Our Team

Our Chefs

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)

Eadaoin Walsh

Éadaoin Walsh

Éadaoin Walsh is a passionate, professionally trained pastry chef and has been involved in the School of Food since its inception.

Having completed a BA in Culinary Arts in Waterford Institute of Technology specialising in Pastry and Desserts, Éadaoin then went on to attain a distinction in a Train the Trainer Certificate Course, and a Post Graduate Certificate in Innovation, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at UCD.

Éadaoin previously ran her own business called Éadaoin’s Kitchen, which was based in Thomastown and supplied many of the local shops and supermarkets with a variety of delicious baked treats.

Éadaoin is now a tutor at the School of Food, and teaches her students in a very caring and encouraging way.

Support Staff

Jane Pearson

Jane Pearson (Coordinator)

Jane joined the School of Food in September 2015 as Coordinator bringing with her a wealth of experience from the Arts Industry.

Following her MA degree in Music and English from NUI Maynooth she worked with various language schools in Paris, worked as an Education Assistant with the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland and dipped her toes into the film industry as a Location Assistant.

She is a qualified cellist and teaches music from her studio in Thomastown part time. Jane enjoys her role with the School of Food and encourages visitors to pop by and say hello!

Our Board

Edwina St. Lawrence

Edwina St. Lawrence

Edwina spent much of her childhood in the warmth of the kitchens of Howth Castle under the feet of her Mother and Grandmother’s cooks. When one of these formidable cooks retired, Edwina then aged 15 began to cook in earnest and so started a lifelong love for food and cooking.

Her technical skills and food knowledge were gained at the Cordon Bleu School and after graduating she began her 25 year career in the restaurant business.

...more about Edwina

In the early eighties she worked for Justin de Blank, an influential figure at that time in London’s burgeoning food scene. A head cook at the age of 22, Edwina learnt her culinary skills alongside Nigel Slater, now a successful food writer, and developed her cooking style of producing simple, delicious food, made from quality ingredients.

Later in her career she joined Digby Trout Restaurants where she held both Senior Management and Development Chef Roles, and built successful catering businesses in many of London’s most prestigious landmarks including the British Museum, the National Gallery and Kensington Palace.

Edwina thoroughly enjoys sharing both the charm of the Castle’s kitchens and the joys of cooking great food with the Kitchen in the Castle’s clients and particularly loves teaching younger people and beginners about food.

John O'Connor

John O’Connor

John holds a postgraduate Diploma in Special Education from Queen’s University Belfast, along with an M.A. Theology from DCU, Dublin. He also has a Certificate in Mental Health Studies from Maynooth University and a postgraduate Diploma in Speech and Language Impairment and Communication from Sheffield University, Sheffield.

John also holds a Certificate in Leadership from MVD Brink consultancy, Zeist, Holland.

...more about John

John has also been a Director of Camphill Communities of Ireland for the past 14 years. Camphill Communities are providers of life-sharing communities for people with disabilities. John has been the co-ordinator (manager) of Camphill Community Jerpoint, with responsibility for supporting residents/day attendees to achieve their full potential and lead meaningful lives.

Part of John’s remit is ensuring that the community provides the best standard of care and support and complies with all current and future legislation, policies and best practice. He is challenged to manage the community within regulatory guidelines and financial constraints, while maintaining the Camphill ethos.

John has been involved with the School of Food project since its inception in April 2013. As a member of the local community of Thomastown and manager of Camphill Communities, John wants to develop pathways towards meaningful community participation, thus supporting job creation and training opportunities for people who are marginalised, school leavers who are not seeking degree courses and innovative food producers/processors.

John believes that the community garden, the farmers’ market and the range of training opportunities at the food hub will aim to explore inclusion opportunities for these and other people with disabilities.

Bob Jull

Bob Jull (Chairperson)

Bob Jull graduated in 1964 from the Royal Military College of Canada with a Bachelor of Engineering degree. After completing 3 years of service in the Canadian Armed Forces, he joined IBM and began a 30 year career in information technology.

In 1976, he progressed from the large corporate environment to a small Canadian IT consultancy. In 1982, as a partner, he later started their US subsidiary company in Boston and hired the first employees.

...more about Bob

In 1985, he founded a Canadian software company specializing in electronic mail, which he sold to Microsoft in 1997.

In a further career progression, in late 1997 Bob moved to Dublin with the thought of funding small IT start up companies. He has since invested in a number of companies, some unrelated to IT.

In 2005, Bob moved from Dublin to Thomastown, where he now resides most of the year.