Chef Jonnie as he is known to his friends and colleagues, was born in Dublin in 1971 and educated at The High School. He has always approached challenges from a very different angle, some saying that he thinks “out of the box”.
Jonnie trained at the Dublin College of Catering graduating at the age of nineteen. He learnt his trade in a variety of restaurants encompassing French, Italian, Moroccan, Russian & Finnish cuisines before moving to the Ayumi Ya Japanese Restaurant where he found his mentor in Akiko Hoashi, Chef/Patron of the restaurant who through her passion and teaching “lit a culinary fire” in Jonnie that still burns today. When she retired Jonnie proudly took over the reins as Chef de Cuisine of the most renowned Japanese restaurant in Ireland. Having cooked there one evening for Raymond Blanc he was offered a “stage” at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons which was rapidly accepted. Jonnie remains one of Raymond Blanc’s most ardent fans.
Jonnie moved to the Old Schoolhouse Restaurant as Sous Chef under Executive Chef Paul Lewis, extending his skills in French and game cuisine. In 1997 he took up the position of Sous Chef in that famous Dublin institution, The Shelbourne Hotel, under Chris Early, Executive Chef, who has continued to advise Jonnie on his career throughout its development.
In 1999 Chris arranged for Jonnie to be transferred to Le Meridien Penina as Sous Chef under Executive Chef, Jean Michel Pericou. Jean Michel guided Jonnie through Portuguese, modern French & Brazilian cuisines and was later to be best man at Jonnie’s wedding to his Portuguese wife, Inês.
Following Jean Michel’s relocation to open his own restaurant in Narbonne in 2001, Jonnie took up a new challenge as Senior Sous Chef joining the MV Norwegian Sun on its maiden voyage creating distinctive high culinary standards in all of her 7 fine dining eateries while cruising the Caribbean.
In 2002 he was appointed Executive Chef in The Safir Deira Hotel, a 5* boutique hotel in Dubai, opening the hotel and leading the kitchen brigade for nearly 2 years, learning Arab culture & cuisine along the way.
In September 2003 Jonnie returned to Ireland as Executive Chef in the Marriott Druids Glen working under BJ Schreuder. While at Druids Glen Jonnie won the award for Irish Hotel Restaurant of the Year, was invited to join Eurotoques, cooked at the prestigious James Beard Foundation in New York and also won an award for culinary excellence for Marriott International. He made numerous appearances as a TV chef and received many favourable mentions in the press as one of Ireland’s up and coming chefs.
In 2006 Jonnie moved back to Portugal to the Marriott Praia Dél Rey in Obidos as Executive Chef where he stayed for 12 months, before returning to the Algarve and successfully opening the Vilamoura Hilton, the first Hilton 5 star hotel in Portugal, again as Executive Chef where he stayed until recently.
August 2009 Jonnie had a chance meeting with Simon Zwart who wanted to sell the “Bistro des Z’Artes” in Almancil. Jonnie had been looking for an opportunity to break out on his own and a deal was quickly struck. Bistro des Z’Artes is an ideal medium for its Chef/Patron to demonstrate his extensive talents and to provide the quality of both food and service to which he aspires.
There are no limits to his “creativity”. Using only the freshest of locally sourced ingredients, prepared with great care and attention, Jonnie’s culinary imagination will provide superb food served in a welcoming atmosphere, where guests can be entertained and constantly surprised!