Covid-19: Cork restaurants defend takeaway service after criticism from celebrity chef 

Covid-19: Cork restaurants defend takeaway service after criticism from celebrity chef 
Kevin Aherne Sage Restaurant, Midleton, Cor. Cork. Picture: Clare Keogh

CORK restaurateurs have defended the operation of takeaway services during the Covid-19 pandemic following criticism from a TV chef.

Celebrity chef Gary O’Hanlon said it was “utter greed” to be operating takeaway and that all restaurants should be closed for the greater good. 

The Donegal native, who is currently Executive Chef at the Chateau du Coudreceau in Loury, France, took to social media at the weekend to berate the “glossing up of restaurants turning into takeaways”. 

Celebrity chef Gary O'Hanlon
Celebrity chef Gary O'Hanlon

“Shut it all down for the greater good,” he said.

His calls come as a number of Cork restaurants and cafés continue to operate takeaway services or have introduced this into their business after closing their premises to the public.

Restaurateur and chef Kevin Aherne, of Sage in Midleton, says that while the establishment has begun operating a take home service, every precaution is being adhered to.

“We have established a no-contact service. We’re serving a very limited amount of customers and have a no queuing system,” Mr Aherne said. 

Operations at Sage have significantly scaled back, with a staff of 30 reduced to just three. 

Customers seeking to avail of a take home service must phone ahead and collect at a certain time. 

Their order is then put in a drop off box for collection outside the Sage premises at a designated time slot.

Mr Aherne said that while he recognised the health and safety concerns, he believes restaurants operating a takeaway service are not doing so out of greed. 

“The vast majority of restaurants aren’t doing this out of greed, they’re doing it out of necessity. 

"We have had people get in touch saying we shouldn’t be offering a take home service, but when I respond and explain the extreme precautionary measures we’re taking they are largely accepting of it,” he said. 

“I know you can’t 100% eliminate the risk altogether, but that’s life,” he added.

Similarly, Miyazaki on Barrack Street has decided to reopen since closing over a week ago. 

Takashi Miyazaki.Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Takashi Miyazaki.Picture: Jim Coughlan.

The Japanese takeaway will only have three people working as part of the new set up; two in the kitchen and one floor staff. 

“I decided to reopen due to a high demand from customers but we will be taking every precaution. 

"It will be a no-contact structure to ensure staff and customers remain safe. Customers pre-order by phone only and then collection times will be staggered to maintain social distancing. 

"No customers will be allowed inside the premises; we will pass the orders out the door. We will also only be taking card payment,” owner Takashi Miyazaki told The Echo.

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