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The restaurant awards 2021: our critic’s most memorable meal, top chefs and best newcomer

After another tough year for the industry, Katy McGuinness finds a wealth of seriously good cooking and top-class restaurants to celebrate 

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Restaurant Awards

Restaurant Awards

Jess Murphy of Kai

Jess Murphy of Kai

Mickael Viljanen

Mickael Viljanen

Chef-proprietor Damien Grey at Liath. Picture: Frank McGrath

Chef-proprietor Damien Grey at Liath. Picture: Frank McGrath

Library Street. Picture: Naoise Culhane

Library Street. Picture: Naoise Culhane

Lignum's pastry chef Adi Jugu preparing his take on an Amalfi lemon for dessert

Lignum's pastry chef Adi Jugu preparing his take on an Amalfi lemon for dessert

Mamó Restaurant, Howth. Picture: Frank McGrath

Mamó Restaurant, Howth. Picture: Frank McGrath

Big Fan Bao

Big Fan Bao

Dash Buger

Dash Buger

Mackerel with chermoula from St Francis Provisions

Mackerel with chermoula from St Francis Provisions

Caitlin Ruth's chocolate, butterscotch and oat-crumble ice-cream sandwiches

Caitlin Ruth's chocolate, butterscotch and oat-crumble ice-cream sandwiches

Hen's Teeth

Hen's Teeth

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Restaurant Awards

As chefs and restaurateurs come to the end of another year they would probably rather forget, it’s worth remembering that, in the same way the best restaurants are about so much more than food, so too are the best chefs.

Chefs of the year

Jess Murphy, Kai
I haven’t eaten Jess Murphy’s food this year, because her Galway restaurant Kai, awarded a Michelin Green Star in January, was closed on my only visit west, but when it comes to generosity of spirit to others in the industry, spreading the word about farmers, producers and suppliers, and being a brilliant role model for women chefs all over the country, there is no one like her.


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