Rachel serves up her first restaurant - in Cork, of course
Rachel Allen is set to enter a new phase of her career as she opens her first ever restaurant.
The Sunday Independent can exclusively reveal that Rachel, along with her husband Isaac, has acquired a large building on Cork's Washington Street.
In a move that will transform the Cork restaurant scene, the 5,500 sq ft premises - which will seat 130 people in the main area and will also have a private dining area for up to 30 - will open early next year.
"I have been looking out for the right premises to open a restaurant for a while now," Rachel said.
"In Dublin, Galway... I even came close to opening a place in London. Until recently there was nowhere I could find in Cork that ticked all the boxes so I was delighted when I came across these premises. It's the perfect size and location for what I want to do and being just down the road from Ballymaloe will make it so much easier to run!"
Rachel is, of course, closely associated with the Ballymaloe empire and despite travelling the world as a chef and a writer she still teaches at the Ballymaloe Cookery School when she's at home.
The new restaurant will aim to bring a flavour of the ever-popular Ballymaloe aesthetic to Cork city centre. There will be fresh, organic produce from the farm at Ballymaloe along with fish from Ballycotton Bay and meat from the east Cork area.
"The philosophy will be simple, with a small menu that will change on a regular basis and evolve with the seasons," Rachel said.
She is planning an open kitchen with a large wood-fired oven, fire pits, an in-restaurant smoker and drying chambers to age beef in house. "I know we can serve really fantastic food at very fair prices if we just keep it simple," she said.
"Really well produced meat, organic vegetables from the farm, fresh fish daily from Ballycotton Bay and shellfish from the west coast. The best ingredients we can get, cooked as simply as we can. Largely just using fire and smoke. I'm really excited about it.''
The news comes as Rachel steps down from her role as a judge for the prestigious World's 50 Best Restaurants list which generates huge excitement in the foodie world every year.
No one is allowed to know who the judges are until the judging is done so it has only now been revealed that Rachel was one of the "trusted gourmets" of the prestigious 'Academy' which decides on the world's best restaurants.