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My Moto

Cooking and working in the kitchen has been Chef Tony’s passion and dream since he was a young boy growing up in a small mill town in the north west of England.

Following in his older brothers footsteps and going in to the hotel and restaurant industry was something Chef Tony wanted to do from the age of 10 or 11 and so everything he did at school was with the intention of following that dream and at 16 years old before starting his college course in Hotel and catering he spent 6 long and fabulous weeks working at the 5 star Metropole Hotel on London’s Edgeware Road under Chef Jan were he had a baptism of fire in what the job he wanted to do was all about. All this did be ignite the passion in him for a life in the kitchens.

Upon returning home he enrolled at Blackburn Technical College where he did a 2-year course in kitchen and restaurant management, as well as a chefs course and bakery and cake decoration for which he sat and passed the City & Guilds of London Institute exams.

During his time at college, he worked at various local restaurants and pubs as well as did catering at larger functions in and around the North West of England.

Consultant Chef – Tony Mckay

In 1986 after passing his exams he decided that before heading to the bright lights of London he would get some local experience first. This he did by joining the brigade of The Dunkenhalgh Hotel, a centuries-old manor house converted into a 3-star hotel. Chef Tony started at the bottom and peeled many a potato in that first few months, what he also did was learned the ways of the kitchen, because it was a small brigade it was all hands on deck and some days it was prepping the veg station but some days grill and some day’s sauté. The hotel also had a very big wedding trade with at least 3 every weekend and they ranged in size from 30 to 300 and indifference from high end plated meals to full buffets. The hotel had also converted the stables into a pub and Italian restaurant making fresh pizzas and kinds of pasta.

After a year London called and Chef Tony made his way south first joining the brigade of the Berkley Hotel which is the sister property to the world famous London Savoy, before being lured away a short time later to join award-winning and Michelin starred French chef Bernard Gaume at the Hyatt Carlton Tower hotel in Knightsbridge.

Confederation Cup 2009

 

Chef Tony spent almost 10 years with Chef Gaume working every section of the classical French kitchen as both commis and chef de partie before being promoted to sous chef at only 27 (considered very young for the London hotel scene at the time).

As sous chef Tony was responsible for the day to day running of the Michelin starred Chelsea Room as well as overseeing the prep kitchens for the hotels other restaurants a 120 seat coffee shop called the Chinoiserie and the 120 seat Grill restaurant The Rib Room which still to this day serves the best roast ribs of beef in London.

In 1998 Chef Tony met his future wife who was living and working in London on a 2 year visa from South Africa when her visa was almost up he realised he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her so packed up his chefs whites and knives and moved to South Africa arriving on these shores in April 1999.

Consultant Chef – Tony Mckay

He started out at the iconic Mount Grace Hotel in Magaliesburg working as the sous chef. Chef Tony was responsible for the day to running of the kitchens serving mainly buffets to the conference clients as well as corporate functions and lavish weddings as well as Mount Grace’s famous Sunday lunch carvery that was always fully booked weeks in advance. During his time the hotel decided to upgrade their restaurant offering and created a whole new fine dining restaurant called the Stoop which Chef Tony along

with the head chef at the time created the menu.

After only about a year a regular guest at the hotel approached Chef Tony about leaving the hotel and joining him in a new restaurant he wanted to open, Chef Tony took this opportunity and moved to Krugersdorp to open My Table, Chef Tony was involved in the whole set up of the restaurant from sourcing crockery, cutlery, glassware and linen to interviewing and staffing both back and front of house, creating the menu, sourcing the ingredients, training the chefs and launching the new restaurant.

One day Chef Tony’s now wife was coming to Centurion for a job interview and he tagged along, upon meeting the hotel general manager and telling him what he did the manager asked if was looking for work there as they had just lost their current exec chef, Chef Tony got a good feeling about the place and the man and so said yes which started his 16 years with Irene Hospitality.

 

Jakaranda Day 2011

Although Chef Tony was initially taken on as executive chef at Irene Country Lodge he realised that he needed to be more than just that, the kitchen needed refurbishing which Chef Tony was very heavily involved with as well as a complete overhaul of all the menus both food and beverage which Chef Tony did along with full training and implementation.

 

With the kitchen and Meadow Green restaurant up and running Chef Tony turned his attention to opening a second restaurant at Irene Country Lodge and he helped design and oversee the building of the Lakeside restaurant a lighter bistro style alfresco dining experience.

One of Chef Tony’s most pleasurable times at Irene Country Lodge was the mentoring of trainees, several passed through his kitchen who went on to be leaders in the industry and still to this day years later they still contact him for his guidance and advise.