Business Irish

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Dundon's recipe for success turns his hotel and food business into a winner

Gordon Deegan

Published 14/12/2012 | 05:00

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Celebrity TV chef Kevin Dundon is cooking up a storm of profits with his food and hotel business on course to record a more than five-fold increase in profits to €260,000 this year.

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The cook said yesterday that the business expects to generate profits of €260,000 in 2012. Mr Dundon and his wife Catherine have operated the luxury Dunbrody Country House and restaurant in Co Wexford for the past 17 years.

"The business is going from strength to strength. We are very happy with the business at the moment. It has been a good year," Mr Dundon said following the publication of new abridged accounts filed by Marriott Park, which trades as the Dunbrody Country House and Restaurant. Those accounts show a profit of €49,025 in 2011.

"We love what we do. It is about the whole ethos of Dunbrody. It is a chef's paradise and I get tremendous job satisfaction from what I do that brings me back every day," he added.

At peak season, 50 people are employed at the award-winning Dunbrody House and Restaurant and the 2011 profit takes account of the €214,876 in annual rent to the Dundons.

Mr Dundon – who has cooked for Queen Elizabeth, former US President George Bush and Bono – operates a cookery school at Dunbrody Country House.

"The cookery school market has grown dramatically in Ireland. Cookery schools are like the way spas were a number of years ago," he said.

"At first, there were none and now there are hundreds with some operating cookery schools in their own kitchens. We are well established. We have professional chefs teaching here so people get a little more bang for their buck."

A one-day cookery course costs €165 while a five-day course costs €650.

The TV chef, who also has business interests in the US, said the business has fully recovered from losses in 2009.

"The end of 2008, 2009 and the first few months of 2010 were the hardest time we had in our 17 years here," he added.

Dunbrody employed an outside firm to examine the business to help turn it around.

Mr Dundon said: "We put in place cost-reduction and cost-management programmes. We are on the right track now and making significant profits. It is very positive."

Mr Dundon – who presents a Christmas food show on RTE television next Monday – said the 22-bedroom Dunbrody House, located on Hook Peninsula, has had a 70pc occupancy rate this year.

Irish Independent

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