The village of Kinlough is preparing for an influx of food tourists following the publication of The Bridgestone Guide 2012. The ‘go to’ guide has placed local Chef Piero Melis as one of the “10 Hot Chefs” in the country while also honouring The Courthouse Restaurant as one of the Best 100 Restaurants in Ireland.
By Fiona Heavey
The Bridgestone Guides are authoritative, controversial, reliable and independent. Making it in to the Bridgestone Guide is very prestigious.
Chef Piero Melis, proprietor of The Courthouse Restaurant, Kinlough knows the importance of the publicity. He said he is “delighted” with the achievement and the “acknowledgement of his hard work.”
The restaurant has been noted in the guide for almost ten years of it’s 15 year business but the upgrade to one of the best 100 restaurants in Ireland is something he feels will boost business.
“Last year I won Best Chef in Leitrim and this really helped business, the media publicity boosted our numbers.” He now hopes his high inclusion in the Bridgestone Guide will further increase customers to The Courthouse.
The Courthouse’s Thornhill duck dish is listed as one of 10 great signature dishes and the restaurant also makes it on to the top 10 Him ‘n’ Her Places!
Piero told the Leitrim Observer he relies usually on the local custom of Leitrim, Sligo, Donegal and Fermanagh. He said his close proximity to the seaside town of Bundoran helps trade. In the past three years he said he has noticed more loyal customers returning, which he would not have seen in the years previous. But The Courthouse does attract foodies from further afield and Piero has been taking more frequent bookings from people in Dublin and Belfast who also want to stay locally on their trip.
Piero puts down his success to local products of good quality and excellent value.
He said acknowledgment by Bridgestone puts more pressure on him to perform to his best, which means being more creative. As one of the top 10 chefs in the country according to Bridgestone, Piero has become the “one to watch.”
Piero had only caught a glimpse of the guide before he spoke to the Leitrim Observer. He said he had been informed about the news by many people ringing to congratulate him. He said he feels he did not do anything special last year to get the recognition, he has just continued his hard work ethos.
With six part time staff along with himself, The Courthouse is currently open Thursday - Sunday but will be expanding their open hours around Valentine’s Day and again in late April/ May.
To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.