Chameleon restaurant wins top awards for front-of-house and chef
By Maurice Garvey
A HUSBAND and wife team, originally from Walkinstown and Tallaght, have hailed the team effort of their Temple Bar restaurant, after winning a pair of accolades at the Irish Curry Awards.
Walkinstown native Kevin O’Toole and his wife Carol Walsh, won awards in the category of ‘Best Chef’ and ‘Best Front of House’ for their restaurant Chameleon, which serves contemporary Indonesian cuisine.
The restaurant has been featured in the Bridgestone Guide’s “Best Restaurants in Ireland” every year since they opened the premises in 1994, and has won previous awards for their ambiance and stylish set up.
“I had a feeling we could win best in house because our service is good, but I didn’t expect to get Best Chef,” said Kevin, head chef and co-owner at Chameleon.
“We don’t do the ‘yes sir, no sir’ style service. Our front-of-house staff are not a team of robots. Waiters are there when you need them, but not hovering over you. They are naturally warm – customers know that they care.”
The couple are raising a family in Kildare, and while Kevin admits the commute may not be the most pleasant aspect of his job, the pair are more than happy travelling to Asia for the last 20 years – to increase their cuisine expertise.
“The type of food has changed in the last 10 years, it is slowly changing. More people are travelling and they are more adventurous with their palette. Our speciality is Asian food, but we don’t take any get-out of-jail cards in the kitchen. We love Irish ingredients, but obviously we use Asian herbs and spices.
“Customers sometimes ask to see the chef, and are surprised to see a local guy. There are these ridiculous perceptions that you have to be Italian to cook Italian food and French to cook French food. You just have to be passionate, learn the basics, the palate and you can do anything.”
“Winning this award means we can now look forward to a busy Christmas – we usually get a lot of bookings for parties and celebrations.”