As you may know, in late August I picked up a serving job at a sweet little restaurant/hotel/pub in Ballyvaughan: The Wild Atlantic Lodge. It's my first job in the service industry aside from my beloved high school days serving snowcones from the popular shack near school: Bahama Ice.
It may be due to the fact that it's a new and exciting experience, but I absolutely LOVE my job. I look forward to every shift and leave with more energy than I arrived with. It brings me joy greeting and serving customers, taking orders, sharing the little bits of advice I have for exploring the area, meeting locals, and running to and from the kitchen with plates of hot food.
The people I work with add to my experience in such a positive way. Danny and Pavol are the chefs (they basically run the place). I've promised since September that I would blog about them. Life has been crazy, so I am FINALLY getting around to it.
Pavol has been working at the Wild Atlantic Lodge for 7 years. He's seen it through several name and ownership/management changes. Danny has been working there since March but he has it down.
Originally from Slovakia, Pavol came to Ireland because his cousin was living here. He started out doing sandwiches and desserts. He eventually worked his way into making multiple course meals. He told me that he learned cooking skills in high school and studied Economics in college. He is married and has a 7-year-old daughter, who he loves. Outside of work he likes spending time with family, going on runs, and traveling.
Danny is originally from Ireland. He got his Culinary Arts Degree from the Limerick Institute of Technology. He is a young, goofy guy, with a big heart. We constantly exchange the phrase "You're the best!" Danny has a daughter who will be a year old in just a few weeks. When he isn't at work he likes spending time with her and watching movies. He, like Pavol, values family...in the best way possible!
I didn't get a good picture of Danny's face, so here's his facebook profile (you know a good dad when they label their profile shot on facebook):
I asked Danny and Pavol to tell me about their "specialties." Every chef has them, right?
Danny gave me a detailed list:
Starter: Bruchetta OR Stuffed Pepper
Mains: Herb and black pudding crusted with a fillet of cod, lemon, dill, beurre blanc and rosti potato OR Chicken Roulade with Bacon Philidelphia Cheese, sundried tomatoes, pesto, and grated potato.
Desserts: Apple Pie OR Banoffe Pie (banana's, cream, toffee, apple pie base, lemon custard on top)
Pavol gave me an equally good, but slightly less detailed answer. He prefers making Italy-inspired starters, chicken dishes for mains, and pie for dessert. Sweets hurt his stomach, so they aren't his forte, but he's great at making them when he must!
Though I could brag about their cooking talent for ages, I have to also comment on their charisma. Danny and Pavol are constantly cracking jokes and keeping up good humor and fun. I find myself spending too long in the kitchen at times listening to them and chatting it up.
One busy evening I came rushing into the kitchen to pick up desserts for a table. I grabbed a plate, and Danny stopped me abruptly. I realized he wasn't finished "decorating" the dessert. He said: "Perrin, you can't take it out until it's as pretty as you are."
Each of them told me (on separate occasions) that they are happy to have one another...even though they slag on each other the majority of the time. It's a true loving brotherhood. They've gotten tickets to see Ed Sheeran in May...if that isn't love I don't know what is.
Danny's birthday was yesterday, and he graciously worked alone on his birthday night! Pavol has been away on holiday with his family, so we are excited for him to get back to town. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am beyond grateful for these two lovely lads. My life is better with them in it!