This is paramount: “It’s all about the hard work and without that strength you will never progress.During the start of my career I was working in a kitchen washing dishes, which I did for a while, but I really enjoyed the comradery of being in the kitchen.“We’ve got a lovely dessert, a raspberry and white chocolate heart which was an absolute best seller.So, it’s all great to harness the ingredients of the season and it’s something I’ve always done but I do it much more now.” Wondering if there are any popular dishes on the menu for a date, or certain ones people avoid, I made sure to ask Igor about the food he cooks for prospective couples (for the good of the country’s dating hopefuls of course!Also, I took the chance to work on the ship just before I came to Ireland in 2001.Since coming to Ireland in 2001, Igor has worked in several kitchens in Dublin, including the Herbert Park and Clayton Cardiff Lane.It’s all about communication, so as soon as we get all details we get the work done.We have a great management team so it is easier because every manager supports each other.” I’ve been a chef since I was 16 and no one teaches you how to manage 20 people.
Obviously working with the restaurants in the gibson and providing the food for First Dates Ireland, Igor finds that he sometimes struggles to achieve a work/life balance.
He cooks for many of Ireland’s romance seekers on RTÉ’s popular TV show, First Dates, which is filmed at the gibson hotel in Dublin, the very place Executive Head Chef Igor Cikarev calls home during the working week.
A Russian native from Riga, Igor got his start in the Latvian capital, a place which has “historically benefitted from the cultural and gastronomic ‘waves’ of Scandinavia.” Following his studies in culinary college, Igor gained his initial experience in Riga’s large city centre hotel, gaining invaluable experience at the beginning of his career: “It was an important phase in my life; it tested me and confirmed my life ambition.
“It’s aromas, cheeses, wines and natural gastronomic art serve as an endless source of cooking inspiration.
Despite this, I have not forgotten traditional Russian and Latvian dishes.” Favouring seasonal ingredients for his guests’ dishes, Igor aims to extract the greatest flavour from each ingredient.