Meet our Chefs – Viv Kelly

Meet our Chefs – Viv Kelly

Doolin is famous for many things. Our beautiful location on the Wild Atlantic Way. Traditional Irish music that plays in our pubs 7 nights a week. Our friendly locals and welcoming nature- and of course our delicious locally sourced food. We are very lucky here in Doolin to be home to some of the best chefs in Ireland that have a passion for our food and who serve it in their restaurants every day.

In the first of our series of Meet the Chefs, we meet Viv Kelly, head chef of Russell’s of Doolin at Fiddle+Bow Hotel.


Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into professional cookery?

I didn’t pay attention in school, just kidding. I grew up on a small farm in North Mayo. I was in the middle of a family of seven and we lived beside the sea. We grew our own veg and potatoes, had our own milk and made butter and cream, bread was made daily, and fishing was a regular occurrence.

For me, food and cooking was a huge part of the day to day. I started working in a local restaurant when I was 12 washing dishes. It was a very respected restaurant and people such as Charles Haughey and Jack Charlton were frequent diners. I started a professional cooking course in the now GMIT in 1994. While studying I worked in various establishments in Galway city. I had some work placements in Dingle and Donegal, after that I went travelling and worked along the way. I ended up in Edinburgh, New York and the west coast of Ireland. I was the Head Chef of a well known seafood restaurant at 21 years old. I came to Clare in 2000, and have been here ever since

Tell us about where you work in Doolin and your favourite thing about your job.

I am Head Chef of Russells Doolin. We have a Seafood Bar, Fishshop and a Coffee Shop. My favourite thing has to be producing wholesome food, using fresh local ingredients and getting to do so with some wonderful characters in the kitchen.

Russell's Seafood Bar Doolin
Russell’s Seafood Bar Doolin

What is your favourite dish to make at work and why?

It has to be lobster! We serve fresh lobster caught under the Cliffs of Moher. We cook each lobster to order and it is just so flavoursome it needs very little else with it.

Tell us about your favourite local produce.

This one is a tough one. We are so lucky with where we are based that we have so many wonderful local suppliers. It is very difficult to create a menu from one product, so the fact that we have these amazing suppliers and produces allows us to curate our mouth watering menu.

What is your favourite thing about Doolin?

When I finished college I just wanted to travel and loved moving from county to country, gaining valuable work and life experience meeting all sorts of people. I no longer have such freedom to travel however living and working in Doolin is the closest thing to travelling while being stationary, as people from all over the world come to Doolin. You meet all walks of life who share stories and are passionate about food. Doolin is a place for all, whether you are a blow in like me or just visiting for a few days, everyone is very welcoming

For more information on Russell’s Seafood Bar here and Russell’s Fish Shop here.




Read Next: 9 Travel Tips for Planning an Adventure to Doolin

Be sure to explore the rest of our website to find out more information, or to plan your next visit to beautiful Doolin in County Clare.

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