Birthday celebrations come early for all at Hooked Restaurant

Anthony and chef Joe at Hooked sm (Photo Donal Hackett)

Still a month shy of its first birthday, Hooked was yet again on the winners’ podium at two major national awards ceremonies – the 2019 Georgina Campbell Awards and the Yes Chef Awards. “These are two huge achievements for us in our first twelve months in operation”, said a delighted Anthony Gray, owner of Hooked, “I’m so proud of Head Chef Joe McGlynn and the whole team at Hooked. They have worked so hard to put our restaurant on the map and it’s just wonderful to see the effort paying off”. Hooked was also a finalist at the recent Sligo Business Awards.

2019 Georgina Campbell Awards
Hooked was worthy winner of the “Just Ask” Restaurant of the Year Award sponsored by Bord Bia at The Georgina Campbell Awards which are Ireland’s longest-running independent food and hospitality awards, and highly respected by the industry

Anonymous assessments undertaken by Georgina Campbell and her team of experienced assessors are the foundation of these awards. Georgina remarked, “We’ve spent over three decades combing the country in search of the best food and hospitality experiences and each year’s awards result from a distillation of that combined knowledge, together with the new season’s harvest – once again gleaned independently from every county in Ireland.”

“Just Ask!” is a campaign run by Bord Bia to encourage restaurants to give food provenance on their menus. It supports both large and smaller artisan suppliers. The citation given to Hooked as “Just Ask” Restaurant of the Year reads as follows:

“Named after the meat hooks once used in his father’s traditional butchers shop, Sligo restaurateur Anthony Gray and his wife Ailish have even incorporated the original butchers block in the bar of this atmospheric venue, and some of the old shop’s favourite butchery products live on too, through Head Chef Joe McGlynn’s menus – including Anthony’s Dad Joe Gray’s award winning sausages, which have been faithfully recreated for the restaurant.

There’s a genuine passion for local food. Anthony has championed local producers for many years and is Chairman of the Sligo Food Trail, while Joe McGlynn has trained and worked with several inspiring chefs. So it’s no surprise that the menu pays tribute to the host of special people and businesses that supply the kitchen with flavourful ingredients, including the unique Andarl Farm (free range ‘velvet’ pork and bacon), esteemed butchers Sherlocks of Tubbercurry and Kelly’s of Newport, Ballisodare Free Range Eggs, Sligo LETS Organics, Le Fournil bakery (next door) and even Mammy Johnston’s ice cream, made in Strandhill… Joe’s menus offer something for everyone, but the crowning glory has to be the beef – many would travel especially for Sherlock’s Finest Rib Eye Steak (and a side of White Hag Onion Rings is highly recommended).

A great example of why supporting local producers makes sense, Hooked is deservedly popular with locals and a delightful find for visitors to Sligo Town”.

YesChef awards
Hooked was crowned “Best Newcomer of the Year’ at the YesChef awards which was held in Radisson Blu, Sligo. With 500 guests representing chefs and hospitality professionals from across the island, the evening was a celebration of the craft that is Irish Food. Shane Smith, Managing Director of YesChef Magazine said “The programme has gone from strength to strength and will continue to grow. The concept is simple, to showcase the talent within the culinary world across the island. It’s never been about the few Michelin starred restaurants, it’s always been about the majority of chefs who work the pots and pans, sourcing the finest ingredients and making the best of them, to please their diners.” As ever the highlight of the evening was the menu – devised and delivered by students from colleges across Ireland.

Onward and upward for Anthony, Joe and all at Hooked.

Sligo Hub