Having trained and worked in Ballymaloe Cookery School before opening his own award-winning restaurant Opus 1, and then on to Waterford Castle fifteen years ago, Michael’s philosophy of food is simple. Take fresh, organic, locally sourced & seasonal ingredients and cook them simply to retain their true taste. Believing in only sourcing the very best ingredients from the best local suppliers, the focus is on allowing customers experience the true flavour of those excellent ingredients.
A lecturer in Culinary Arts at Waterford Institute of Technology and a member of the Slow Food Movement in Ireland, Michael is a proud member of Euro-Toques, the European community of over 3,500 European chefs and cooks, whose members are committed to promoting the quality and culinary traditions of each country and region of Europe. Now a Commissioner for the organisation, Michael is instrumental in championing and encouraging local and artisan suppliers and producers as well as, crucially, training and mentoring young chefs.
This attitude of support continues into his kitchen at Waterford Castle, where Michael is passionate about encouraging talent, giving his chefs the freedom to express themselves and to contribute to the dining experience at the Castle in a very real way.
A popular blogger (quinnatthestove.blogspot.com), whose restaurant has consistently received 2 AA Rosettes for more than ten years, Michael’s major inspiration has been Myrtle Allen, his own original mentor, and he also continues to be inspired by the enthusiasm and creativity of younger chefs. With a keen eye on everything from sourcing to serving, Michael works very closely with all the kitchen team for menu ideas, and they are all encouraged to contribute creatively – for example, Dave Larkin, the sous chef, is keen on molecular gastronomy and brings this element to the menu.
Small local suppliers and their dedication and commitment to excellence also inspire Michael Quinn, and some of his favourites include Comeragh Mountain Lamb, Tom Cleary’s wonderful seasonal native and more exotic vegetables, Martin Simpson’s shellfish, Waterford’s Triskel goats cheese, and Sally Barnes of Woodcock Smokery’s smoked fish.
Trained classically, Michael thinks his style has evolved to become more modern and responsive to his surroundings, and some of his signature dishes include Skeaghanore duck, smoked haddock risotto, lobster salad, organic Tamworth red pork, and the Castle’s signature ‘blaa bread and butter pudding’.
In his own time Michael is very active, enjoying rock climbing and surfing, but his abiding passion is in delivering foods of flavour, authenticity and provenance in the kitchen at Waterford Castle Hotel.