WHEN Northern Ireland’s only Australian restaurant moved from its intimate setting as a bistro to becoming a spacious casual dining bar and grill, all eyes were on what would happen next.
It’s the restaurant which put Armagh city on the culinary map for its Australian themed menu created by Sydney ex-pat Dean Coppard.
It’s the restaurant which, for 10 years, brought kangaroo and crocodile to our plates creating a unique Uluru Bistro dining experience for everyone in Northern Ireland.
But after two years of planning its major transition as part of a £2million investment to create Uluru Bar & Grill and two years of mentoring sous chefs on how to cook local produce with an authentic Australian twist, the popular city centre restaurant is about to enter its next phase.
Executive Chef Dean Coppard, a dad, husband, mentor and keen surfer, is swapping the food pass for a new challenge on the north coast and is handing over the baton to the Head Chef Mark McGonigle, a chef who has been working under the Uluru brand for 12 years.
Confirming the move, Dean said: “The team of chefs, which I affectionately call the #ulurucrew, have been brought through such a process in the past 18 months. My job has been to see the guys through this major transition, mentor them, teach them cooking techniques which I have been using for years, help them develop new cooking techniques and lead Head Chef Mark and his team through the process of running and managing a busy kitchen.
“In the past 12 months, Mark has totally excelled himself through his cooking styles, calmness in the kitchen and dedication to creating great tasting dishes which our customers love. Under Mark’s guidance too, the team have shown they can totally nail cooking in an Australian style and they are also totally competent in leading Uluru Bar and Grill forward on its journey. The variety of dishes Mark and the team are coming up with is phenomenal. They are creative perfectionists who, quite simply, want to cook great food which our customers love.
“Mark and the team have more than proved their worth and it’s their turn to bring their ambitions into a reality and I have been honoured to be their mentor.
“At this point I am not in a position to officially confirm what I will be doing on the North Coast but I am looking forward to the next stage of my career and of course I’ll be able to squeeze in a bit of surfing.”
The restaurant, which has 10 chefs and 20 front of house staff, is growing in popularity week on week.
Owner Gavin Emerson said: “Together we have all been on such an immense journey over the last 18 months. Dean’s experience, professionalism and dedication has been instrumental in mentoring Mark and his team. We all wish Dean good luck with his new venture and we look forward to our Head Chef leading the team in continuing to put great tasting food in front of our customers.
Notes To Editor:
- Uluru Bar & Grill is an award winning restaurant based in Armagh city’s historic marketplace area. Awarded for its casual dining, the Australian neighbourhood style restaurant celebrates authentic cooking with an Australian twist.
- For further information or interview requests for Dean Coppard and Gavin Emerson contact Eleanor McGillie of MGMPR Ltd on 028 3756 9569 | 07709805379 | www.mgmpr.co.uk | Food and Drink PR Northern Ireland |