As Orwell Road celebrates its first year in Terenure, Head Chef Daniel Hannigan talks to us about the secrets behind the success of the popular neighbourhood restaurant, the inspiration behind the dishes he creates, and some of the chefs and creatives that are inspiring him right now.
Daniel, you’ve been at the helm in the kitchen at Orwell Road since it first opened last Spring. Tell us a bit about your background and what drew you to work in the world of food.
I have always been into food from an early age and have always aspired to become a chef. I was lucky enough to get a job in L’Ecrivain when I was 18 and learned an incredible amount. I have since been privileged to work in restaurants like Thornton’s, Richmond and now my favourite – Orwell Road.
The menu at Orwell Road has been garnering rave reviews from critics, chefs and influencers alike from the very outset. Talk to us about the philosophy and inspiration behind the dishes you create.
It sounds quite simple but the only rule here is to make the food delicious. I take huge inspiration from the suppliers we use and try to make the ingredients sing and drag as much flavour as possible out of them.
Orwell Road has already hit some very impressive milestones, including being listed as one of the new Irish entries in the prestigious Michelin Guide for 2022. What do you think helped make the first year there so successful?
It’s a huge honour and a major moment for us to be added to the Guide after just three months of opening. Honestly my team is the reason for all of our success so far.
Since day one, they have come in and bought into what we were trying to do, and worked incredibly hard with big smiles on their faces, which is incredibly motivating and inspiring for me. That, along with the support from the owner Marc, giving us the freedom to create our dishes, has made Orwell Road so popular and successful so far.
Irish food is at an all-time high in terms of quality right now. There are so many that inspire me and I learn from when I eat in their places. Conor and Eric are definitely two of them, but as well as them, Aisling Moore in Goldie in Cork is unbelievable. Danny Africano in Lignum is brilliant and I’ve always been a fan of Grainne O’Keefe in Mae. It’s very cool to see these chefs who are of similar age, owning and running their own restaurants and they are definitely people I would look up to and aspire to be like.
In addition to your work with Marc and Conor Bereen, you’re also the founder of Food for Thought, a series of pop-up dining events in aid of suicide prevention charities in Ireland. What kinds of events are you cooking up this year?
We are talking at the moment about plans for the year. I’d say you could see an announcement at some stage soon about a big event, but we’re very early on with that, so for now I would say… just watch this space!
With such an epic first year behind you, what can we look forward to seeing from yourself and the team in 2023?
I see 2023 as being a very good year, where we will keep pushing and refining our offering with more delicious food and excellent service. We have a new opening coming very soon, which I’m very excited about, and I will be helping out with that.
If we finish the year with smiles on our faces it will be another success, which I feel it will be!