The Blackwater Suite at the Fairways Hotel, Dundalk was the venue for the 2023 YesChef Awards on Monday 8th May. A packed room saw more than 500 guests representing the hospitality industry come together to celebrate the achievements of their friends and colleagues. Shane Smith, Managing Director of NI Media who run the awards said, “The YesChef Awards are recognised as the ‘Go To’ night in the industry calendar and we were delighted to welcome many old friends as well as numerous new entrants to the programme. The restaurants here tonight represent the diversity of the industry on the island and showcase the commitment to delivering the highest standards in Irish Hospitality. We are the only programme on the island who inspect every entrant and we would like to thank our panel of dedicated researchers who travel the country visiting each venue.”

This year we were delighted to deliver a very special Judges Award. Chosen by our senior panel of judges the award honours individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the industry. In recognition of his commitment to mentoring and training young people this year’s award went to Wayne Anderson from Collins Bar in Limerick.

Shane said, “We are all well aware of the challenges the industry faces and the biggest of those is attracting and retaining young people. I’ve known Wayne for a long time and his dedication to and support of young chefs is simply outstanding, two of the regional winners of the Young Chef title in the last number of years have come from his restaurant and it really is no surprise.”

As always young chefs have played a huge role in the event and we would like to thank the students of Coláiste Íde and their chef mentor Derek Flynn, the students of TU Dublin and their Chef Mentor George Smith and Rebecca Franklin, Young Chef of the Year, Munster 2022 and her team from Collins Bar. Together these young people created a fabulous menu which wowed the guests at the event.

The YesChef Awards would not be possible without our sponsors – Flogas, Bunzl McLaughlin, Clearer Water and Green Isle Foods and we would like to thank them for their continued support. The dinner menu at the YesChef Awards is supported by suppliers from across the island, their produce is of the highest standard and contributes to what is an outstanding experience. We’d like to thank Ballymakenny Farm, Andarl Farm, Bluebell Falls, Scúp Gelato, Lindt Chocolate, Kitchingham Meats, Gourmet Classic, Johnsons Coffee, Traditional Cheese Co and Listoke Gin.