A Co Tyrone chef is to take over as the head chef of the five-star Lough Erne Resort in Co Fermanagh.
Stephen Holland from Dungannon will take over from the current boss of the kitchen in the Enniskillen resort, Noel McMeel, who had been there for 15 years.
Stephen started his impressive culinary journey as an ambitious 13-year-old who secured his first paid job as a porter in a local hotel in Dungannon. As he explains it was there, that he got a taste for life as a chef.
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“I have very fond memories of my time there and the learning was second to none,” Stephen said.
“In fact, I still use and practise many of the skills I learnt there today. Whilst studying at college I also worked at the luxurious Castle Leslie Estate under the leadership of Noel McMeel which is where I first met someone who has become a massive figure within the Irish food scene.
Following his studies Stephen spent some time in an events’ company before setting off to travel the world where he cooked in some of the best establishments in USA, Australia, Dubai, and New Zealand.
“These were crucial years for me as I was able to experience diverse cultures and benefit from learning under some of the most creative and talented chefs in the world.
“As I look back, this period really shaped my life and prepared me for my current role as Executive Head Chef in one of Ireland’s top food destinations. To this day I find my travels provide great inspiration for my dishes.”
During his 12-plus years at Lough Erne Resort Stephen has cooked for world leaders including US President, Barack Obama and British Prime Minister, David Cameron – but he counts meeting his wife, Rachael – a colleague at the resort – as amongst his greatest achievements.
Stepping away from working life at the luxury resort, Noel said it was time for a new chapter in his life and that the resort would be in capable hands with his successor.
“I’m not sure what it is yet, but I know the time is right to embark on the next chapter of my life,” Noel said.
“Lough Erne Resort has been my home for nearly 15 years: it’s been an incredibly important part of my life.
“I came here to film the second year of The Great British Menu and fell in love with the place. I just knew in my heart I wanted to work there. There’s something truly magical about it.
“I genuinely believe Stephen is someone who is not only well educated and highly experienced, but highly skilled, well respected in the culinary world, a trusted mentor and an inspirational leader for his team of chefs.”
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