Food and Wine – Award Winners 2021

The Food and Wine Magazine awards took place in Dublin on Sunday at the Intercontinental Hotel in Ballsbridge, Dublin. Following a difficult year with various openings and closings the awards recognised the best of the best in Ireland. 

The winner of restaurant of the year is Aimsir at Cliff at Lyons in Co. Kildare. The restaurant is run by the husband-and-wife team of Jordan and Majken Bech Bailey and their young, multi award-winning team. In just four months after opening in May 2019, Aimsir was awarded not one, but two Michelin stars for their ground-breaking restaurant. It is located at the stunning setting of Cliff at Lyons.

No surprises that the chef of the year is Mickael Viljanen of Chapter One by MV. Chef Viljanen led the Greenhouse Restaurant in Dublin to a two-Michelin status and is expected to repeat this feat at his new étage on Parnell Square.

The Food and Wine Hall of Fame recognised Ross Lewis, partner at Chapter One by MV, for his contribution to the restaurant business in Ireland. 

The Owenmore at Ballynahinch Castle. Photo by Ballynahinch Castle.

The hotel restaurant of the year is one with a spectacular viewpoint, The Owenmore at Ballynahinch Castle in Connemara. Overlooking the Owenmore River and the woods of this amazing 700-acre estate.   

 Young Chef of the Year

The Young Chef of the year is Gráinne O’Keefe, of the recently opened Mae Restaurant in Ballsbridge. With a track record in Pichet, Bastible, The Merrion, and Il Segreto, she is sure to make a mark in the restaurant business for a long time.  

The Sommelier of the Year is Morgan Vanderkamer, of the Barrow’s Keep Restaurant, in Co. Kilkenny. She has been studying wine for many years and is certified with the Court of Master Sommeliers. 

The café of the year is in an area not usually famed for food, apart from local butchers, Ennis’s. Daddy’s Café, on the South Circular Road at Rialto, is worth the visit if just to see the quirky menus and the descriptions of food. Where you eat a crossandwich, wild Irish Albacore tuna coronation or Jane Russell’s black pudding.

The Misunderstood Heron at Killary Fjord. Photo by The Misunderstood Heron.

Out of the blue or out of Covid-19 grew an instant trend for food trucks. Through the summer travel2ireland.ie listed more than 50 food trucks around the country. It was no surprise to see that the Misunderstood Heron based at Leenaun in Co. Galway was the winner. Apart from the fantastic local food, you could not beat the scenery of the majestic Killary Fjord. 

travel2ireland wishes all the winners the best of luck for the future.

Joan Scales
Award-winning journalist, Joan has been writing about travel and tourism for many years principally for The Irish Times and lately for travel2ireland. Joan has appeared many times on television and radio talking about the business of travel and all its component strands. She is also a public speaker and has appeared at many international conventions and conferences.

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