the last two years, I’ve been a finalist at the Janus Awards and that inspires me to keep cooking and hopefully eventually win the award.
HAS YOUR COOKING STYLE CHANGED MUCH?
I definitely use my head a lot more to come up with different things. We have quite a wide range on our menu here, and have specials every day so that keeps me busy trying new ideas and produce and changing with the seasons. We are changing our menu in the next month so a lot of work has gone into that.
I just like good, homely food, and I enjoy working with fish.
WHERE DO YOU SOURCE YOUR FOOD FROM?
I like to use all fresh produce, and don’t like anything frozen. We get our fish from Keenan Seafood, and meat from Crosskeys and McAtamney’s, and would go out to those factories to see their production. We also get produce from Arnotts and Sydney B Scott & Sons.
WHAT SIZE IS YOUR STAFF?
We have nine chefs, and four kitchen porters.
HAVE YOU ANY TIPS?
Just keeping your head down, and keeping everything well controlled. Sourcing good local food is the main thing, and utilising it as much as possible.
HAVE YOU ANY INTERESTS OUTSIDE OF WORK?
I like playing a bit of golf, and spending time with my family; I have two girls aged three and five.
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