5 minutes with… Fallon & Byrne chef Joe Rumberger

Home to a wine cellar, a food hall, and an elegant first floor brasserie, Dublin’s Fallon & Byrne is a must-visit for foodies. Head chef Joe Rumberger and his team use seasonal ingredients in modern Irish dishes like hake with lemon caper relish, free-range Irish coq au vin, and crispy rabbit croquette. We caught up with Joe to find out what inspired him to start cooking and where he likes to dine out in Dublin.

What inspired you to start cooking?

I was inspired to cook early on. My neighbours growing up owned pizzerias, my dad had a window and door manufacturing company. So after school and during the summer it was either build windows or toss pizzas… What kid says no to free pizza? I was in love with the buzz of the kitchen from my first day in that place at 14. I have been cooking ever since.

Do you have a signature dish? Or a dish you just really love to cook?

I wouldn’t say I have a signature dish. I love to watch food evolve throughout the seasons, and through my travels. It’s always changing and here at Fallon & Byrne we are always adapting to what’s fresh and what’s available. That’s the beautiful thing about being a cook. I’m really looking forward to wild garlic and nettles now that Spring is here! Look out for smoked trout with nettle kimchi on the restaurant menu.

Do you have any tips for aspiring chefs?

To aspiring chefs I say this: know what you are signing up for first of all. This isn’t an easy gig but it is a very rewarding one. Respect yourself. And respect the products, people, animals & plants that are vital to what we do. Food is an incredibly complex and beautiful process. Don’t approach nature with a blind ego – you won’t win.

Take the time to learn and understand why things in the kitchen happen the way they do, and genuinely learn from the mistakes you are going to make. The best chefs I’ve learned from are the ones who can take their failures and build on them. Keep your eyes and ears open. Ask questions, and taste taste taste!

Which three ingredients do you always have in your kitchen?

Confit garlic, XO sherry vinegar, piment d’Espelette. You can make nearly anything delicious with those three.

When you’re not in the kitchen, where do you like to eat in Dublin?

I really enjoy both Delahunt and Etto. The charcuterie at Forest & Marcy is out of this world. My favourite pizza spot has to be Caffe Amore on South Great George’s Street – just around the corner from Fallon & Byrne which is handy! I’m in Arisu Korean BBQ on Capel Street at least twice a month. The spicy beef is insanely delicious, the kimchi pancake is to die for and the soju is cheap. I love that place! Last but not least, when the weather allows I like to grab some wine, baguette & cheese from the Fallon & Byrne food hall then hit St. Patrick’s Park for an impromptu picnic.

And when you have time to travel, where’s your ultimate foodie destination?

New Orleans and most of the American South; the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy; and Vietnam. All places I am really drawn to food-wise. They couldn’t be more different but in my opinion the most soulful flavours in the world come out of these three places.

Visit OpenTable to book a table at Fallon & Byrne.