Meet Rob Krawczyk, owner and head chef of Michelin-starred Restaurant Chestnut in Ballydehob
28th Mar 2020
Previously working as head chef at Brabazon at Tankardstown, Rob Krawczyk opened his restaurant in March 2018 and was awarded a coveted Michelin star in October 2019 and recently featured on the RTE series, Beyond the Menu. We caught up with the chef to hear his food philosophy…
I went to Naples two years ago, where I joined a pasta masterclass with Michelin-starred Peppe Guida. You kind of think, “Oh cooking pasta is just pasta,” but then you see a Michelin-starred Italian chef cooking pasta, and you start to get nervous. He made a tomato and spaghetti dish, which is all the Michelin inspectors want to eat. It’s a way of saying, “This is how good a chef I am.”
I originally went to art college, but my parents were always into food. They opened a small restaurant in our home in Schull (below) for 15 people, which was pre-pop-ups, but the same concept. My dad (Frank Krawczyk, the charcuterie maestro) would cook one menu, while my mum Anne looked after front of house.
My approach to food is simple. I like quite humble ingredients. I’m not really into cooking foie gras or stuff like that. I much prefer taking something like a beetroot and making something from that, whether it’s a sorbet or even served shaved raw. I think in our younger days, we can overcomplicate things. Over time, you start to realise, less is more.
My dad Frank has been a huge influence on my work, particularly charcuterie-wise. He’s taught me everything he knows. I learned from his mistakes, which was great, but both my parents taught me to appreciate good food.
I’m ticking off my global wish list slowly. I went to Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume in Cumbria for a 17-course tasting menu. He really highlights humble ingredients.
My top piece of kitchen kit are my Rory Conner knives. I can’t do much without them. I’d struggle to work without my Thermomix too.
My top spot to eat in Ireland is Klaw in Temple Bar (below). I love the casualness of going in there and getting loads of amazing seafood and eating it with your hands. I usually order the lobster roll and a pint of Guinness.
My advice for mastering charcuterie at home is “don’t give up”. It’s so much about temperature and humidity. Find a place in your house that’s the right temperature and once you do, it works really well.
When picking and pairing for a charcuterie board, I’d recommend a nice celeriac remoulade and a glass of wine that you enjoy drinking. That’s all it’s really about.
My go-to midweek meal is whatever goes into one pot, like a lentil dahl or roast chicken – something that doesn’t take a whole lot of prep time or washing up. If I can leave it in the oven for an hour and half and sit down and have a drink, I’m happy out.
My last meal on earth would be crab on white sourdough. I love shellfish.
Top tipple? I quite like gin, and the odd pint of Guinness. Drumshanbo Gunpowder is quite nice and Bertha’s Revenge gin from Ballyvolane House in Cork.
The concept for Restaurant Chestnut was a small restaurant that used the amazing product from around the area. Originally, we were looking to do something in Dublin, but then a gorgeous old pub in Ballydehob came up and it’s such a beautiful part of the world.
Read more: Stuck for dinner ideas? This slow-cooked Beef Barbacoa is perfectRead more:
Read more: 9 superstar Irish female chefs we think you should know about
Read more: Cabin Fever Cooking: the chefs who are showing us how to cook online during Covid-19
‘Eclipsed’ director Kate Canning told Jennifer McShane of the challenges...
‘Femertising’ is big business. Brands are increasingly taking advantage of...
It was on this day, January 17th, 1998, when news...
Still one of our favourite homes ever, the easy-breezy interiors...