THE success stories behind West Cork’s Michelin star restaurants were shared at the recent annual Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) Cork branch tourism dinner.
Rob Krawczyk of Chestnut, Ballydehob, and Robert Collender owner of Mews, Baltimore poke about the positive impact of winning a Michelin star.
Rob whose restaurant Chestnut was awarded a Michelin star within six months of opening, said: ‘We didn’t set out to win (a Michelin star).
‘We were aiming to do something that we were really passionate about and we worked really hard. We just did what we felt was right and that we wanted to do and yet, it [the award] came fast, but it’s great!
‘I think it’s very important that food is local and the best that you can get and we’re really fortunate that West Cork has some fantastic producers and suppliers.
‘If you can start with good produce, that’s 70% to 80% of the work,’ he added.
Neil Grant, chairman of the IHF Cork branch and manager of the Celtic Ross Hotel, congratulated award recipients on the night and commented on the growth of the tourism and hospitality sector and in the region.
‘However, at a time when we face into Brexit, a complete unknown, our Government in their infinite wisdom has decided to jeopardise our industry at a crucial juncture by increasing the VAT for accommodation and food by 50% and in turn making us less competitive with our overseas competitors.’ National President of the Irish Hotels Federation, Michael Lennon, echoed Mr Grant’s comments criticising the Government increase in the tourism VAT rate to 13.5%, saying that in many cases, hoteliers would have no choice but to pick up the cost of the VAT increase and that for many, it may wipe out their margin altogether.
However, he praised the 450 members of the Cork branch of the IHF present at the event, saying it was the ‘talented and passionate people working within the industry who every day strive to make our guests feel truly welcome’ that underpin the world-class hospitality offering we have today.