James Street South owner and award-winning chef Niall McKenna is set to open a new cookery school in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter later this year.
McKenna has confirmed that his James Street South Group has purchased the Grade B-listed Waterman House building at 5-23 Hill Street to accommodate the new venture, with support from Bank of Ireland UK.
The dedicated new cookery school, which will accommodate groups of up to 18 at any one time, forms part of a new and extensive regeneration development within the area currently spearheaded by Commercial Court Inns Limited, which owns the adjacent Harp Bar, and the nearby Duke of York and Dark Horse pubs.
McKenna and his wife, Joanne, already operate a restaurant called Hadskis in the Cathedral Quarter.
The James Street South Group is a key investor in the development of talent and skills in the Belfast’s hospitality sector and currently manages two apprenticeship programmes, training chefs and front-of-house staff in association with Belfast Met. Since 2014, 34 recruits aged between 16 and 24 have signed up.
McKenna commented, “Belfast’s tourism growth has been remarkable, but the sector continues to face a significant challenge from constraints in the availability, recruitment and retention of skilled and experienced staff and it needs to be addressed. For tourism growth to continue as it has, this requires more focus and we look forward to continuing to play our part in providing solutions.”
© 2018 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.