UU Academy restaurant wins prestigious Grub Club award
From left, Callum Irwin, final year student on BSc Culinary Arts Management; Bruno Etienne, culinary training officer; and Marianne Hood, restaurant training officer; Bill McCann, Grub Club; Peter Lunn, president, Grub Club; and Orlaith Fogarty, final year student, International Hospitality Management.
The Academy, Ulster University’s training restaurant, has been named Grub Club Restaurant of the Year for 2018/19.
Established over 40 years ago, the Grub Club is an exclusive private dining club, and past winners of its Restaurant of the Year have included The Merchant Great Room, Deane’s, Shanks, James Street South and The Old School House.
Using strict criteria to select its winner based on the calibre, integrity and innovation of its entire food, beverage and service offering, the Grub Club celebrates culinary excellence at its best.
The Academy provides a live working environment for Ulster University students studying for degrees in Culinary Arts Management and International Hospitality Management. Diners enjoy locally-sourced food created and served by Ulster University students.
“At Ulster University’s Academy restaurant, we are training the next generation of talented chefs and restauranteurs,” said Professor Una McMahon-Beattie, head of Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management at UU.
“Located in the heart of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter our training restaurant is helping our students develop the practical and managerial skills they need to become industry leading experts.
“We are extremely proud of our students and the passion and dedication they give to the restaurant. This award is a testament to their hard work and sees the Academy, and our students, join an elite club of some of the best restaurants in Belfast.”
Bill McCann, Grub Club, said: “The Grub Club is a long-established dining club which eats in both well established and new restaurants with a brief to encourage young restauranteurs. We were very keen to dine at the Academy and give these talented young chefs the opportunity to showcase their skills and we certainly weren’t disappointed.
“The evening was excellent from start to finish; the food, service and ambience were impeccable making the Academy well deserved winners of our Best Restaurant Award for 2018/19.”
Students of Culinary Arts and International Hospitality Management work in the Academy during term time, delivering both lunch time and evening services. It is an opportunity to get hands on experience of restaurant life and equips students with the skills and confidence to thrive in the restaurant business.
Callum Irwin, final year Culinary Arts Management student and chef de partie at Michelin-starred restaurant The Muddlers Club, has relished the opportunity to work in the Academy.
“I have learnt so much from working in the Academy restaurant,” he said. “It has given me hands on experience of working in a professional kitchen and the opportunity to master fundamental kitchen skills. The experience definitely boosted my confidence ahead of my placement year at The Muddlers Club. I have also learnt how a restaurant is run and plan to use this knowledge in the future and one day open my own restaurant.”
The Academy is open during term time, serving lunch on weekdays from 12.30pm and dinner on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7pm. For more information, visit: www.ulster.ac.uk/theacademy.