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Back to Basics with Kevin Dundon

Monday, 1 February 2010

Kevin Dundon Proprietor of Dunbrody House

Kevin Dundon is the Chef/Proprietor of Dunbrody Country House Hotel & Restaurant, located in Ireland's sunny South East. Dunbrody was established in 1997 by Kevin and his wife Catherine and has very quickly become a must-see for all foodies. It is now considered to be one of Ireland's Premier Hotels & Restaurant. Kevin's runs a cookery school at the hotel as well which already recognised as one of the most respected in the country.

Dunbrody is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of The World and Ireland's Blue Book. The hotel has won numerous awards including Restaurant of the Year 2004, 2005 & 2006, Chef of the Year in the Food and Wine awards 2004, 2005 & 2006, Andrew Harper's Grand Award 2001 for the best Hideaways in the World, Irish Bacon Dish of the Year 2000, Country House of the Year 2001 (Georgina Campbell's Hotel Guide) , Country House of the Year 2001 (National News Paper) Evening Herard RAC Gold Ribbon Award & Three Dining Awards and Red Chateau for the Michelin Guide, to name just a few.

Kevin started his career in Dublin, Ireland in a restaurant called The Old Schoolhouse and continued his studies at Dublin College of Catering where he graduated in 1986. He received a scholarship to work in Switzerland and worked in Zurich in a well known restaurant called La Mère Catherine.

From there, Kevin took a position on Wind Star Sails cruise ship on its maiden voyage from Le Havre, France to the Caribbean. His next position was as Sous-Chef in Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Canada where he represented Canada in culinary competitions in the US, Luxembourg and the culinary Olympics. Kevin also completed his Master's Degree in Canada and received honours in Chef de Cuisine in 1992.

Kevin has cooked for many well-known celebrities during his career including the Her Majesty, the Queen, President Bush and Bono. In 1994, Kevin was head-hunted back to Ireland as the Executive Head Chef of the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, widely recognised as one of the most prestigious Chef appointments in Ireland.

Over the past few years Kevin has steadily built his media profile and has appeared on numerous TV channels including ESPN Cable, CBC (Live) Canada, RTE (Live) Ireland and No Frontiers Travel Show. In autumn 2002 Kevin featured as Expert Chef on Ask Anna Series by Stopwatch TV for RTE. He is also a regular on Irish radio.

More recently he appeared on the NBC Today show live on St. Patrick's Day while in New York, representing the Face of Irish Food. During summer 2002 Kevin and Dunbrody Cookery School were the main feature for Hip Productions travel series 'Hip World', broadcast in April 2003 on the US Travel Channel. In addition to this Kevin has made a series of appearances at UKTV Food's Great Food Live, BBC 1's Saturday Kitchen and The Today Programme.

In 2003 Kevin was contracted by MGM Grand in Las Vegas to be the Signature Chef in their Irish pub/restaurant, The Nine Fine Irishmen, which has since been the recipient of numerous excellent reviews and awards. In 2004, Kevin filmed no less than 12 VTs for BBC Good Food Live. 2005 was a very successful year for Kevin whose media profile soared with his role as resident chef of RTE's hugely popular The Afternoon Show every week
In addition to this, Kevin has also regularly appeared regularly on TV in Nevada, US to promote the restaurant. He has also made appearances on Sara's Secret Food Network and Dinner and a Movie.TSB This year , Kevin has filmed a one hour documentary for an NBC prime time show.

Though Kevin's media profile continues to flourish, he still remains passionate about his role as a Chef and is Chef/Patron of an Irish Gastro Pub in Disneyland, Orlando called Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant. A second gastro-pub is opening in Disney, California in 2007.

His first book, Full on Irish, was published by Epicure Press in 2005. Kevin's writing extends to journalism as well and he has written for BBC Good Food Magazine and Delicious among others.
Kevin and Catherine have three Children; Emily, Sophie and Tom. Most recently Kevin was seen on the hit culinary series-Guerrilla gourmet with a host of other famous Irish Chefs.
Kevin has a regular column with the Irish Independent Newspapers where he imparts all of his culinary tips.

Vanilla Cream Shortbread Biscuits

These biscuits can be stored for 3-4 days in an air tight container.
They are equally as nice without the lemon icing.


. 4oz/110g sugar
. 4oz/110g butter
. 1 egg yolk
. ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
. 8oz/225g plain flour


Cook at 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5 for 6-8 minutes

1. Cream butter and sugar together with the vanilla extract
2. Add in the egg yolk and the plain flour
3. Allow to rest. I normally leave this refrigerated overnight.
4. The mixture can be successfully frozen at this time also.
5. Tear off a piece of dough and roll into a small ball.
6. Place it on a lined baking tray and flatten lightly with a fork.
7. I think it is best to re refrigerate the biscuits at this time.
When cool ,you can sandwich them together with a tangy vanilla icing.

Vanilla Icing


. 2oz/50g softened butter
. 4oz/110g icing sugar
. ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Cream the icing sugar, vanilla and butter together in a large mixing bowl.
2. Sandwich the biscuits together with the icing
3. Dust with icing sugar or half dip the biscuits in melted chocolate.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are a firm favourite in our house and when we make them they always go down a treat. The beauty of this recipe is you can vary the recipe as much as you like and sometimes I like to add is some mixed spice and dried fruit for a varied alternative. An ideal lunchbox filler.


. 6oz/175g softened butter
. 6oz/175g light brown sugar
. ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
. 3 eggs
. 12oz/350g plain flour
. Pinch salt
. 1 rounded teaspoon baking powder
. 4oz/110g mixed chocolate chips
. 4oz/110g mixed nuts (pistachio, walnuts, shelled hazelnuts, pine nuts etc)


Bake for 12-15 minutes in a preheated oven (180C/350F/Gas Mark 4)

1. Cream the butter and sugar with the vanilla extract for 4-5 minutes in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
2. Add in the eggs and beat for a few minutes.
3. Sieve the flour with the baking powder and the salt.
4. In a separate bowl add the mixed nuts and the chocolate chips.
5. Add the sifted flour mixture to the butter and egg mixture and beat slowly until the mixture comes together.
6. Add in the chocolate chips and mixed nuts and beat until combined.
7. Break some of the dough into small balls and place on a lined baking tray
8. Allow to cool down and serve.

This mixture freezes quite successfully:
To freeze, roll it into long thick coils and then you can cut the mixture easier.

Kevin Dundon