Award-winning restaurant owner, David Foley, talks to Limerick Voice about the importance of sourcing ingredients locally and looking after the needs of a health conscious nation.
The Wild Geese restaurant is run by David and his wife, Julie, from the Rose Cottage in the heart of Adare, county Limerick.
Something very important to Foley is that all the food served in the restaurant is “100 percent Irish”.
Foley explains that he could get cheaper products from mainland Europe, but for them, it’s quality and taste before everything else and so he has ingredients coming from Cork, Monaghan and even Adare’s own local butcher Costello’s, six days a week.
“What we want to do is serve the best quality we can for the price we charge, and that really does come through when people taste the difference.”
He believes that all restaurants and businesses could potentially follow suit.
“I think it’s very important for the chef to be able to talk to the supplier and discuss what they’re doing and how they do it and then for us to relate that to the customer. Whereas if you’re using mass produced products there’s no control or dialogue. The farm to fork ideal is just the way it should be done.”
Over the last few years, the Irish public has become more and more health conscious. With programmes like Operation Transformation becoming increasingly common, people are thinking more about what they eat, and about what is in their food.
Many people are undergoing lifestyle changes, which the food industry has had to adapt to. Foley explains that throughout the years The Wild Geese has had many customers making queries “of a more heath conscious variety”.
“We would have cut down on fats, we use more dressings than cream sauces, portion control.”
These are just some ways that they have adapted to this welcome change. The restaurant owner recalls when people used to abandon their healthy eating habits when out for a meal.
Nowadays “people do mind what they eat when they go out”.
Over their 18 years of ownership, the couple’s restaurant has won numerous awards; including being on Georgina Campbell’s Jameson Guide, John and Sally McKenna’s Guide, and this year featuring on the internationally recognised Michelin Guide.
Although they’re very proud of these awards, Foley explains that they aren’t something that they strive towards.
What they look for is achieving a “consistency of standard”, which they maintain by overseeing and being an integral part of the running of The Wild Geese.
“If we’re open, we’re here – six days a week. The nature of our business is people expect Julie to open the door and they expect me to be here cooking.”
The homely décor of Foley’s restaurant, The Wild Geese, offers a nice and comfortable evening with great food.
“What we want to do is create an atmosphere where people can come in and just forget about their daily drudge, and just enjoy a nice relaxed fine-dining experience.”