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Acclaimed chef Enda enjoys taste of success

Judy Murphy



Enda McEvoy and Christine Walsh in the kitchen at Loam. “There’s nothing here for the sake of it, and it’s the same with things on a plate. Don’t overdo it,” Enda says. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Lifestyle – Judy Murphy meets chef Enda McEvoy whose Loam restaurant has been awarded a Michelin star for consistent excellence

Michelin-starred chef Enda McEvoy tends to take other people’s advice – even when it’s well-meaning – with a grain of salt.

“You wouldn’t want to be listening to people. You have to have an idea of what you want yourself, otherwise you’d be driven distracted,” says this quiet, focused man who has played a major role in Galway’s growing reputation as a food destination.

It’s just as well Enda has that philosophy, because otherwise he’d never have opened his city restaurant, Loam, in its current location on Fairgreen Road.

Although Loam is just a skip from Eyre Square its location is regarded as being off the beaten track – away from the busy Quay Street area. The first few months had their challenges, Enda says. But since he was awarded a Michelin star in September, footfall has been guaranteed.

This isn’t the Cavan man’s first Michelin star – he was Head Chef at Aniar Restaurant in 2012 when it won the accolade for his creative menus based totally on Irish produce.

But Enda doesn’t believe in resting on his laurels and shortly after that, he and his wife Sinéad decided to set up their own restaurant.

“Initially we were looking for a destination premises, with rooms, but that fell through,” he explains. So it was back to the drawing board. They explored various buildings around the city, “in the more traditional areas” but nothing was suitable.

Finally, they selected this premises, which had been designated ‘commercial’ in the City Development Plan. Changing its use “was a huge rigmarole” but they persevered as it was a very flexible space.

“There’s never a place that’d be ideal for what’s in your head, so you just have to roll with it,” he says.

That’s what they did.

“The building will tell you what it’s capable of – the one thing it needed to have was an open kitchen because I like to know what’s happening on the floor.”

Enda is not a fan of “having people in the background making all these things to go through a door”. It results in “no real connection” between people cooking the food and those eating it.

“You have to make food for the customers and when people come here, their first contact is with a person who made food for them.”

He’s all for the idea of having the person who prepared the food deliver it to the table and answering questions that customers might have.

It’s an unorthodox approach, but “there’s no harm in looking at existing norms and asking questions”, he feels.

That’s his philosophy, not just when it comes to food, but living too. Enda grew up in Cavan where his family owned a supermarket and also grew vegetables for other shops. A respect for food and a strong work ethic were inherited from his parents and while he veered towards academia for a while, he loved working with his hands, and always felt that would be his true calling.

He was 17 the first time he worked in a kitchen – in Germany in 1996, as a kitchen porter.

“I enjoyed the process – being part of a machine that worked efficiently and where everyone has a function,” he recalls.

Enda knew about teamwork from his parents business, but “this was different”, he says of his German kitchen experience.

“In this business, the way you work is a short, intensive process. It’s repetitive and you have to get better and better. There’s a burst of energy and people work together silently – it’s almost like a performance.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.


Outdoor dining plans unveiled for Galway City

Dara Bradley



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A new plan to temporarily pedestrianise city streets to create more space for outdoor dining this summer was published this week.

Galway City Council has said it is planning to close six streets for four months to boost the hospitality sector and attract more custom ‘back the West’ and to Woodquay.

It has also signalled smaller changes for Salthill and around Eyre Square.

“We’re looking to support businesses and people getting back to work. This is an opportunity for us to explore outdoor dining and we’re looking to trial these public realm initiatives,” Ruairí Lehmann, the City Council’s Tourism Officer told the Galway City Tribune.

“There is an appetite for this; the indications we have from Government is it is going to be an outdoor summer and these proposals will support that,” he added.

Chairperson of Galway Branch of VFI, Johnny Duggan of Taylor’s Bar on Dominick Street, said the changes would be very positive and boost hospitality businesses in all areas.

Already, he said as many as 30 businesses have applied for licences to trade outside in the area known as the Westend.

The local authority wants to close to traffic The Small Crane and Raven Terrace 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from June 7 until September 30. Car parking spaces will be removed from Small Crane and one lane of traffic would be kept open, one-way. A decision on which side is still under review.

The Council intends to make Dominick Street Lower (Galway Arms to Monroe’s) a single-lane one-way traffic street to facilitate additional on-street dining. It’s understood this has hasn’t yet got the backing of taxi drivers who have concerns about access to and from the Bridge Street rank but alternative taxi space may be offered at another location in the Westend to assuage those fears.

The Council has signalled its intention to close Dominick Street Upper and William Street West from Small Crane to Munster Avenue, at night only, between 6pm and 11pm, from Monday June 7 until Thursday September 30.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and for full details of the proposals for the city centre and Salthill, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Council chief backs Salthill tidal pools proposal

Stephen Corrigan



Image Courtesy of Superfly Ireland

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Council is to consider including a specific objective to restore the tidal pools in Salthill in the new City Development Plan – with around one-fifth of the submissions made in a public consultation backing this ‘no-brainer’ proposal.

In a report to councillors on submissions received, Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said consideration of the proposal would be based on technical feasibility, funding, staff resources, climate change considerations and environmental factors.

“A large number of submissions were received requesting the restoration of the tidal pools in Salthill as a year-round public amenity and recreation facility accessible to all. The restoration of this facility would be a huge asset to the city and complement the existing facilities that are available at Salthill,” Mr McGrath states in the document seen by the Galway City Tribune.

Support for the reviving of the Ladies’ Beach facility grew legs after an online petition attracted over 4,500 signatures.

Up to 100 of the 518 submissions made to the Council’s pre-draft consultation supported reopening the pools that have been out of action since the late 1970s.

(Photo: How the pools might look. Image Courtesy of Superfly Ireland)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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GMIT in €9m bid for Galwegians’ Glenina grounds

Stephen Corrigan



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – GMIT has put in an offer – rumoured to be in the region of €9million – for the purchase of Galwegians RFC’s grounds at Glenina, the Galway City Tribune understands.

The offer will be presented for a vote at a Special General Meeting of club members set to take place on May 27.

The land at Crowley Park, located just two minutes’ walk from GMIT, had been earmarked for housing by property developer Neil Armstrong, and is zoned residential. However, this deal fell through.

A GMIT spokesperson told the Galway City Tribune they were “not yet in a position to comment”, while a spokesperson for Galwegians declined to comment.

It is understood that staff at GMIT were informed by the institution’s Vice President of Finance at a meeting this week that the ‘deal was done’ and that they awaited the rugby club’s signing off at its members’ meeting later in the month.

The sale would clear the way for the club to proceed with plans to develop a 22-acre site at Boleynasruhaun, Oranswell, where it is expected to make a second planning application after the County Council raised concerns over the scale of the development proposed initially.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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