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Michelin Star Chef Rory Carville opens BLÁS Restaurant in Donegal Town

The Blás Restaurant, at The Gateway Lodge in Donegal Town, offers a modern new Taste of Donegal.  In 2015, Seamus Quinn from Donegal Town, the successful owner of Quinn Construction in London, purchased an historic building, in a great location, in Donegal Town. He wanted to make significant changes to the property and working with local company, Paul Doherty Architects, they not only extended the building, but completely renovated the interior, giving the house and hostel a new sleek and modern feel. 

Seamus Quinn brought almost twenty Donegal men (who work for him in London) back home for three months, to refurbish the hostel, chalets and restaurant, adding a new modern lobby, re-roofing the existing building, re-facing the main entrance and extended the car parking to include modern camper facilities.

Seamus then went looking for the best chef he could find, to open a new restaurant in Donegal Town.

Michelin starred chef, Rory Carville, was looking to open a new restaurant at the same time!

Rory Carville, Head Chef at the new Blás Restaurant at The Gateway Lodge, in Donegal Town
Rory Carville, from Castleblayney in County Monaghan, graduated from Killybegs Catering College in 2000, where he also happened to meet his wife, Erin. His final placement from college was at the Limetree Restaurant in the Park Hotel in Kenmare and after that he moved to Dublin, spending three years with Terry White at the Four Seasons Hotel.

He then joined Derry Clarke's team in l'Ecrivain, in Dublin, for two and a half years. Rory then worked for a year in Chapter One under Ross Lewis and while he was there Derry rang him up to see if he'd like to work for the summer on a yacht (belonging to a business partner) in the south of France. Around this time Rory had been working on a new venture with Dylan McGrath, but that fell through, so he jumped at this opportunity.

Michelin Chef Rory Carville with Marian and Seamus Quinn at Blás Restaurant, Donegal Town
Rory came back from France in September 2010, when he was offered the job of opening up Locks Brasserie, on the canal in Dublin. He spent three years at Locks, winning his first Michelin Star along with numerous other awards.

"Winning a Michelin Star takes a lot of hard work and dedication from a chef and his whole team, putting in long hours and intense concentration." says Rory. "It's great for business but it's a different kind of pressure as your cooking to satisfy a different kind of clientele. And there are so many great restaurants now in Dublin that the competition is very tight."

Daniel Cavan, sous chef at Blás Restaurant in Donegal Town
Rory Carville is joined in the new Blás kitchen by his sous-chef, Daniel Cavan. Daniel, originally from Dumbarton in Scotland, is one of those young chefs who lives for food. He is passionate and capable and he really loves his career as a chef. 

Rory's plans for Blás Restaurant are to keep it simple, tasty, rustic and he describes his food as modern Irish, with a bit of a twist

Velvet Cloud Sheep's Yogurt with Dandelion Honey & Chive at Blás Restaurant

"I love cooking great fish and I really like cooking slow cuts of meat and working new flavoursome ways of cooking vegetables" he says. He also has a great passion for sourcing local, as he explains, "I'm working with local butcher Marty Walsh for all of my beef. I'm using all the local suppliers and everything on the menu here comes from within a twenty-mile radius of Donegal Town. All our fish is coming in from Killybegs. I also do a lot of foraging for mushrooms, wild garlic and home grown herbs."

Finishing off a dish of John Dory and Organic Broccoli 
Rory says he is delighted to be part of the northwest's modern food scene and gives credit to how food in the best restaurants around County Donegal is easily comparable to any of the top restaurants around Ireland.

The bedrooms have been totally refurbished at the Gateway Lodge in Donegal Town

"Things are changing in the Irish restaurant scene these days. Chefs are getting back to basics and working with their local food producers now, more than they ever did, but producing a modern original Irish Cuisine style." says Rory. "It's brilliant for the food producers, the restaurants but ultimately it's great for our customers."

The Chalets at the Gateway Lodge have also been completely refurbished

Blás at the Gateway Lodge is becoming a another success story in accommodation and dining in Donegal Town. It's success is down to the passion of it's owner, in creating a place that reflects it's heritage while looking to the future and a passionate chef, who understands that locally sourced food is the best way for people to truly understand the location they are in.

Official Opening Night at Rory Carville's new Blás Restaurant in Donegal Town was brilliant!
Blás at The Gateway Lodge offers you "a place on a plate" in one sitting and Rory also says he hopes that Blás will be the first Michelin approved restaurant in the northwest of Ireland.

For bookings at Blás Restaurant & Guest Accommodation Tel: 00 353 74 9740405
Check it out on the Web:

You can follow Head Chef Rory Carville on Twitter
You can follow sous chef Daniel Cavan on Twitter


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