“I feel privileged to have had the great fortune to enter and win, but it doesn’t stop there; you have the backing of the Roux family and fellow scholars for life. ”
Eugene Callaghan won the Roux Scholarship in 1991 aged 21 and did his stage at Jacques Lameloise at Lameloise in France. He is now Executive Chef, Kelly’s Resort Hotel & Spa, County Wexford, Ireland.
Eugene is a graduate of The Waterford Institute of Technology and started his career in 1983.
He worked at Roscoff’s in Belfast with Paul Rankin, where he was when he won The Roux Scholarship. Eugene was the first Irish chef to take the title and it was the first time he entered the competition. Following his time there, Eugene ran his own restaurant for three years before joining Kelly's Hotel in 1997.
Since 1997, Eugene has been Chef of La Marine Restaurant. He joined Kelly’s Resort Hotel in 1996 as Head Chef for the opening of La Marine, the resort’s bistro. He now oversees the hotel’s main Beaches Restaurant and its bistro La Marine, as well as afternoon teas and special occasions. The 118 -room hotel is very popular and enjoys a high occupancy rate, and so Eugene and his brigade are often serving hundreds of diners during service.
Where did you do your stage?
I did my stage at Lameloise in Chagny , Burgundy.
What did you cook in the final?
Roast Duck with red wine Sauce and aubergine gateau as garnish.
How many times did you enter?
It was my first time entering. I remember feeling totally out of my depth as there were many finalists coming from Michelin-starred kitchens. Anyway, I resolved to give it my best effort irrespective of the competition I faced.
What do you remember most about the competition the year you won?
The setting at Inn on the Park [where the final was held] was nothing like anything I had seen before. Then the judges, I remember been taken aback by meeting Chef Victor Ceserani: he had written our practical and theory work books.
What advice would you give applicants?
It doesn’t hurt to dream. I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard my name been called out.
What is it like to be a Roux Scholar?
I feel privileged to have had the great fortune to enter and win, but it doesn’t stop there; you have the backing of the Roux family and fellow scholars for life.
Who are your culinary heroes?
I have huge respect for Paul Rankin who, as it happens, had worked in Gavroche for three years prior to opening Roscoff, where I was working when I entered.
Tell us about your current role?
Since joining the hotel back in 1997, we have grown to encompass a stand-alone delicatessen and café. Our latest major addition was our kitchen gardens two years ago.