A career as a chef can bring you to some very exotic places indeed in David Doherty’s case to the tropical Cayman Islands in the Caribbean.
Brought up in the slightly less exotic surroundings of Limerick City suburbs, David always had a strong creative streak. Combining this with the love for good food which his mother had fostered, the natural step was to a career as a chef. After college he worked in kitchens along the west coast – in Killarney, Baltimore in West Cork and Galway. A damp, chilly winter’s day inspired him to begin applying for positions around the globe. When offered a job in the Hyatt in the Cayman Islands, he needed no second invitation to accept!
In its heyday, the lavish Hyatt Resort was famous for its exotic gardens and attracted Hollywood cameras for the shooting of the movie “The Firm.” Working in the flagship restaurant, Hemmingway’s as part of a 75 strong team of chefs in the five star hotel was wonderful experience for the young chef.
After three wonderful years, he returned to Limerick where he met Cliodhna, then a journalist in the Limerick Leader but within a year or two, the young couple were back in the Caribbean. Cliodhna began working with the Cayman Compass and David returned to his old haunt. They settled into island life, adopting a stray dog which they appropriately named Coconut and enjoying a lifestyle with sunshine, crystal seas for snorkelling and swimming.
That was all to shatter on a September day in 2004 when Hurricane Ivan hit the island with devastating effect. Denied access to the hotel storm shelter because of their dog, David and Cliodhna rushed to the Cayman Compass for cover. That building flooded and all occupants had to make for the roof – via the outside stairs. They all survived but the Hyatt wasn’t so lucky. It was severely damaged and never reopened.
David then began working in an Irish bar called Bar Fidel Murphys (Fidel as in Castro). For three years he built up a tremendous local trade for the bar. Cliodhna and he ‘tied the knot’ with 30 wedding guests travelling over from Ireland. After the birth of their first child, the yearn to move home led to the big move back, complete with six month old daughter and two rescue dogs.
Back in Sligo, Cliodhna’s home county, David began working as Executive Sous Chef in Lough Eske Castle. Nearly three years ago he moved to Hargadon Bros. where he loves both the challenging work and the lifestyle balance which it offers. They now have two young daughters, Saoirse (8) and Ailbhe (5) and a busy lifestyle full of football, surfing and swimming.
Food presentation is very important to David and he won’t compromise on top quality ingredients. Hargadon Bros grow much of their fresh produce organically in polytunnels, orchards and vegetable patches. David has introduced their own Lissadell smoked salmon and duck and has plenty of plans for more exciting developments. No wonder they are in two Michelin guides this year!