Robin Gill | Litfest A Food and Drinks Literacy Festival at Ballymaloe
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Having commenced his career at Dublin’s La Stampa Restaurant, Robin moved to London to work at Marco Pierre Whites’ legendary three Michelin star, The Oak Room. He then went on to work at Ristorante Don Alfonso a two star Michelin restaurant and farm on the Amalfi Coast, afterwhich he returned to the UK to work at the eponymous Le Manior aux Quat'Saisons where he stayed for several years and worked along side Raymond Blanc on many projects.
 
In February 2012 Robin embarked on a journey to get out and find new suppliers and visit some of the world’s best restaurants and partook in short stints in some of Europe's top kitchens such as Noma in Copenhagen and Franzten and Lindenberg in Stockholm.
 
After several months travelling the British Isles and Europe and blowing his life savings, he stumbled across an old dilapidated building in Clapham Old Town, London. After some dubious negotiations and a few beers and the support of his wife Sarah, Robin took on the site without a penny to his name in November 2012. Five months later Robin and Sarah with the help of close friends scrubbed, sanded, painted, and through blood sweat, tears and every penny into the place and five months later opened the Doors on St Patricks Day 2013 and The Dairy was born.
 
The Dairy is an exciting modern bistro with a produce led menu aiming to create a countryside farm to table feel. There is a back to basics approach where the team prepare most of the food in house, churning the butter, curing of meats, smoking fish and growing many herbs and vegetable in the rooftop garden and currently housing four bee hives creating a perfect permaculture not to mention some damn fine honey.
 
Within the first year, The Dairy received numerous awards including reaching the top 100 restaurant in the UK and voted number 24 in the national restaurant awards and was ranked 7th in the most sustainable restaurants in the UK.
 
Robin and Sarah have launched a second site, The Manor, a modern Bistro, which opened in November 2014 and is already a hit with the critics. The Manor follows The Dairy in creating an environment that is unpretentious and accessible for all - putting the focus on cooking great food and working with passionate wine producers that share the same philosophy.
 
In July 2015, Robin opened Paradise Garage on Paradise Row, his first foray into East London. Head chef on site is Simon Woodrow, previously of Arbutus, who had created a menu with a back to basics, simple and British approach, with produce at the forefront. This echoes the existing ethos at The Dairy and The Manor. As a further unique and exciting dining experience, Simon and Robin created a feasting ‘picnic’ to share for the table, centred around one animal – the first being a celebration of the rabbit - which includes roasted saddle, confit leg, turnover, belly scratchings and rabbit ’bacon’.
 
The most recent of the restaurants opened by Robin Gill is Counter Culture, in 2016. Located right next door to The Dairy, the aim was to capture the hustle and bustle of a San Sebastian pintxos bar paired with his own inimitable cooking style. The room is centred around the kitchen with only 15 seats - of which 6 are at the pass. The concise and frequently changing menu is based around our obsessive approach to produce and food culture, with an emphasis on fermenting, ageing, curing and pickling throughout the seasons.
Years at Litfest: 2017
Type: regular

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About Litfest

Litfest - A Food and Drinks Literacy Festival at Ballymaloe is a weekend filled with fascinating facts, inspirational stories, intriguing discussions, incredible knowledge, fantastic music, fabulous dancing and of course, delicious food and drinks.
 
It is the only festival of its kind in Ireland and has created an important hub for food and drinks enthusiasts worldwide to meet and share ideas with each other.

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