Chef Gareth Naughton of Circa Restaurant Interview
This month we decided to catch up with Michelin Bib Chef Gareth Naughton who for the past year has been wowing diners in his Terenure based restaurant, Circa. Naughton realised his dream of opening his first restaurant with the helping hands of his friends Ross Duffy and Emmet Murphy.
If you would like to read our review of the food in Circa please click here. We hope you enjoy getting an insight into the man behind the dishes of this Contemporary Neighborhood Restaurant.
Tell us what inspired you to cook and what age you started?
Maybe slightly predictably, but watching my grandmother cook was one my main inspirations and made me fascinated in food growing up. Unfortunately she was very much of the generation that didn’t want a boy in the kitchen, so watching was all I was ever allowed to do, but I used to love watching her make soda bread and still use her recipe in the kitchen to this day.
What is your favourite food memory?
The first time I ate in a Michelin Star restaurant in France when I was about 20, opened my eyes to that kind of food and level of service. It was mind blowing for me at the time.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your menus?
I get inspired by the produce and what becomes available in certain seasons, that’s one of the joys of being a chef in my opinion, it’s exciting when rhubarb, tomatoes or truffles first become available and the endless possibilities produce can yield. I love ringing certain suppliers and annoying them about what they’ll have in pipeline for the coming weeks and build our menus each month with that in mind. I love being able to do that.
Have you any suppliers/producers that standout to you and why?
Our vegetable supplier Sean Hussey was a huge support to us this past year since we opened, having one of his Chef Knights events in Circa and also in general. Same with our Butcher JJ Young, great support and the passion from both men helps make my job easier because I know the produce will be top notch and something we also can quite easily stand behind.
How do you stay motivated and relevant within your role?
Our customers definitely keep me motivated, my mission is to make sure they enjoy coming to Circa and that they will want to come back As we’re in the suburbs and not in the city centre, we’re very aware that we can be a trek for some people, so its incredibly important that we have repeat customers and thankfully we do. Keeping them happy will continue to keep us on our toes and help us get better, we’re still a new restaurant, trying to evolve and get better is something that motivates me daily.
What is your ultimate food indulgence?
Foie Gras, it may not be to everyones taste but to me its the absolute sign of indulgence. Either that or a toasted ham and cheese sandwich with a pint of Guinness.
What are your favourite restaurants, who are your favourite Chefs?
In Dublin my favourite Chefs are Dan Hannigan in Mister S, Essa Fakhry in 777 and Graeme Dodrill in Peploes, all three are close mates of mine and some of the best chefs cooking in Dublin currently, in my opinion.
Outside of Dublin Aimsir was a pretty incredible experience, I haven’t had a huge amount of time to eat in restaurants this past year but its something I will hopefully be rectifying in 2020.
Your job is undoubtedly both physically and mentally demanding, do you have an outlet that helps you refresh & re-energize your mind and body?
For my own head space music is really important to me, so going to gigs, or playing music or instruments. And going to the gym regularly and generally getting out of the kitchen, work life balance is something that’s really important to me and something that I make sure all my chefs have, as it wasn’t something I ever really had, so making sure my staff have it is in credibly important.
Tell us what you love about working in your current role and why it is the right fit for you?
Well working for myself and being my own boss was something I’ve always wanted to do, plus getting to work with my mates also makes it an enjoyable experience, Darryl in the kitchen, And my business partners Ross and Emmet, make it not seem like not work at all.
Any tips for the home cook?
Only ever cook the things that you actually enjoy eating.
Contemporary Neighborhood Restaurant | Michelin Bib 2020 | Dinner: Weds to Sat | Brunch: Sat and Sun | Phone: (01) 534 2644 | https://restaurantcirca.com/book-