Making Waves in The Irish Food Industry – Food And Drink Aficionados to Follow For Some Serious Inspiration

Every few years, a new wave of movers and shakers catch our attention. Whether it be in the world of politics, travel, world issues or indeed, food and drink.

These chefs, sommeliers, writers and hospitality pros are providing a major source of inspiration for aspiring foodies, wine lovers and more.

So, sit back, relax, sip a glass of vino and add these folks to your must watch list.

Daniel Hannigan

Davey O'Byrne

An active fundraiser, Daniel Hannigan has been passionate about raising awareness and funds for suicide prevention and mental health charities.

The chef recently set up Food For Thought in order to create awareness while also providing a unique dining experience. Some of the dining venues on the list include l’Ecrivain, Mulberry Garden and Locks.

According to Daniel, the goal is to “make money for charity to help people and I want people who attend to walk away feeling good after sharing a great meal together”.

Jeeny Maltese

TV chef, food writer and co-founder of My Nutrition Ireland, Jeeny Maltese is one busy lady. With live cookery demos, talks and events on her resume, Jeeny is also a regular on such TV shows like RTE’s Today Show with Maura and Daithi and Virgin Media One’s Six O’Clock Show.

You can most recently find Jeeny in TheTaste’s recipe section, which she manages. She is passionate about food and her recipes make cooking accessible and approachable for everyone.

She’s also incredibly supportive of Irish food producers on social media, highlighting some that may not have even been on your radar.

Philip Dunne

As head sommelier at the Westbury hotel in Dublin, Philip Dunne has racked up quite an impressive amount of experience over the past number of years.

Named sommelier of the year 2018 and 2019, Philip is also a WSET global educator and wine writer for TheTaste, something he shares with his former wine teacher, Liam Campbell.

The Kildare native has worked in the hospitality industry since he was just 15, becoming head sommelier of Ashford Castle at the age of 25. His hard work over the years has certainly paid off and he’s set to continue making a great impact on the Irish drinks scene.

JP McMahon

Unless you’ve been living under a major pile of rocks, JP McMahon is someone who is instantly recognisable on the Irish food scene.

This chef, restaurateur and conference founder is constantly innovating, whether it’s in one of his restaurants, as part of food festivals or the ever popular Food on the Edge symposium.

Whatever your poison, you’re sure to find inspiration from JP so stay up-to-date with all he has up his sleeve.

Kate Ryan

Kate Ryan’s is all about the fabulous food of West Cork. The area has really been coming up in the world and the region has been recognised by Michelin honours among other awards.

With, Kate shares the best of West Cork’s produce, recipes, interviews with producers and chefs, as well as food tours, events and reviews.

Kate has also worked to help combat child obesity with the Eggsellent Breakfasts initiative and is a contributor for TheTaste so you can stay up to date with all West Cork food has to offer.

John Healy

A man with more charisma than humanly possible, John Healy is the general manager of Suesey Street on Fitzwilliam Place in Dublin.

If you’ve had the pleasure of being greeted by this busy man in the restaurant, you won’t have forgotten his magnetism. John is also the “unofficial host of The Restaurant show” on TV.

Treating each and every customer like a celebrity, he is definitely someone to aspire to within the hospitality industry.

Katia Valadeau

If you love everything French and Irish, you’ll love reading Katia Valadeau’s blog, Featuring recipes focusing on “simple, well-made food”, Katia is also a firm supporter of local and seasonal produce and the country’s small producers.

A conference speaker and food awards judge, she also has a seriously interesting series happening at the moment where she features inspirational and hardworking women in food.

So make sure you stay up-to-date with Katia on social media and on her website.

Lynda Coogan

If you want to connect with other likeminded wine lovers, then one of Wine Tasting Ireland’s social gatherings could be key to unlocking your passion.

Owner of Wine Tasting Ireland, Lynda Coogan holds a WSET diploma in wine and also boasts 10 year’s experience in the wine trade. Her company, Wine Tasting Ireland, specialises in hosting fun, interactive wine tastings for groups.

She also writes some articles for TheTaste so you can keep up to date with all her tips, favourite wines and more.

Shane Smith

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, odds are that you’ve drooled over many of Chef Shane Smith’s pastry creations.

The Cavan native has been cooking up a storm all around the country for over 16 years, from hotels to restaurants. He also runs a number of fun and interactive demonstrations with his fellow chefs.

You can also catch Shane on TV as he is a regular on TV3’s Sunday AM , bringing his wonderful creations right into our homes.

Conor Spacey

Culinary director at the award-winning Food Space IRL, Conor Spacey began his career in the food industry over 27 years ago.

Starting off as a kitchen porter, he worked his way up, joining Food Space in February 2016.

Since then, he has been fundamental in building their ethos around putting fresh, seasonal and responsibly sourced ingredients. He is passionate about working towards a sustainable food future.

Chef Collab

Chef Collab is an impressive culinary collaboration which brings Ireland’s top chefs together for a unique dining experience.

A win-win situation, Chef Collab gives diners a unique experience like no other and at the same time, apprentice chefs receive valuable training and mentorship in a fun and relaxed environment.

Chef Collab mentors include Chad Byrne, Philip Roe, Paul McDonald, Sean Doyle, Keith Boyle and more, so be sure and keep an eye out on their social channels.


Sarah has always had a great love of travel, food and photography. Following her journalism degree at DCU, she developed a passion for travel writing while living in Spain.

Named Best Break Out Travel Writer at the 2018 Travel Media Awards, Sarah loves exploring new places and sampling the local cuisine. Working with combines her love of food and travel.

A big people person, especially when it comes to hearing other people’s stories, Sarah loves interviewing chefs, food producers and more.

Sarah Glascott Sarah Glascott

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