RENOWNED chef Marco Pierre White believes that the restaurant industry is booming as Irish people begin to enjoy themselves again, despite the country's financial problems.
The three-time Michelin star chef was speaking in Dublin yesterday afternoon ahead of the official opening of his second Irish eatery, Marco Pierre White Courtyard Bar & Grill.
"If you look at Dublin as a city, the restaurant sector is booming. It's expanding," he said.
"It gives you insight into the people. They are not depressed. Even though things may be tough, they are enjoying themselves."
The British-born chef added: "They are working hard and they are enjoying themselves. There's nothing wrong with working hard and playing hard."
Describing his new Donnybrook venture as a "nice sister" of his city-centre Dawson Street establishment, the celebrity chef hopes that it exudes "affordable glamour".
"It's not trying to be a Michelin-star restaurant. It's a neighbourhood restaurant," he said.
The establishment opened its doors last week, and so far has enjoyed busy services every evening.
Describing Irish-sourced ingredients as "top notch", he said: "It is all about buying the best ingredients and showing them off."
The chef hailed Declan Ryan, from the now-closed Cork establishment Arbutus Lodge, as one of his culinary heroes.
"To have a restaurant in Cork, which was competing with the best in Britain, was special. He was the godfather of Irish cuisine."
He added: "The heavyweight today is Patrick Guilbaud. He has been there a long, long time."