Noel McMeel, Executive Head Chef, Lough Erne Resort
Noel is a true ambassador for local produce, and has dedicated his entire career to one very simple goal: finding, preparing and serving fresh food in season. For Noel, what we eat has to delight the taste buds, ensnare the senses and nourish body and soul. Since he was a young boy, Noel has been passionate about food which lead him to study Home Economics at school. Since his first attempt at cooking an Orange Cake at his family farm, Noel has travelled all over the world with his profession. Noel McMeel grew up at ‘The Rock’ in Moneyglass near Toomebridge. The youngest of six children, Noel’s father (now retired) was a dairy farmer and stonemason.
After training at Ballymena Technical College, the Northern Ireland Hotel and Catering College (NIHCC) and Belfast Institute Noel landed his first job as an apprentice chef at the Villager, Crossgar. This was followed by a short period with Paul and Jeanne Rankin at Roscoff in Belfast. In 1988, Noel won a scholarship to the United States in Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island and Boston University. This opened doors for Noel to work with some of the most respected chefs in the world, Scholarship from the International Association of Culinary Professionals which allowed him to work alongside theworld famous chef, Jean-Louis Palladin, at the Watergate Hotel, Washington. After returning to Northern Ireland Noel took up position of Head Chef at the Beech Hill Country House Hotel, Londonderry for six years (where he set up and implemented Investors in People and a National Training Awards). Noel went on to Open Trompets Restaurant, Magherafelt, Co. Derry, which featured in the Michelin AA Guide, Harpers & Queen Restaurant Guide and the John McKenna’s Bridgestone Irish Food Guide. From there Noel took up position of Executive Head Chef at Castle Leslie, Co. Monaghan, with responsibility for Castle and Hunting Lodge cuisine, Castle Leslie food products, Castle Leslie Cookery School.
Throughout his career, Noel has had regular television appearances including the second series of the Great British Menu in spring 2007 and the BBC Two series, Food Poker, in autumn 2007. He also represented Northern Ireland in the 2008 series of the Great British Menu. Closer to home, Noel is a contributor to RTE’s Afternoon Show. The top chef regularly contributes recipes and editorials to leading magazines and publications, including Bon Appétit, America’s Food and Entertainment Guide, as well as Food & Wine and Northern Woman.
Now firmly established at Lough Erne Resort, Noel has introduced his own particular brand of modern Irish cooking to a new and discerning audience. Noel McMeel arrived at Lough Erne Resort with a simple philosophy: sourcing, preparing and serving fresh food in season. In Northern Ireland and Fermanagh, we are fortunate to have some of the finest ingredients at our fingertips. We are privileged to be in a position to work with a diverse array of superb raw material. Noel’s passion for food and his vibrant personality shine through in all he achieves, from finding the best local suppliers to inspiring his team of carefully selected chefs.
The Resort offers a variety of innovative dining experiences, all of which have quality and authenticity at their heart. The Loughside Bar & Grill for example, offers guests a casual all day dining. Opened in July 2009, its operation is driven by a desire to create a genuine experience of Irish hospitality at its best.
The menu comprises an eclectic mix of time-honoured golfers fayre with an Irish twist, such as the "Loughside Steak & Guinness Pie with Traditional Champ." The highlight of The Loughside Bar & Grill menu is undoubtedly the choice of "grills" featuring Fermanagh Kettyle Beef.
Lough Erne Resort’s stunning new contemporary Halfway House opened April 2010. Situated behind the ninth green of The Faldo Course, the structure is an inspired departure from the traditional log cabin style of refreshment facility; instead Lough Erne designers have produced a dining experience offering light bites suited to both the Golfer and indeed those guests enjoying The Collop Walk.