Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone places great value its food offering coupled with great relationships with organic, local and national food suppliers. We have been witness to and are creators of some great food stories.
Hiring only chefs and kitchen staff with exceptional talents in the culinary arts allows for a diversity of creativity in the kitchen. And 2017 is no different. Management and culinary staff are infusing their creative ideas and inspiration to modernise and revitalise the food offering across all three hotels in the Group.
Executive Chef with Vision and Flare
The driver for food providence and sourcing in Hodson Bay Group is Executive Head Chef Gavin O’Rourke. Gavin, a Killybegs native, has worked in a host of award-winning restaurants both in Ireland and overseas. He cooked and created dishes for fine-dining restaurants such Michelin starred Peacock Alley in Dublin and the Pompadour Restaurant in Edinburgh’s five-star Caledonian Hotel.
NEW Recipes, Menus & Cooking Styles
Since his introduction to Hodson Bay Group, he has embraced his role with all its new challenges to create menus and dishes that are bold, striking and different.
“We have brought in New World influences – Asian fusion and American influences for example. I worked in several restaurants in LA a few years back and I find my menus and cooking style heavily influenced by that.”
Changing Food Style at the Bay
Gavin draws inspiration from different food cultures and uses organic and locally produced ingredients to bolster flavour and nutrition.
“It’s an exciting change because Hodson Bay Group’s food offering has always had a fine dining restaurant. The decision to move from fine dining style to a more contemporary brassiere style is exciting. This shift stems from my own research and noted feedback from customers who invite a move to a lighter offering with less of the classical French way of cooking.”
“The traditional French-style dining was very rich. The modern palate isn’t necessarily looking for that,” adds the Hodson Bay Hotel’s general manager, Tim Hayes. “People are looking for a lighter option and it was refreshing to have Gavin present his ideas and take ownership of the project roll out.”
Local, Organic & Sustainable Sourcing
Another key focus for the Hodson Bay Group is the procurement of ingredients from local farms and manufacturers. Suppliers to the Hodson Bay Group currently include Jinny’s Bakery in Leitrim, Waldron’s Meats and Carty’s Meats in Athlone, Galway Goats Cheese and Mill Farm Organic in Galway.
“If you are eating in a restaurant and there’s a good chance that you know the farmer who produced the vegetables on your plate, isn’t that brilliant? It’s great for our customers and for the hotel staff to know that we are supporting local at every opportunity.”
Not too busy to Care
“Our hotels are busy properties but that doesn’t mean we can’t support local producers. Provenance is a big part of the whole food movement today. You want to try to get your produce as locally as you possibly can. And the produce here is top class. All of the local suppliers I’m using have really impressed.”
New Menus at The Waterfront Bar
The carvery, sandwich bar and dessert counter at Hodson Bay Hotel are the ‘shop window’ for daytime dining. Gavin introduced a new look and feel to the carvery lunches and Waterfront Bar evening menu.
“While we’ve increased the carvery offering, one thing I insist on it making the food in-house. The easy option would be to buy it in, but that’s certainly not our philosophy. We want to make all our own food in our kitchens with our chefs.”
He designed new fresh salad creations, two gourmet soups, and fresh quiches, sausage rolls, along with freshly baked Harvest brown bread, muffins, scones, cookies and a mouth-watering range of desserts.
“We have three great pastry chefs in our pastry kitchen who produce really fine desserts. In the main kitchen at Hodson Bay I’ve got 24 chefs on my roster. That a reflection on how well the management supports this whole food movement.”
Across All Three Hotels
Gavin’s new culinary style and menus are rolled out to Hodson Bay Hotel’s sister hotels, Sheraton Athlone and Galway Bay Hotel.
New bar food menus have been introduced in Sheraton Athlone Hotel with co-culinary expert Chef Eoin O’Neill.
“The new bar menu in the Sheraton was rolled out in July and it’s going down extremely well. There are lots of nice, fresh flavours and Mediterranean influences.”
New dishes and menus are planned to roll out in Galway Bay in the future.
Come experience our food stories and create your own.