Tell us about your career to date
I started out at the Trinity hotel in Derry before going to Letterkenny to work in the Metropolitan Restaurant. I worked under Chef Gavin O’Rourke and received firsthand experience in the catering industry which was invaluable. The experience helped me to become head chef of the Quaywest Wine Bar and Restaurant, winning Northern Ireland Restaurant of the Year in 2006. Most recently I worked in the Timer Quay Restaurant in Derry before getting back into the hotel industry at the Inishowen Gateway Hotel which eventually led me to Dillon’s.
You recently launched the new Grill Menu at Dillon’s Hotel, what can people expect dining at Dillon’s?
There is an extensive menu at Dillon’s from homemade scones and pastries in the coffee bar to our main menu which includes sandwiches to steaks, these are available all day. All of our food is cooked fresh to order. Along with our homemade desserts there’s something on it for everyone no matter what time of the day you call with us.
What is your best seller from the menu?
The chicken and bacon stack has proven popular as is our BBQ ribs, it’s a challenge for anyone to finish the main course portion.
Does your menu change often?
Our menu will change every three to four months and it will be based on seasonal produce being available through suppliers
How important is buying local to you?
Local suppliers are very important as you have a one on one interaction with them on a regular basis. It’s keeping employment in the town which benefits everyone in the long term. They’re also quite handy as they’re available seven days a week. This is very useful to us chefs on occasional Sundays when we’re running a bit low on stock, for which we are very grateful. It would also be impossible to get that level of service from big national companies.
What do you love about your job?
I love putting dishes together and hearing that the customers are enjoying something that the staff and I have put together. This is very rewarding. I also love being part of a team environment, where we all love what we are doing.
Aside from the Grill Menu, what else can people expect from you and your team?
Aside from the Grill Menu we also have daily specials available Monday to Saturday, these are proving popular. We have a sit-down four course Sunday lunch menu available with the usual favourites on it. We also cater for a range of dietary requirements and have recently introduced a full gluten free menu.
What has been the biggest challenge to date?
The introduction of a brand new menu coupled with a brand new restaurant. Basically it was like opening a new hotel within the four walls of the old one. Thankfully, everything has been well received by the customers and hopefully that will continue in the future.
How do you see Dillon’s Grill developing in 2015?
We hope to develop Dillons Grill into one of Letterkenny’s leading restaurants and to continue to offer our customers diverse menu options and customer satisfaction every time they come through the door.