Head Chef Ryan Charry from the Wicklow Hotel
How long have you worked at the Wicklow?
I have worked at the Wicklow Hotel for the last 5 months. I started under Allen Dell as the Sous Chef for about two months and was offered Head Chef when he left. I was previously employed at Archie’s on the Park as an apprentice and qualified under Ben Maling. During my time at Archie’s, I also worked at Caffiends on Marsh as a Commis Chef.
How would you describe the cuisine you serve?
The cuisine at the Wicklow Hotel is a mix of basic pub style food and upmarket bistro, with an emphasis on seafood on Thursday nights that we get delivered in fresh. We are in the process of introducing a brand new dining experience that is in keeping with innovative food design and market trends.
Do you source local produce for your menu creations?
I source local produce when and where I can. The potatoes used in our mash are from Dorrigo, and our meat is brought in locally from Jacksons Quality Meats. Armidale Wholesale Fruit Market supplies the bulk of our fruit and veg requirements.
Your all time favourite dish?
My all time favourite dish? Ahh … that’s a hard one. I have two. First would be a dish that chef Ben Maling designed and served while I was his apprentice at Archie’s, consisting of a confit duck leg served on wild mushroom risotto with jus gras. My other favourite would have to be my dad’s spaghetti bolognaise.
Where did you learn to cook?
I learnt my love of cooking first from my mum. I helped her prepare the dinner as a boy and as I got older, I started to cook for myself. I studied hospitality while at school and realised I have a great passion for food and cooking. My first commercial kitchen experience was at Archie’s as a work experience student, and I was lucky enough to be offered my first job. I had a few mishaps during the early start to my career. Setting the stove alight was the highlight of my disasters. It was one of my many learning experiences – and won’t be the last. You can never be too old or too good to learn.
What do you like most about the Wicklow?
I am enjoying my new challenge here at Wicklow Hotel. I love the layout of the dining room and there is so much space in the kitchen, sometimes I get lost. I am loving the reputation that Wicklow Hotel is built on, and one of my goals is to ensure that all diners receive a consistent and above average dining experience, with the emphasis on good, fresh food.
What does the future hold for you?
My goal is to work as a chef in different parts of Australia to see and experience what this country has to offer in terms of produce and food innovation. After this, I will travel to Italy and Europe, as I love Italian food and lifestyle. My ultimate dream is to one day become a Meilleur Ouvrier de France. This is like a gold medal in the pastry chef of the world competition. I find desserts my favourite dish to design and construct. I get a great sense of fulfilment from the look of a well made and presented dessert, and I find creating a new dessert very entertaining.