Saturday 1 October 2016

Top chef Kevin Thornton is 'baffled' over the loss of prized Michelin star

Published 21/09/2015 | 12:52

Chef Kevin Thornton
Chef Kevin Thornton

Top chef Kevin Thornton has revealed he is "baffled and sad" over the loss of a Michelin star at his renowned Dublin restaurant.

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Thornton said he is still processing the news that his eponymous restaurant in Dublin's five-star Fitzwilliam Hotel did not retain the star, after learning of the development via a tweet last Wednesday.

Mr Thornton told how he and his wife and business partner Muriel had been reflecting on the matter, and have been offered lots of support from loyal customers.

"We've been reflecting over the past few days - as you do when faced with a loss of something significant in your life - asking ourselves could we have done something differently over the past year and the answer is no," he said in an interview with the Sunday Business Post.

"While we are baffled and sad to lose the star, we are also strangely okay, content in the knowledge that we do what we do well.

"I have said many times over the years that we set our own standards and my philosophy on that hasn't changed."

Mr Thornton said holding a Michelin star for 20 years had been important for the business. He said that it remained to be seen what the implications of the loss would be.

"There are a number of international travellers, for example, who only dine at starred restaurants," Mr Thornton said.

He added that the news had caused widespread shock among customers and industry colleagues, who had gotten in touch in their droves to offer solace and support.

Meanwhile, acclaimed Malahide chef Oliver Dunne of Bon Appetit told the Herald he has no regrets about the loss of his Michelin star, having pursued a new dining model for his restaurant.

Mr Dunne said he had flagged it well in advance that he would lose the star and that business is booming at his restaurant and wine and tapas bar.

He changed and renovated his restaurant in October 2014.

"It's been the best year ever," Mr Dunne said.

"It has been so positive. Any doubt I had was completely gone straight away."

Prior to the transformation, Bon Appetit was busy every Saturday night because it was a "special occasion" restaurant and people would come for their birthday or anniversary. However, during the week they weren't so busy, Mr Dunne explained.

"If you are city-centre based you have a bit more of a pull in terms of the corporate market," he said.

Now, every month this year, targets have come in 30pc to 40pc above budget, he revealed.

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