The Running Chef
May 27, 2006
The Running Chef
I opened my restaurant, Dwyers in Mary Street in Waterford, in October of 1989, and it was a few months after it opened, in the Spring of 1990 that my running skills were put to the test.
I had become involved with a local restaurant association and the decision was made to have a meeting at 6.00, on a Monday evening, a time when most restaurants would be either closed or at least extremely quiet.
I left the kitchen in the hands of my very young assistant chef and headed to the meeting which was being held in the foyer of the Granville hotel on Waterford's quayside.
We had hardly begun the meeting when I noticed Hugh Leonard come across the reception to the foyer.
Not only was Hugh Leonard probably Irelands most successful playwright at the time, he had won a Tony a few years previously with his play "Da", but he also wrote a weekly column in the Sunday Independent, our best selling newspaper, which he liberally peppered with remarks about restaurants which he enjoyed.
Thinking "Lucky Granville-they are sure to get a mention next Sunday" I shamelessly eavesdropped to his conversation with the receptionist, it turned to be just as well I did.
"Would you mind " said Mr Leonard "Booking me a table for two in Dwyers Restaurant , Tell them I want to dine straight away as I have to be out to go to a play at 8.00"
"Fine I'll do that Mr Leonard" said the receptionist, and Hugh Leonard headed out to his car to drive the half mile to my restaurant.
He was no sooner out the door than he was followed by an extremely agitated chef/restaurateur who proceeded to run at his very top speed to Dwyers Restaurant.
It is a tribute to my then fitness, to say that I arrived in the back door (to face a pale and petrified assistant!) at just the same time as Mr. Leonard rang the front door bell.
The race was worth it though.
I got an extremely flattering review of the restaurant from Hugh Leonard in the following Sunday's paper and he remained a great fan and loyal customer of Dwyers until his wife died some years later.