Paul Hynes, the Michelin-trained owner of seafood restaurant La Cote on Custom Quay in Wexford and the Cheeky Cod hut on the quay had reason to open the champagne after winning Chef of the Year in the 2022 YesChef Magazine Awards.
hef/patron Paul whose wife Edwina is the restaurant manager, received his glass trophy and a set of knives made by Walled City Blades during a long-awaited celebration of the hospitality industry in Ireland at the Limerick Hotel Strand.
Colleagues and friends from across the island came together to support each other on an emotional night as Ireland’s best were revealed. The sold-out event was hosted by Shane Smith, Managing Director of NI Media, who said, “We’ve been waiting a long time for this night. It’s wonderful to see an industry that has been decimated rebound so quickly.
Paul Hynes said he was “totally blown away” by the national victory. “What an honor to have won this award. It means a lot to me and to the La Cote team. We have great staff, suppliers and customers. When we win awards, it gives us the impetus to keep doing what we do.
While traveling and training in the industry, he had long harbored ambitions to return to his hometown and open a seafood restaurant. respect for it. The days spent fishing on the bridge when I was younger are some of my fondest memories.
In 2014 he and Edwina, also a trained chef, opened their contemporary seafood restaurant overlooking Wexford Harbor and the town’s famous mussel trawlers.
Food is a passion for the couple and outside La Côte it is not uncommon to find Paul angling for a piece of prized sea bass or mackerel, foraging Ferrycarrig for wild garlic or Curracloe from glasswort. They grow edible flowers and herbs in restaurant planters. He and Edwina travel regularly in search of new culinary experiences to inspire each other.
The Coast is no stranger to awards. Previous accolades include being named Seafood Restaurant of the Year 2016 by the Georgina Campbell Ireland Guide and most recently Best Restaurant and Best Chef for County Wexford at the Irish Restaurant Awards 2018, with Edwina also winning Best Restaurant Manager ( Leinster) 2019. The restaurant holds the Michelin Assiette, or Michelin Plate, indicating a restaurant of outstanding cuisine and quality.
During the Covid lockdown last year the couple won a Council tender to open a takeaway on the quayside – they describe the Cheeky Cod as their fish shack and little brother to La Cote. “There’s nothing better than eating freshly cooked fish and chips while watching the world go by from Wexford Quay,” said Paul.
Although times may vary depending on the weather, Cheeky Cod is open Wednesday through Sunday while Sunday lunch has also been added to La Cote which opens at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.