Chefs & Provenance

Chefs with passion, food bursting with flavour

At Avoca, we are dedicated to fresh, quality ingredients and Irish provenance. When Avoca started producing food, there were only a few shops championing artisan producers. Today, though, we are spoiled. We get fantastic organic salad leaves of enormous variety all summer long, and great organic vegetables all year round. Organic Irish pak choi - who’d have thought? From the guy who brings a dozen lobsters to the door of the Fern House Cafe kitchen at 6pm for Friday night specials, the happy hen eggs from up the road or the local dairy farmer who is now a world-class cheesemaker, to the abundance of new potatoes and fresh summer berries, we’ve come a long way. But we'd prefer if our product didn’t.

Creating good food requires good ingredients grown in season and prepared with respect and with care. Our guiding principle is to prepare food freshly and from the finest ingredients.. Our scones are made with pure Irish butter, our salads with the best leaves we can get, our soups with the freshest vegetables. Creating great meals that linger longer in the memory requires a little alchemy and a lot of inspiration. One thing is sure - the simple pleasure of carefully sourced and crafted food shared with your favourite people is one of life’s joys, and should be treasured.

Executive head chef of the Avoca cafés, Leylie Hayes’ passion for food and fresh ingredients began when she attended Ballymaloe Cookery School. After a spell working in London, Leylie then returned to Ireland and joined the team at Avoca.

'After all, an apron is just a cape on backwards'.

She has been with the company since the early days of soup and soda bread, and along with Simon's passion, has been hugely influential in driving us in the direction we have gone thanks to her enthusiasm and commitment. How does she decide what goes on our menus? Well, that’s up to our customers. With no preconceived ideas about about dishes, what’s important to Leylie is that our food tastes good, and people want to eat it. This is what allows us to have Asian crab cakes sitting alongside traditional fish pie, she says. Leylie, like the rest of our talented, dedicated team of chefs, is a bit of a hero to us here. After all, an apron is just a cape on backwards.