Take a peek inside Conrad Dublin with this 1-on-1 interview by All and About Qatar writer Lucas Raven with Executive Chef Gary Rogers.
Lucas Raven: What inspires you every day?
Chef Gary: Waking up every day knowing that I am coming into a job that I absolutely love and knowing that every day will be another challenge for me is what inspires me. Coming into work and being surrounded by my amazing team, who is always ready to start a new day of work together is what motivates me and encourages me.
What made you decide to join team Conrad?
Chef Gary: It has always been my dream to work for the luxury division of Hilton; Being an Executive Chef is something that was always one of my goals and being one in such a prestigious property such as the Conrad Dublin, has definitely made me proud of myself.
Lucas Raven: What’s your favourite part of the hotel?
Chef Gary: The Kitchen, of course! It is where all the magic happens.
Lucas Raven: Where did you begin your culinary journey?
Chef Gary: I have over 20 years of experience in the culinary industry having most recently been Executive Chef at the Lyrath Estate, Kilkenny. My interest in cooking began at an early age, taking my cue from my grandmother, an amazing home baker in her country kitchen where I spent my formative years by her side at her beloved Stanley Stove. I still hanker for her soda bread to this day. My dad also was a great inspiration to me; he was a former Chef in the Irish Army and Owner of a Catering Business. I trained and worked in various Irish hotels and restaurants before heading to Australia where I worked as Executive Chef at the 5* Skycity in Darwin.
Lucas Raven: If your menu was a story book, what kind of story would it be telling?
Chef Gary: It would be an Irish folklore story book, the kind of tale that would be sharing the story of the people of Ireland, through the use of our fresh, local Irish produce. Local suppliers are so important to us at Conrad Dublin; it means giving your guests the best quality of food as well as an authentic Irish experience.
Lucas Raven: Describe Conrad Dublin in three words:
Chef Gary: Luxurious, inspired and challenging.
Lucas Raven: How big is your team in the kitchen?
Chef Gary: There are 30 staff in total. Our team is incredibly diverse with people from all over the world. This is what makes the team special. Every single person brings in something different every single day.
Lucas Raven: Describe your most memorable moment at the property:
Chef Gary: My most memorable moment working at Conrad Dublin definitely has to be a recent event we held, welcoming General Managers from all our sister luxury properties in EMEA. It was a challenging and memorable week-long meeting where my Team and I had the opportunity to showcase the best that Ireland has to offer, providing creative food & beverage breaks throughout the conference. I was very proud to bring on most of my local suppliers to this event, so they could present their produce, talk about their story and what is important to them. The way everybody connected and interacted was so incredible and it is something we want to replicate for every single event we hold at the hotel – whether it is a 5 people meeting, to a 350-delegates conference.
Lucas Raven: Do you integrate local flavours and ingredients to your menu?
Chef Gary: Yes, always! Wherever it is possible to do so we always use local produce from local suppliers. We believe that it gives us an incredible sense of authenticity and wholesomeness.
Lucas Raven: Your advice to the aspiring chefs out there.
Chef Gary: My ultimate advice to the aspiring chefs out there would be to always be passionate! They have to make sure that they are prepared to work hard and long hours, but know that as long as it is their dream and passion, they will do all of that without thinking twice. Gaining as much experience as possible in different hotels, restaurants and countries is extremely important in order to get as much exposure as possible. Make sure to always challenge yourself.
A Dublin native, Gary brings over 20 years of culinary experience, having most recently been Executive Chef at 5* Lyrath Estate, Kilkenny.
His interest in cooking began at an early age, taking his cue from his grandmother, an amazing home baker in her country kitchen where he spent his formative years by her side at her beloved Stanley Stove. He still hankers for her soda bread, to this day. Gary’s Dad (a former Chef in the Irish Army & Owner of a Catering Business) also inspired Gary to follow his passion to become a chef.
Gary trained and worked in various Irish hotels and restaurants before heading to Australia where he worked as Executive Chef at the 5* Skycity in Darwin. With over 150 luxury rooms plus VIP Super Villas with Gaming Suites, Gary was in charge of all the food operations including five restaurants with an Australian Good Food and Travel Guide “Hatted” fine dining restaurant, seven bars, a casino, spa, large event and banquet facilities.
In 2016 Gary was keen to get back home to Ireland with his young family and took the position of Executive Chef at 5* Lyrath Estate Hotel, where he implemented created new menus and achieving awards along the way including 2 AA Rosettes for Yew restaurant and launched The Grill restaurant using his own concepts and open kitchen plan design.
Gary brings a depth of knowledge, flavour and flair to the kitchens at Conrad Dublin. His cooking style is classic French in origin with Asian nuisances, letting the quality of the ingredients shine through. Guests can look forward to some simple but expertly executed dishes using techniques mastered over 20 years and some newly acquired skills from his stint in Australia.
When the positions arose at Conrad Dublin for a new Executive Chef, Gary saw this as a great opportunity to return to his home turf and also to work with the much- admired global brand.
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