Q&A: With Gaetano Pernagallo, Head Chef at Creacon Wellness Retreat

By Publications Checkout
Q&A: With Gaetano Pernagallo, Head Chef at Creacon Wellness Retreat

Hospitality Ireland caught up with Gaetano Pernagallo, head chef at Creacon Wellness Retreat in New Ross, Co. Wexford, to find out more about its 'Food is Medicine' concept. 


Firstly Gaetana, can you tell me a little about your cheffing background and how you ended up working at Creacon Wellness Retreat?
I started out my career at the age of 14 while I was studying for my chef diploma in Northern Italy. My first commis position was in St. Moritz in the Swiss Alps. For the next 16 years I worked at various hotels and restaurants around the Lake Como, the Italian Alps, the Swiss Alps and Germany. Seventeen years ago I decided to move to my Irish wife’s home town of Co.Wexford and in 2008 I began working here at the Creacon Wellness Retreat.

What attracted you to working at Creacon? How big his your kitchen team?
One of the main reasons I came to work at the Creacon was because I was given the opportunity to create my own dishes and was able to expand my knowledge in ayurvedic and Indian cuisine. It allowed me to form a sort of fusion between my healthy Mediterranean cuisine and Eastern cuisine. At the moment I run the kitchen with the help of our commis chef that I am now training in 'Food is Medicine'.

'Food is Medicine' is an interesting concept. Can you explain a bit more about it and how you approach cooking?
Food is Medicine is basically a gourmet meal that incorporates the healing properties and seasonal appropriateness of food and herbs, in a mouth-watering, hearty meal. I use traditional Mediterranean recipes using our fresh herbs infused with eastern spices and recipes.


Healthy eating has become huge in recent years here in Ireland. Do you have any predictions whether this will continue and what direction it will likely go?
I believe healthier meal choices will become more and more popular as new generations are more informed and understand what foods their bodies can tolerate.

As we enter summer, what dishes are proving popular with guests eating at the retreat?
At Creacon we are fortunate to have a small organic vegetable and herb garden, which proves very popular with our guests, so fresh, crisp salads with homemade seeded brown bread are our number one right now, along with our fresh mussel and Irish seaweed bisque.

How important are 'seasonal' ingredients to your menus?
Seasonal ingredients form the basis of all my menus, and using fresh local produce when possible.