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Foodies Fight Back with Lucinda

Foodies Fight Back with Lucinda

Thursday 04 March 2021

Chad Byrne, executive chef at Killarney's Brehon Hotel, has mentored young chefs with an exuberance that has impressed everyone in the industry. Never one to sit on his hands, he is now converting a horsebox into a mobile kitchen.

"The Monday before lockdown, I was hosting the Kerry v Cork semi-final of the County Cooking Championships in front of 100 people at The Brehon Hotel. Kerry won, and great fun and food was had. Little did I know it'd be my final week working fully until just before Christmas."

During this down time, Chad says it was great to work with Meals on Wheels in Kerry, with Paddy Kevane and Junior Locke doing an amazing job running it for St Vincent de Paul. He also set up ChefvChef, an Instagram account that ran for weeks, pitting chefs against one another and highlighting artisan Irish produce.

He's had a longstanding relationship with Ability@Work Cork, a dedicated supported employment service for young people with intellectual disabilities, inviting students to help at the Chef Collab (which pairs apprentice chefs with established chefs as mentors) and CCC events, and including their families for a good night out. So he started an Insta online class, @abilitytocookireland, cooking along each week with a different student from the programme. He still continues this every Monday.

"This has been a great source of fun and, quite frankly, good for the soul, too."

Chad is also now converting a horsebox into a mobile kitchen to do great casual food. However, with funds diminishing faster than envisaged, he nervously crowdfunded the project.

"I did a video offering Zoom classes, gift vouchers, putting people's names on menus, anything to raise the capital. It smashed its target in less than 12 hours. Now the Hungry Donkey is alive and will be ready by spring. I can't wait to cook some seriously scrummy bangers."

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First Published In The Sunday Independent