About Us

The School of Food was officially opened on January 15th, 2015 by Minister for Food and Rural Affairs, Ann Phelan TD and Steven Lamb, Head of Brand, River Cottage UK.

Since opening it’s doors, the School of Food has evolved to become one of the leading culinary colleges in Ireland. We provide professional chef courses, which provide the best chef training in Ireland allowing participants to become chefs, enhance their cooking skills, or even establish their own food business.

We also provide a wide range of cookery courses and baking courses. These are provided to enthusiastic amateur chefs right through to school trips, transition year students and even stag and hen parties.

The School of Food is a not-for-profit centre specializing in the training of modern culinary technique. We incorporate industry training, Irish-centric culinary training, knife skills and important add-ons, such as HACCP, Health & Safety and manual handling certification.

From seed to plate, we aim to educate our students in every aspect of food production and the culinary arts. Our chef tutors are highly skilled professionals who continue to operate within the industry – their passion for food is infectious; their love of teaching palpable.

The School has been developed in the former Boys’ National School in Thomastown, a site associated with education for almost 100 years.

The renovation of the school building and its 2 acres of land is become the focal point for this culinary college. The building has been renovated to include state of the art training kitchens.

Why choose us?

Perhaps the single most important factor when choosing a professional chef training course is the experience and quality of the chef tutors. The School of Food believes that its tutors must be a passionate, active professional chefs, and the very best tutors in Ireland.

Dermot Gannon, Owner and Executive Chef at The Old Covent, Tipperary, boasts 44 cookery awards; on average four every year, since 2007. He is the Lead Tutor on the Modern Skills for Modern Chefs training course. His Tutor Colleague is Janine Kennedy, Executive Chef/Owner of The Siùcra Shack (Thurles, Co. Tipperary).

School of Food Gallery Img01

This chef course is designed to provide a very low 8 to 1 student/tutor ratio; much lower than other courses on offer. This course is hands-on. It is primarily practical but essential theory is also taught. Each student gets the personal attention she wants and deserves to learn the skills and to practice the techniques required to become a great chef.

In keeping with our professional approach, starting in week 7, each student spends 1 day a week in a restaurant or hotel kitchen (work placement). The School regularly places students at Campagne and The Lady Helen Mount Juliet; both One Star Michelin restaurants.

From seed to plate, we aim to educate our students in every aspect of food production and the culinary arts. The School has a one-acre chemical-free vegetable and herb garden, which supplies the students with local seasonal produce for their recipes.

Near the end of this training course, the students become directly involved with the planning and execution of their own Farmer’s Market, which takes place on the School grounds. Each student develops a food product, selects the packaging and individually sells his own product. This project requires team-work and a high level of organisation.

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The graduation event that concludes the Modern Skills for Modern Chefs training course is an 8-course Tasting Menu for 40 guests; which is planned, prepared, plated and served entirely by the students.

The School of Food awards each graduating student with a European Union recognised Certificate.

Tuition fees are €5,200 for the full 11-week duration. As the School of Food is a not-for-profit organisation, we can charge substantially less than comparable courses. We consider this chef training course to be the best value in Ireland.

Thomastown, County Kilkenny is home to a plethora of unique food businesses and people, making it an ideal location for the School of Food. At the School, we participate in and are actively involved with community events. Kilkenny City recently won the Best Food Destination 2018. We think Thomastown is a great place to spend 11 weeks!

Our Exceptional Tutors

The course will be taught by renowned chefs Dermot Gannon, Owner and Executive Chef at The Old Covent Hotel, Clogheen, Tipperary and Janine Kennedy, chef/owner Siúcra Shack, Thurles, Tipperary.

Dermot Gannon

Dermot Gannon

Dermot boasts 44 awards, on average four every year, since 2007.

His awards include The Irish Association best chef in Tipperary, Food and Wine Magazine best Chef in Munster, Georgina Campbell hideaway of the year and is in the top 100 best restaurants in Ireland in The Bridgestone guide.

Please see attached list of specific awards.

The Old Convent Culinary Awards

2007

  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2007
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland 2007
  • Georgina Campbell Guide Best Breakfast 2007

2008

  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2008
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland 2008

2009

  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2009
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland 2009

2010

  • Georgina Campbell Guides Hideaway of the Year 2010
  • Good Food Ireland Top Regional Member 2010
  • Good Food Ireland Top Overall member 2010
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2010
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland 2010

2011

  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Restaurant – The Old Convent
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2011
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland 2011 

2012

  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Hotel Restaurant – The Old Convent
  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Chef – Dermot Gannon – The Old Convent
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2012
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland 2012

2013

  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Hotel Restaurant – The Old Convent
  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Chef – Dermot Gannon – The Old Convent
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2013
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland 2013

2014

  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Restaurant – The Old Convent
  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Chef – Dermot Gannon – The Old Convent
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2014
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland 2014

2015

  • Food and Wine Magazine Chef of the Year Award, Munster, Dermot Gannon 2015
  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Hotel Restaurant – The Chapel Dining Room at The Old Convent
  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Chef – Dermot Gannon – The Chapel Dining Room at The Old Convent
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2015
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland 2015

2016

  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Hotel Restaurant – The Old Convent
  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Chef – Dermot Gannon – The Old Convent
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2016
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland 2016

2017

  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Restaurant – The Old Convent
  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Chef – Dermot Gannon – The Old Convent
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2017
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland 2017

2018

  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Restaurant – The Old Convent
  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Restaurant Manager – Christine Gannon of The Old Convent
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2018
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland 2018

Janine Kennedy

Janine Kennedy

Janine is a Canadian chef and food writer, currently residing in North Tipperary. She is a graduate of Acadia University and the prestigious George Brown College Chef School in Toronto.

Janine has accrued over ten years of industry experience, mostly as an opening chef for Toronto restaurant giants Oliver and Bonacini.
She is a regular contributor to Irish Country Living and Foodservice and Hospitality Magazine and maintains a well-established food blog.

...more about Janine

Janine Kennedy is a professional chef, writer and communications specialist with over 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Originally from Canada, Janine moved to Ireland in 2013. She lives on a dairy farm in Tipperary with her husband and three children.

Education

Bachelor of Arts | 2007 | Acadia University
Culinary Management | 2011 | George Brown College

Professional Experience

Opening Chef Oliver & Bonacini (Toronto, Canada)

Restaurants:

  • Auberge du Pommier
  • Luma
  • Bannock
  • O&B Canteen
  • Malaparte
  • Arcadian Court

Marketing Oliver & Bonacini (Toronto, Canada)

  • Talent Management
  • Speech Writing
  • Communications & PR Management
  • Social Media Coordination
  • Corporate Blogging

Author of the blog Cooking with Craic

  • Canadian and Irish Recipes
  • Life on an Irish Farm
  • A Canadian Perspective on Ireland

Executive Chef/Owner The Siùcra Shack (Thurles, Co. Tipperary)

  • Boutique Offsite Catering
  • Farmer’s Markets
  • Pop-Up Restaurants
  • Traveling Spoon
  • Food Tourism
  • Food and Media Management

Head Chef Lisheen Castle (Moyne, Co. Tipperary)

  • Food Tourism
  • Boutique Catering
  • Multi-Course Fine Dining

Columnist & Features Contributor Irish Country Living
European Editor Vacay Network
Features Writer Foodservice and Hospitality Magazine
Delegate Parabere Forum (Improving Gastronomy with Women’s Vision)