Chef Profile October 2017: Dermot Regan, executive head chef at Deli on the Green, Dungannon
Dermot Regan, executive head chef at Deli on the Green, Dungannon talks to Alyson Magee
WHEN DID YOU FIRST GET INTO COOKING, AND WHAT INSPIRED YOU?
I first got into cooking when I was 16, 17, and that’s a long time ago now. It was home cooking really from my parents, and getting into industry and I enjoyed it. I’d already been working in the industry a year or two, lifting glasses and working in a local bar and got into industry that way.
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND IN THE TRADE?
The first place I worked as a chef was Viscounts in Dungannon before catering college. I started as a commis chef, and then I went to catering college in Portrush, and worked in the Ramore for three years where the inspiration was the owner himself, George McAlpin. He was the main guy and I quickly moved up from the wine bar to the fine dining restaurant. I started as chef de partie and moved up to junior sous chef.
I then moved to Dublin at that point, back in the late 1990s, to a big brasserie called La Stampa, and started there as junior sous chef, was there nearly three years and progressed up to head chef position.
After that, I decided to move back to the North and started working at Fontana in Hollywood, as sous chef, and got back into more inspirational cooking with Colleen Bennett. It held and still holds a Michelin Bib Gourmand.
I stayed there for two years and, at that time, decided to try and open my own place and opened Oregano Restaurant in 2005 and, in 2006, we got the Michelin Bib Gourmand and held that for eight consecutive years.
We opened a second restaurant, The Potted Hen, in 2010 and both restaurants were included in the Michelin Guide (one with a Bib and the other just included) so it was quite a high standard all the way, and very, very busy. Unfortunately both restaurants then closed in 2015. I took a year to myself, and just started in Deli on the Green a couple of weeks back.
HAS YOUR COOKING STYLE CHANGED MUCH?
Over the years, it’s been more classical French, brasserie-style stuff I was doing but I’ve got more into the lighter style of food – street food and pan-Asian, and that’s the sort of thing I’m trying to bring out in the Deli as well, rather than big heavy French creams and things like that.
We’re just putting on Roast Duck Breast and a Confit Duck Leg with a Sweet Potato Croquette, Sweet Potato Puree and Blackberry Jus. On the lunch menu, we’ve just put on a Pork Tostada with Pickled Chillies, Spring Onions, Coriander & Watercress with Avocado Salsa. It’s a blend of all different countries from Mexico to France, and Thai food as well.
WHERE DO YOU SOURCE YOUR FOOD FROM?
We try and source everything as locally as possible, especially all the main ingredients – meats, fish and vegetables. We use a local veg man Stanley Frew & Sons, Keenan Seafood, Kettyle for meat, Draynes for all our dairy products.
WHAT SIZE IS YOUR STAFF?
Seven in the kitchen – part-time and full-time chefs – and front of house is additional.
HAS ANYONE INSPIRED YOU THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER?
I take inspiration from all I see, you take bits and pieces from celebrity chefs right through to chefs you see on Great British Menu and things like that; you have to take a wee bit from everyone.
HAVE YOU ANY INTERESTS OUTSIDE OF WORK?
I do quite a bit of fly fishing with my dad, and try and catch some fish in the local loughs and take them home and cook them up. It’s nicer when you’ve caught them yourself.
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