Masterchef Nick has to grin and bear it after restaurant awards flop

Ellen Coyne

MASTERCHEF star Nick Munier was licking his wounds after leaving the Irish Restaurant Awards empty-handed last night.

The owner of city centre restaurant Pichet aired his frustration on Twitter last night, saying: "Congratulations to Pichet for winning nothing but making up the numbers."

And he joked to followers that his dessert of "sour grapes" had been "amazing".

Nick was among the host of Ireland's top chefs and restaurateurs gathered at the Burlington Hotel last night for the 2012 Irish Restaurant Awards.

Chapter One restaurant on Dublin's Parnell Square was named once again as Ireland's top restaurant.

It is the seventh time it has picked up the award -- and the fourth time in a row.

The restaurant was set up by head chef Ross Lewis and Martin Corbett two decades ago and has been consistently praised for its excellence.

It won a Michelin star in 2007 and has managed to hold on to it despite the deepening recession.

Ross told the Herald that the secret of the success of the restaurant industry in Ireland was down to a change in attitudes of Irish people.


"People are going to restaurants now instead of pubs, which has probably helped us survive the recession," he said.

"I'm not saying people don't go to pubs, they go afterwards, of course. But people are including restaurants in their socialising now."

While Pichet's Nick might have been disappointed at last night's event, fans of his restaurant told him he didn't need any more acclaim or awards.

Nick's mood lightened as he later uploaded a picture of himself with close friend Garrett Byrne, who was named as Best All-Ireland Chef. Garrett's restaurant, Campagne, in Kilkenny, opened in 2008 as the recession tightened its grip.

However, it has gone from success to success, and is famed for serving modern French food using local Irish produce.

Campagne was named Leinster's Best Restaurant, while Chapter One was best in Dublin.

James Street South, in Belfast, was named Ulster's Best; Les Gourmandises, in Cork city picked up the award for Munster; while Artisan, in Galway's Latin Quarter, was named Connacht's best.

The Long Room, at Doonbeg, Co Clare, was best hotel restaurant, while The Chop House, near the Aviva Stadium, won best gastro pub.

The best newcomer to the restaurant scene was the Greenhouse, next to the Mansion House in Dublin.

The ceremony, held in association with the Restaurants Association of Ireland, awarded the very best culinary experiences from all across the country. They are sponsored by Santa Rita/Sunday Independent Life magazine.