Glovers Alley Head Chef Andy McFadden Talks Beginnings, Challenges, Lockdown, Reopening And Changing Trends

By Dave Simpson
Glovers Alley Head Chef Andy McFadden Talks Beginnings, Challenges, Lockdown, Reopening And Changing Trends

We talk beginnings, challenges, lockdown, reopening and changing trends with Andy McFadden, head chef at the excellent Glovers Alley.

This article was originally published in the Autumn 2022 issue of Hospitality Ireland Magazine, in October of 2022.

Andy McFadden grew up in Tallaght, Dublin, in a family of chefs. As a child, he had a strong interest in cooking. At the age of 14, he got his first summer job, as a kitchen porter in Luttrellstown Castle. The following year he went to work for Neven Maguire in Mac Nean Restaurant. His interest and passion for food grew, and over the next years he continued to work in kitchens while also attending secondary school. After his leaving, he enrolled in the Institute of Technology, Tallaght where he did the full time Professional Cookery Diploma. During this time, he worked in The Nuremore Hotel where head chef Raymond McArdle suggested he to move to London, to experience the industry there and enhance his skills.

Andy travelled to London where he spent four years working for Shane Osborn in Pied a Terre. He moved to the Netherlands to work under Sergio Herman at oud Sluis for a year, then returned to London for seven years as head chef in L’Autre Pied and sister restaurant Pied á Terre. There he was awarded a Michelin Star.

In late 2017 he came back to Dublin to oversee the 1.3 million revamp of the former Thornton’s in the Fitzwilliam Hotel, and launched his own restaurant, Glovers Alley by Andy McFadden. Here, he updates Hospitality Ireland on life post-lockdown.


Andy, how has reopening been?

Each time we reopened the restaurant was really tough, just in terms of getting all the staff back and getting everything going again.

What did you do during lockdown, professionally and personally?

In the restaurant we did a little Glovers Alley-at-Home box where we did a weekly changing menu... Starter, Main Course, Dessert. Everything was prepared and packaged and you just had to reheat/assemble with step-by-step instructions and some videos on Instagram to go along with it for some guidance.

What are the major challenges at the moment?

Major challenges are obviously the increase in energy costs, staff shortage, skills shortage...

Could the government be doing more to support the industry?

They can definitely be doing more to the support the industry. Hospitality always feels like a bit of an afterthought with the government, in the sense that things have to get so bad before they might actually consider doing something to help.


Do you think the pandemic has changed what we look for in hospitality?

I don't think so, we just had to get used to it again. Being looked after and having an amazing time.

Tell us about Glovers Alley - the ethos, food, service etc?

Our focus is on youth and energy and giving people a chance and trying to be the best that we can be everyday... What first drew you to food and cooking? Well my mam, dad and uncle were all chefs, so I guess it's in the blood really. I got my first job when I was 14 as a kitchen porter in Luttrellstown Castle where my uncle was the executive chef and I just loved the excitement and buzz of being in the kitchen.

Why the move to London?

I was 20 at the time and had done a week’s stage at Pied a Terre the year before and the chef Shane Osborn called me and asked if I wanted to come to London. I said yes without really thinking too much about.

How did you find the move back from London, to open Glovers Alley?

It was easy to be honest. I wasn't in a relationship or anything at the time and it was just such an exciting opportunity and I was so happy to be coming back home.

What makes a great chef?

Energy, Passion, Focus, Drive. These are the four words of Inspiration at Glover's Alley. The ability to manage a team both front and back of house, to manage and work with all those different people, writing menus, managing the food cost, leading by example and inspiring others.


What are the changing trends in food - people's expectations, new types of flavours etc?

Definitely a lot more vegetarian and even vegan than ever before. People's expectations are obviously extremely very high especially when they come to a restaurant like this, in terms of the price point and also now having a Michelin star, there is a certain level of expectation. The customer expects faultless food and faultless service and we have to deliver that as a team.

Any other plans on the horizon, for the next year or so?

We're just really focusing on our customers here and trying to make everyone feel more comfortable and relaxed than ever.

Read More: Hospitality Ireland Autumn 2022: Read The Latest Issue Online!