John Kelly is a man on a mission. Having retained a Michelin star this year at the Lady Helen at Mount Juliet Estate in Kilkenny – first awarded in 2014 when his predecessor, Cormac Rowe, was executive chef – Kelly is batting for a second star.

Over the years, I’ve dined many times in the Lady Helen – from way back when it was good, country-house cooking, and when culinary ambitions began to rise. I remember being invited to a dinner that was cooked by the late, great French chef Albert Roux, and which included the Queen Mother’s favorite soufflé. Roux gave us a night to remember and, on my latest visit, so did John Kelly.

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