Leitrim-native Pádraic Óg Gallagher has been elected President of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, the representative body for restaurants, gastro-pubs and cafés in Ireland. Pádraic Óg, son of the late Pat Gallagher MRCVS, and Anna Gallagher, was born and raised in Mohill, County Leitrim, Ireland, where his family ran a public house for many years.
He received his primary education in Mohill and completed secondary level in Sligo Grammar School. In 2008, he went on to earn a 2:1 BA (Hons.) in Culinary Arts in Dublin Institute of Technology, Cathal Brugha Street and is currently studying for an MSc in Food Development and Product Innovation.
Having opened Gallaghers Boxty House in Temple Bar in 1988, Pádraic Óg has long standing experience in the restaurant business. Prior to opening the Boxty House he had been working as a Chef and travelling in the Caribbean and in London. While travelling, he observed the other emigrants eating their native food, the food they grew up with at home. He decided to set up a restaurant when he returned to Ireland, and so the Boxty House in Temple Bar came to be. Since then, he has been manufacturing and producing speciality Irish food such as Boxty, the Boxty wrap and Boxty pancakes.
Being reared between the family farm and the family pub, Pádraic Óg very quickly developed an innate appreciation of the importance of finest quality naturally grown organic food ingredients mixed with uniquely locally inspired dishes.
He has published papers on the history of the potato in Irish cuisine and culture, and also a paper on corned beef. In 2010, Pádraic Óg, together with Dr Máirtín Mac Con Iomaire, produced the gala dinner for the 2010 Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery held at St Catherine’s College Oxford and this event placed Irish food firmly on the global gastronomic map!
Last year, Pádraic Óg was chosen as one of only 14 restaurateurs selected by Fáilte Ireland, to represent Ireland as a Food Champion in Canada on a food tourism benchmarking programme last October.
Speaking on the win, owner of Gallaghers’ Boxty House in Temple Bar, Pádraic Óg said that it is important that restaurateurs all over Ireland get involved in their local branch of the RAI, as they are much stronger as an association when they are united.
“It’s important that restaurateurs fight to protect our industry- restaurants represent 1 in 4 jobs in the hospitality industry and it is vital that we lobby to keep the VAT at 9% and fight any further increases to local authority rates. We, as restaurateurs, just won’t survive otherwise.”
He succeeds Brian Fallon of Fallons of Kilcullen as the 17th President of the Restaurants Association of Ireland.