20th October marks International Chefs Day. “A celebration of modern-day inventors, their sacrifice and their endless pursuit of perfection”, in words of Gary Byrne, Head Chef at the Wild Atlantic Bar at the Grand Central Bundoran. We’d like to take this opportunity to learn more about him and his job behind the scenes.
Like most chefs, Gary began his career very young washing pots and dishes in a hotel in Stranorlar. This job allowed him to understand how a kitchen is run. “I had great admiration for those who create so much against the clock and I decided that I wanted that for myself”, he admits. He had never enjoyed a routine-filled office job and he was looking for a challenge, so he saw in cooking the perfect path for a free-roamer like him.
At the beginning of his career, like most of his fellow colleagues, he was trying to learn as much as he could, until he realised it was not only useless, but impossible. Food industry keeps changing; from new cookery methods to alternative ingredients, so the possibilities are endless. “There’s not a chef that knows it all, but there isn’t one that wouldn’t want to”, he confesses.
That’s when the chef’s imagination comes into action. “The kitchen is a playground for any committed chef, there’s always something to create. And there’s nothing more satisfying than to create something from your own imagination, put it on a plate and have someone say it’s the best they have ever tasted”, he admits.
For Gary, being a chef isn’t just about cooking something nice; it’s about “pushing yourself to your limits, testing your abilities and constantly striving your best to put a smile on your customers’ faces”.