“It’s the right thing to do,” says chef Neven Maguire of the restaurant’s two-week closure over the festive period

Celebrity chef Neven Maguire said he didn’t think they would lose too much sales if they closed his restaurant Cavan for two weeks over Christmas and the New Year.

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the chef said he had decided to close his McNean House and Restaurant for two weeks at Christmas so staff can enjoy the festive season with their family.

He has also closed the restaurant on Sundays despite two-year bookings and reduced the number of sessions so his staff have a better work-life balance.

“We’ve made some important decisions, we started closing on Sundays in early September,” Neven told Independent.ie at the Ideal Home Show on Dublin’s RDS.

“And that worked really well, you have to invest in your people and make sure they’re happy.”

The celebrity chef said he had no problem retaining staff and was glad 50 staff who worked for him before the pandemic returned when he reopened the restaurant.

“We used to do 90 to 100 sessions [a night] Now we have 60 guests so we made some good decisions, we think it’s the right thing to do.

“It’s more relaxed and the working hours are better, so I think our employees have a very good work-life balance.

“Covid has changed everything and for me it’s about doing the right thing for them and our customers are very happy.

“They are very understanding because we have had to postpone bookings for Sunday lunch for two years.

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“So a lot of work has gone into it and people are very understanding and very supportive.”

Asked if he will lose a lot of sales if he closes for two weeks during the busy Christmas period, he said: “[We are closing] from December 18th to January 16th, which is not too bad.

“We think it’s the right thing to do and we’ve been calling our customers because they’ve been coming to us for 15 years, we’ve been open for 33 years and we always open on New Year’s Eve so this will be the first year we’ve been closed for that apart from Millennium.

“We talked long and hard with our senior team. My executive chef has been with me for 22 years and when you have such a good team, listen to them.

“What can we do to make everyone’s life a little bit better?”

The Cavan man said he’s delighted his 10-year-old son Connor has shown a keen interest in cooking and wants to be a chef when he’s older.

“Connor loves hearty cooking, he’s awesome, he loves chopping and messing around in the kitchen so it’s nice to see that.”

His daughter Lucia, Connor’s twin brother, loves to bake as Neven said she has “a sweet tooth like mine”.

The chef said teaching kids to cook is “the best investment” parents can make.

“I think every young person should do housekeeping and it would be nice to see young people cooking and not just enjoying the food but eating together as a family like they do in Italy and France, their food is such a big part her life.

“It’s not just about fuel, it’s about the whole occasion.”

https://www.independent.ie/style/celebrity/celebrity-news/its-the-right-thing-to-do-says-chef-neven-maguire-on-closing-restaurant-for-two-weeks-over-festive-season-42086127.html “It’s the right thing to do,” says chef Neven Maguire of the restaurant’s two-week closure over the festive period

Fry Electronics Team

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