Michelin-starred restaurant Aniar in Galway’s West End, part of the EATGalway restaurant group owned and operated by Jp McMahon and Drigin Gaffey, is celebrating ten years.
Aniar, the Irish word for west, serves contemporary Irish dishes that showcase the unique terroir of the west of Ireland. It was awarded its first Michelin star in 2013 which it has retained every year since. The kitchen is led by chef-patron Jp McMahon who is passionate about Irish food and ingredients and creating food that brings you closer to your environment using culinary traditions like salting, curing, pickling and fermentation.
Aniar’s micro-seasonal 18-course tasting menu seeks to challenge most peoples’ perception of Irish food, and consists of delicate dishes often with just two or three key components, offering an immersive dining experience of Irish food through the ages via a contemporary filter.
The ten year journey of Aniar has seen it grow into a destination Michelin restaurant that has been pivotal in the transformation of the Irish food landscape in the west of Ireland. The journey has seen Aniar garner many accolades, not least a Michelin Star which was won in 2013 and retained every year since.
Other initiatives stemmed from and fuelled by the Aniar ethos include The Aniar Cookery School which offers cooking courses for adults and children, The Irish Cookbook by Jp McMahon which pays homage to Ireland’s rich food heritage, and the award-winning high profile food symposium Food on the Edge, which is a firm fixture on the international food scene and attracts international media and delegates from around the world.
It has also seen many Irish and international culinary stars participate in Chef Swap at Aniar, where prestigious chefs not only cook and collaborate with JP McMahon but also visit local producers and experience the very best of Irish produce. Chef Swap at Aniar boasts an impressive roll call including Ross Lewis, formerly of Chapter One; Finnish chef Sasu Laukkonen from Helsinki Michelin star restaurant Chef & Sommelier; Matt Orlando from Amass Restaurant in Copenhagen; Nathan Outlaw of Outlaw’s at the Capital, London, and Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen, Port Isaac; Amanda Cohen of cutting-edge New York City vegetable restaurant Dirt Candy; Christophe Dufau of Michelin star Les Bacchanales restaurant, Vence, France and Gunnar Karl Gíslason from Michelin star Restaurant Dill in Reykjavík among others.
Many of these high profile chefs have been quick to congratulate JP and his team on this ten year milestone with Sasu Laukkonen saying, “The restaurant, personally for me, has been a beautiful way of being able to see inside Jp’s chefs mind. I have loved every moment that I have been able to cook and serve with him and his team.” Matt Orlando also expressed his admiration for Jp saying, “There are a handful of people in our industry that truly move the dial in a productive direction. Jp is definitely one of those people. He is not only a champion of Irish cuisine and ingredients, but a champion for our industry as a whole. He inspires and connects us all, by creating a space to have important conversations.”
Co-owner, Drigin Gaffey, says, “We opened Aniar with big ambitions and zero finance. Jp, alongside chef Enda McEvoy, wanted to bring a new culinary vision to Ireland. Scraping together the pennies in those early days we pushed forward and achieved the first Michelin star in Galway city just fourteen months after opening. While Enda left shortly after to open his own place, together Jp and I took Aniar through the highs and the lows, keeping the integrity and quality of the Aniar experience at the core. I am very proud of what we have achieved at Aniar. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Jp on what he has personally achieved over the years with Food on the Edge, speaking at international symposia and The Irish Cookbook.”
For chef-patron Jp McMahon, Aniar’s journey is far from over. He says, “I would like to thank the amazing chefs, floor managers and staff past and present who have contributed to Aniar’s success to date – we wouldn’t be here without you. I look forward to leading our team into the next chapter and our bid to achieve a second Michelin Star.”