We love getting to know the people of the Reeks District! Here’s our first Foodie Q&A, this one with Jonathan Keary, Head Chef at Jack’s Coastguard Restaurant in Cromane.

When did you start working in Jack’s Coastguard Restaurant?
I started working in Jack’s on a part-time basis when it opened in 2006 as I had another job as a sales rep. From June 2007 to November 2008 I travelled to Australia and New Zealand; I was very lucky to work in some amazing kitchens throughout my time travelling. I became Head Chef in Jack’s in 2008 and haven’t looked back since.

What do you love about your job?
I’m very lucky that I work with such a great team – it really does help when everyone is on the same page. As you can appreciate, some days are hard but that is the same with every job. I enjoy the fact that any two days are never the same, which always keeps me on my toes

What dishes are you most proud of?
It’s hard to beat wild salmon, especially local Cromane salmon caught in the waters right outside Jack’s. It has a flavour that farmed salmon fails to compete with. I find it best to serve it simple and let the fish speak for itself, so just some nice veg and new potatoes, with a butter sauce.
I’m also very proud of our New Years Eve menu, each year we have a different menu for one night only. I always put on a few unique dishes on the menu, it’s nice to have our guests taste new things and it’s a great way to challenge yourself.
We are currently working on a new menu for Jacks – I’m not going to show my hand yet but I can say that I’m very excited for what’s to come. Watch this space!

What is the strangest food request you have ever had from a customer?
Honestly, we don’t really get strange food requests at Jacks‘. We do get a few FODMAP customers where they are allergic to specific food items and do have dietary requests. I’m always happy to adjust the menu to suit all dietary needs.

What would be your death row meal?
Oh, that’s a tough one! I would have to say Classic Caesar Salad to start, Beef Wellington for main course and anything chocolatey for dessert – I’ve a bit of a sweet tooth.

What do you do when you are not in the kitchen?
In the off season, I enjoy golfing and it’s great to have Dooks Golf Links so close by. I love just driving around this beautiful county of ours, stopping off for a coffee and watching the world go by.
I try to relax as much as I can on my days off especially in off season, once high season rolls in it’s head down until October, then before you know it’s Christmas, so it’s important to make time for things I enjoy doing when I can.

Any new or exciting food trends coming up in 2019?
There’s a strong movement towards sustainable, local produce and a back to basics thread. Clean, simple, well balanced dishes served on plates (no more boards and slates thank goodness :D) with everything on the side.

Read more stories on our Notes from the Reeks blog