Chefs are often restless souls, looking for outlets for their creativity. Perhaps that explains the explosion of residencies, pop-ups and guest chef appearances at restaurants around the world.
More than 40 top chefs exchanged their lives, identities and restaurants at a global event organized by the Gelinaz chef collective last year and also in 2015. Hundreds of diners made reservations at participating restaurants, without knowing which chef, from René Redzepi of Noma in Copenhagen to David Thompson of Nahm in Bangkok, would prepare their dinner.
The Gelinaz Shuffle, as it is called, was a great success, but sadly no Irish chef took part. However, irish time columnist JP McMahon of restaurant Aniar launched Chef Swap the Irish way.
Starting with Ross Lewis of Dublin’s Chapter One, a series of renowned chefs will cook alongside McMahon at his restaurant in Galway, bringing with them their culinary identity and restaurant ethos. The program kicks off on Saturday February 18, when Lewis will bring “the flavors of chapter one” to Galway.
On Saturday March 18, Sasu Laukkonen from Michelin star chef and sommelier in Helsinki will be in Galway’s kitchen. He will be followed by fish specialist Nathan Outlaw, who has restaurants in Cornwall and London, on Saturday April 29. Syrco Bakker from Pure C restaurant in the Netherlands will be cooking at Aniar on Saturday June 24th.
On each date, guests can reserve a table for a 10-course dinner (€110) which will represent both the chefs and the two restaurants.
JP McMahon said: “The goal of Chef Swap at Aniar is to bring different chefs to Aniar to showcase their cuisine and philosophy. It’s wonderful to open our Chef Swap program with celebrity Irish chef Ross Lewis. Ross has been at the forefront of Irish cuisine for 25 years.
The element of surprise may be lacking in the Irish Swap Chef, but it’s not all one-sided. On Friday February 24, JP McMahon will travel to Cork to join Chef Bryan McCarthy in his kitchen at Greenes Restaurant on MacCurtain Street. “Collaboration is key to the progress of Irish cuisine,” said McMahon, whose second book, 10,000 years of gastronomy in Irelandis due out later this year.
This week, McMahon was in Canada to take part in a global chef exchange as part of Dine Out Vancouver, and next month he will travel to San Sebastian to speak at a conference at the Basque Culinary Centre.
To make reservations for one of the Chef Swap dinners at Aniar, see anniarrestaurant.ie