Irish Restaurant Awards are rubbish, says chef Dunne
OUTSPOKEN Michelin award-winning chef Oliver Dunne says he didn't enter the Irish Restaurant Awards because "it's just rubbish".
The Bon Appetit proprietor caused a stir when he pulled out of the award ceremony last year, even though he had been nominated.
And Oliver, who trained under Gordon Ramsay, said that he didn't change his position this time around.
"I didn't enter this year. I think it's rubbish, just in my humble opinion," he said.
"Last year I was nominated and I pulled out. I disagreed with it -- I didn't want to win an award at this."
The new judging system sees 30pc of marks awarded by 'mystery diners', 30pc by the public, 30pc by a panel of judges and 10pc for the menu.
"You have to give free meals to the judges and pay €150 for tickets to the award ceremony," Oliver added.
The chef, who is at Taste of Dublin again this year, said that he preferred the judging techniques of the likes of the international Michelin awards, which are anonymous.
"You are judged on your food not on your database," he said.
Oliver (33) retained his Michelin star again this year for his Malahide-based restaurant and also said that he won't cut the wages of his Malahide restaurant staff for Sunday hours despite moves to change the agreement in the Joint Labour Committees (JLC).
"It's not a bad thing -- there are good points and bad points," he said about the JLC.
"I didn't reduce any of the wages of my staff. A lot of restaurant staff are working for pittance anyway.
"People have to live, they have to survive. So will 38c make any difference really? Restaurants are closing because there is no business on a Sunday."
Thanks to the introduction of a number of special offers, Bon Appetit is booming despite the downturn.
"We're doing brilliantly," Oliver said. "Month on month we're doing great -- we're booked out for our lunches until July 18."
The team at the restaurant, which also includes Oliver's brother as general manager, are serving three dishes in this year's festival including king scallops with black pudding, oriental chicken and prawn tempura.