Showing posts with label Fota Island Resort. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fota Island Resort. Show all posts

Friday, March 25, 2022

Fota Island Resort ‘s Head Chef Maris Urbanovics is named Ireland’s Chef of the Year at the Hotel and Catering Review Gold Medal Awards.

press release 

Fota Island Resort ‘s Head Chef Maris Urbanovics is named Ireland’s Chef of the Year at the Hotel and Catering Review Gold Medal Awards.


Fota Island Resort have been awarded two top industry awards at the prestigious Hotel & Catering Review Gold Medal Awards which took place at Lyrath Estate Hotel, Co. Kilkenny on Tuesday 22nd March, hosted by Ireland’s favourite radio presenter Marty Whelan.


Claiming the prestigious accolade of Ireland's Chef of the Year for The Cove Restaurant's Head Chef Maris Urbanovics while also being awarded bronze in Ireland’s 5 Star Hotel Spa Experience category.


Carmel Guihen, General Manager at Fota Island Resort shared “We are delighted to have been awarded Ireland’s Chef of The Year, a fantastic achievement for our Head Chef Maris Urbanovics, who along with the culinary team at the resort have worked so hard to bring innovative ideas and wonderful dining experiences to our guests. Maris’ passion and talents are wonderful to have at Fota Island Resort and we look forward to seeing what he plans to bring to The Cove over the next year and beyond.’ Carmel continued, ‘ I’d like to congratulate our wonderful spa team who were awarded bronze on the night in Ireland’s 5 Star Hotel Spa Experience category, a brilliant achievement for all of the team.’

The Cove Restaurant is the Resort’s speciality restaurant with a seasonal set menu options and six-course tasting menu that creates a flavoursome and gracious dining experience. The imaginative menus draw on Head Chef Maris Urbanovic's love of nature and foraging, celebrating Cork’s abundance of artisan producers including Shanagarry Smoke House, Ballintubber Farm, Gubbeen Smokehouse and Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms.  The Cove is an intimate setting complete with its own wine cellar where the restaurant's experienced sommeliers have curated a pairing option that includes, beer, cider and wines, all designed to complement the flavours of the food.

Head Chef of The Cove, Maris Urbanovics from Latvia has been with Fota Island Resort since 2018, his passion for cooking started at a young age, growing up by the sea and spending his childhood foraging with his parents, learning about sustainability within cooking. Over his career Maris has worked across many diverse restaurants and hotels, falling in love with Ireland and making Cork his home 15 years ago, a county with an abundance of fantastic local produce, where he has built strong relationships with artisan producers incorporating as much local produce into his menus at Fota Island Resort as possible.

Celebrating a remarkable 32 years, the Hotel & Catering Review Gold Medal Awards are the leading independent awards for the Irish hospitality industry and aim to recognise and celebrate the outstanding achievements of the hotel and catering sector throughout the country over the past twelve months.

For more information on The Cove Restaurant and to experience the award-winning property first hand, find out more by visiting

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Spoil the ladies in your life this Christmas with Afternoon Tea in aid of cancer research

  Fashion stylist Grace Keane, broadcaster Deirdre O’Shaughnessy and beauty expert, Mary-Jane O’Regan, pictured at the launch of the Breakthrough Cancer Research Women’s Little Christmas Afternoon Tea glamour event which will take place on in Fota Island Resort on 5th January  2020. Tickets for this charity event can be purchased through

Spoil the ladies in your life this Christmas with Afternoon Tea in aid of cancer research

Treat yourself and the ladies in your life to the perfect gift this Christmas, an afternoon of fashion, glamour and pampering at the Women’s Little Christmas Afternoon Tea in aid of Breakthrough Cancer Research. The event will take place on Sunday, 5th January 2020 in the luxurious surroundings of the Fota Island Resort.

Joining us this year as our glamourous MC is Deirdre O’Shaughnessy, Journalist and Broadcaster. Now in its 9th year, Breakthrough’s Women’s Little Christmas Afternoon Tea & Fashion Showcase promises to be bigger and better than ever, commencing with a refreshing Pink Gin reception on arrival (sponsored by Pernod Ricard), a craft exhibitor showcase, and pampering treatments from the Spa at Fota Island Resort.

Sumptuous Afternoon Tea will follow, during which guests will be entertained with a ‘how to’ makeup demo from Glamity Jane, renowned beauty expert from HiStyle, and wowed by a head-turning fashion segment hosted by Grace Keane of Silk Peaches and Serenity boutiques in Ballincollig. Throughout, guests will enjoy music from the Loungeman and attendees will also be in with a chance of winning the event’s best dressed lady competition, goody bags and more!

Orla Dolan, Director of Fundraising with Breakthrough Cancer Research said, “Nollaig na mBan or Women’s Little Christmas is a fabulous excuse to catch up with the ladies in your life after a hectic Christmas, and Breakthrough’s Women’s Little Christmas Afternoon Tea is a perfect excuse to have some well-deserved ‘Me’ time, for a great cause. All proceeds from the event go towards developing new treatments for poor prognosis cancers and those which currently respond poorly to conventional therapies.”

Breakthrough Cancer Research is leading the way with research into cancers with poor prognosis such as ovarian, pancreatic, lung and oesophageal. From its research centre in Cork, Breatkthrough has already progressed seven treatments from the laboratory to clinical trial. The organisation works closely with multiple hospitals to ensure its research is responding to the needs of patients with cancers that do not respond to conventional therapies.

Tickets for this very special event are priced at €50 and usually sell out fast, so book now to avoid disappointment. To purchase your ticket, call Breakthrough Cancer Research on 021 4226655, or go to our website for a link to Eventbrite.


Press Release November 26th, 2019 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

In Praise of East Cork. Food. People. Place. Worth a Visit!

In Praise of East Cork.
Food. People. Place. Worth a Visit!
Peaceful evening in Youghal

Friendly people, great food, attractions on land and sea, both natural and man-made, make East Cork a gem of a place to visit. From the fantastic 13th century St Mary’s Collegiate Church in Youghal to high class Fota House Gardens and Arboretum, with Barryscourt Castle in between, all three free to enter, there is a treasure chest of places to visit in the area.
The Cafe at Stephen Pearce Pottery

Let me take you on a trip to see part of it. We’ll also enjoy some delicious meals as East Cork is a foodie’s paradise with top notch venues including Sage and Kevin Ahern’s 12 Mile Menu,  Barnabrow (ideal for weddings and a leisurely Sunday lunch), Midleton’s pioneering Farmers Market and the food mecca of Ballymaloe.

Coming from the city on the main Cork-Waterford road, take the Cobh exit ramp and head for breakfast or lunch, right to Bramley Lodge, or left to The Bakestone Cafe at Ballyseedy.  Now, set up for the day, go over the nearby bridge to Fota Island and its many attractions.

If you have kids, go the Wildlife Park; if not, walk through the renowned Fota Arboretum and maybe add a tour of the Georgian House. If you like it around here, you may also try the high class  Fota Island Hotel and Golf Resort.
Bramley Lodge

Moving on, go over the Belvelly Bridge and you’ll soon come to Frank Hederman’s famous smokehouse. You are now on Great Island where the cathedral town of Cobh is situated. Much to do here including the Sirius Art Gallery, walking tours (including the Titanic Trail and Spike Island), harbourside bars and restaurants and of course the Cobh Heritage Centre which tells of forced deportations and also the tales of the ill fated liners, The Titanic and the Lusitania.
Fota House and gardens

Cruise liners call here regularly during the season, with a carnival atmosphere in the town on the days they are in port. And here boats take you across to newly renovated Spike and also on harbour tours. Maybe you’d just like to walk around the town; I did so recently, taking in the Holy Ground, the Titanic Garden and the Sonia O’Sullivan statue, and you may check it out here. Perhaps you'd prefer just to sit on the decking at The Titanic Bar & Grill and watch the boats go by.


Time now to head out of the islands and head east to Midleton and a tour of the Jameson Experience. If you give the right answers here, you’ll end up with a certificate of proficiency in whiskey! No shortage of cafes and restaurants here, including the family friendly Granary now celebrating twenty years in business.
Cobh traffic jam!

There will be detours, of course. One that I like is off the Whitegate road, out of Midleton. Look out for the signs for East Ferry and enjoy a walk by the estuary and maybe reward yourself with a well cooked meal at Murph’s, a restaurant with a lovely view.
Next stop is Ballymaloe, the home of modern Irish food. You could spend a day here. Maybe an overnight stay to sample the world renowned cooking. Call to the cafe for a mid afternoon or mid morning  coffee. Be sure to take a look at the impressive Cookery School gardens, not forgetting the Shell House. And don’t forget Golden Bean coffee roaster Marc Kingston is also based here.

The Cafe at the Stephen Pearse pottery in Shanagarry also serves Golden Bean and is now gaining quite a reputation. And, of course, there is the pottery itself!

Sculpture exhibition on lawn at Ballymaloe House

In the nearby seaside village of Ballycotton, take a stroll down to the pier and see the fishermen come and go, maybe take a boat trip to the lighthouse on the nearby island. If you feel you need to stretch the legs, then there is a spectacular walk  along the cliff tops. After all that exercise, treat yourself to a gorgeous meal at Pier 26.
Cobh's Titanic Bar & Grill. Al Fresco

If you need to overnight, then the Garryvoe Hotel and its top notch Samphire Restaurant, with great views over the bay, is close at hand.
Ballycotton cliff walk

Youghal is the final town, on the Blackwater and just shy of the border with Waterford. On the way, you could stretch the legs in Killeagh’s Glenbower Woods one of many attractive walks in the East Cork area. In Youghal, take a boat trip on the Blackwater.

After all the activity, you deserve to rest up for the night. Enjoy a meal in the Old Imperial Hotel on Youghal's main street, maybe just a drink in its old Coachhouse bar, maybe both! Aherne’s, of course, is famous for its seafood and they too have rooms.
Samphire at Garryvoe Hotel

And do try and get your hands on the local craft beers, including Ireland's first organic Red Ale, made by the dedicated team in the town’s Munster Brewery; they also do tours.

And before leaving the area, don’t forget to visit Ballynatray House, a Blackwater gem.

Enjoy East Cork, the food, the place and its people!

Ballynatray House, by the Blackwater


Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Watch Fota Island Resort's Executive Pastry Chef, Rachid Zaouia, prepare delicious White Bread Bagutini and Herbe de Province Bread Rolls

Thursday, April 14, 2011



Following a tip-off, I called to the Fota Island Hotel  last Friday to sample their Afternoon Tea. Now, I’m passing on that tip. If you want to treat yourself and your loved one, maybe a pal or a visiting relative, then make a beeline for the Fota Resort and call to the Amber Lounge.

Saturday, March 26, 2011



Danielle Gibbons recently introduced me to a few online cookery demos that their  pastry chef Rachid Zaouia has just released.

"The series, called ‘Simply Pastry Wowed’, features Rachid preparing and cooking simple but classic desserts such as Thyme Pannacotta & White Chocolate Parfait with Red Wine Figs using easy to-find-ingredients.  So far we have recorded 5 dessert demos and 1 cocktail demo, which we plan to gradually release over the coming weeks. Feel free to have a look at our new Video Recipe Section and of course feel free to browse our dining section."

"If you have any thoughts or comments on the new series, I would love to hear them."

Rachid discovered his culinary identity at a young age, while spending many enjoyable summers working in his Uncle's bakery in France. This love and passion for baking lured Rachid into completing a baking and pastry apprenticeship at the young age of 17.

Rachid left France for England where he worked for respected chef Raymond Blanc then onto Ireland where he polished his skills and practiced his art for three years in the K Club, Kildare before journeying to Australia to work for a year. Returning to England, Rachid worked in the Sheffield Thyme and then joined the team in the Host Arms in Norfolk. While at the Host Arms Rachid had the opportunity to really unleash his creativity and carve his own interesting niche.

Today Rachid continues to challenge his creative flair and embrace innovation as the Executive Pastry Chef at Fota Island Resort. Rachid's food philosophy is deeply rooted in local and seasonal produce, which is strongly reflected both in the ingredients used in the Simply Pastry Wowed series and in the food served at Fota Island Resort. Rachid plans to share his knowledge and passion for pastry by putting pen to paper for his first book, which he is currently putting the finishing touches to.