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“Man, it’s just been really crazy!” Aniar restaurant’s Enda McEvoy looks proud and happy, but also slightly shell-shocked. It’s not simply that he married the mother of his two toddlers last month. Within a fortnight of his nuptials, the small but perfectly formed eaterie of which he’s head chef was awarded Galway’s first-ever Michelin star in the 2013 edition of food bible The Michelin Guide...
Olaf Tyaransen, 19 Oct 2012
“Our phone began to ring the moment it was announced,” the 35-year-old chef laughs. “Straight away, we were booked out for two weeks solid. Every night since has been like a Saturday night.”
Situated on Dominick St. in the city’s lively West End, and owned by restaurateurs JP McMahon and his wife Drigin Gaffey, Aniar only opened 13 months ago. While it’s unusual for such a young restaurant to be awarded the accolade, the Michelin Guide inspectors have had their eyes on the talented Irish chef for quite some time. He first came to their attention when he was cheffing in cheesemonger Seamus Sheridan’s acclaimed Sheridan’s On The Docks.
“Rebecca Burr, who’s now editor of the UK and Ireland edition – she wasn’t editor at the time – came into Sheridan’s On The Docks one night and said, ‘Hello, I’m with the Guide and I’d like to put you in our book’. I had a great conversation with her. And it turned out that when I was working in [two-starred restaurant] Noma in Copenhagen after the Docks closed, she was the one who reviewed it.”
Born and raised in Virginia, Co. Cavan, McEvoy doesn’t come from an especially foody family. “We ate very simple food at home,” he says. “My parents owned a supermarket, though, so while it wasn’t haute cuisine we were always food-orientated. We kept pigs and chickens, my dad was always going out shooting, and my brother was a horticulturist. We grew up beside a big forest so we were always fishing, snaring rabbits and that sort of thing.”
His first kitchen job was in Germany at 17, when he worked a summer as porter in a Black Forest restaurant. However, it took a few years – during which time he studied English and Sociology at NUI Maynooth – before McEvoy decided to make cooking his career. Having cooked further in Germany, Spain and the UK, he returned home to work in Galway’s Nimmo’s in the mid-noughties. From there he moved to the wine bar above Sheridan’s Cheesemongers, before becoming head chef at Sheridan’s On The Docks.