The very talented Susan Leacy, Executive Chef at Five Star Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort took some time out of her demanding schedule to give us all a taste of her passion for food and the culinary world in which she has forged a hugely successful career. Leading the kitchen in a Five Star venue is not for the faint hearted and Susan is most definitely a woman that can hold her own and leads an award winning team. Read on to get a better insight into this leading lady.
Tell us what inspired you to cook and what age you started ?
I started cooking at a very young age, taking great interest at my home, cooking, baking etc. I worked part time in pubs as a kitchen porter and was eager to get into the kitchen to cook. I spent 4 years in college to pursue my career as a chef, whilst I was in college I worked in various places, restaurant, pubs to gain experience and support myself through this time. I was hungry to gain as much experience and knowledge as possible.
What is your favourite food memory?
My favourite food memory would have to be working in Australia, at the opera house in Sydney, also working for a outside catering company in Sydney. The fish and seafood over there are a dream to work with, the quality and variance is outstanding.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your menus?
My menus are inspired by the fantastic local and regional produce we have around us here in Wicklow. Seasons of food varies so much its not difficult to produce new dishes, also working closely with our local suppliers, for the best produce available.
Have you any suppliers/ producers that stand out to you and why?
It’s the local guys that are on our doorstep, that pop in on a weekly basis to let me know what they have grown and what they have available, it could be different from week to week.
How do you stay motivated and relevant within your role?
Motivation comes with helping the younger chefs develop and grow, setting high goals and achieving them, producing good quality dishes using Irish produce and hearing that people are enjoying what myself and my team have produced.
What is your ultimate food indulgence?
That’s a tough one, Good quality Irish cheese and a glass of wine, there are some great cheese producers out there, meat fish from our coast.
What are your favourite restaurants, who are your favourite Chefs?
Favourite chefs, tough one as there are so many great chefs out there, I would have to say, the old school chefs are the ones that inspired myself as I was training, Marco Pierre White, the Roux brothers, Raymond Blanc.
Favourite restaurants, there are so many, the ones I would normally go for are young and up and coming chefs, local guys using local produce.
Your job is undoubtedly both physically and mentally demanding, do you have an outlet that helps you refresh & re-energize your mind and body?
My dogs, taking them out for walks helps to clear the mind. And also, people close to me outside of work who are there to listen when I need to let off steam, my partner is very understanding.
Tell us what you love about working in your current role and why it is the right fit for you?
My current role is very demanding, I don’t do bored very well, and I’m certainly not bored in my role, everyday there is a new challenge, whether its producing new dishes, organising the team and training.
Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort,
+353 1 287 0800