Michellin Star Restaurant Aniar Welcomes New Head Chef

Alex McMahon, Floor Manager and Ultan Cooke, New Head Chef Aniar

Alex McMahon, Floor Manager and Ultan Cooke, New Head Chef Aniar

Cooke by name, cook by nature, the new Head Chef at Aniar Restaurant is Galwegian Ultan Cooke.

The Michelin star Aniar Restaurant on Dominick Street has welcomed a new Head Chef to it’s tight team. Aniar means ‘of the West’  and fittingly Ultan hails from Galway. Ultan studied and started his training here before making a move to London.

Whilst in London Ultan spent 6 years in John Torode’s ‘Smiths Of Smithfields’, initially holding the position of  Sous Chef progressing to the position of Head Chef at The Top Floor, fine dining restaurant. Ultan then moved on to to head up Torode’s three floor food emporium, ‘The Luxe’.

Torode is probably best known here in Ireland as a leading London Restauranteur and as being  one of the judges in Britain’s Master Chef TV program. ‘At The Luxe we had a strong ethos of only sourcing, if not strictly local, then certainly regional products for use in our cooking. We were renowned for cooking with rare breed British beef.’ Ultan said.

Ultan describes his style of cooking as simple and respectful of each season’s bounty, ‘The spirit of Aniar draws on the terroir of the west of Ireland for inspiration’. Ultan plans to continue the pursuit of the wild in relation to the food philosophy of Aniar. Ultan said ‘The feel of Aniar and its grounded philosophy immediately resonated with me. The opportunity to continue to develop and strengthen Aniar as a unique terroir-based restaurant was an opportunity I could not pass up. I look forward to building on the legacy of my predecessor and introducing some exciting new techniques along the way’.

Jp McMahon of Aniar Restaurant said ‘Aniar means “of the West” and here in Aniar we are committed to supporting small producers, suppliers, and foragers based in the west of Ireland. Aniar is part of the greater culinary community of Galway and the West of Ireland and is a benchmark for culinary excellence. The educational aspects of the restaurant, in the form of our cooking classes and day workshops, are a pivotal part of the bones and body of our restaurant.We are excited to welcome Ultan to the Eat Galway family and more specifically the Aniar family. We look forward to working with Ultan in developing the restaurant and continually pushing boundaries while maintaining the casual dining atmosphere’.

Drigin Gaffey, co-owner added, “We have worked hard over the past year to develop a restaurant that is attractive to chefs and waiters of a high caliber. We are absolutely delighted that we were able to bring such a talented chef as Ultan back home to Galway. Galway deserves chefs of this standard. We have a strong and creative team both in the kitchen and front of house in Aniar.  The floor manager, Alex McMahon, is expert at pairing our food with our terroir driven wine list. Our aim is to provide this team with the space and means to continue to showcase the best ingredients of the west in innovative ways. We are looking forward to an exciting future’.

Watch this space!


Aniar is situated in Dominick Street on Galway’s West End. Bookings can be made by phoning 091 535 947. See www.AniarRestaurant.ie for more details.