Noel McMeel

Master Chef, Northern Ireland
BBC Food Channel

A great many chefs today talk the talk about taking food ‘back to its roots’, ‘understanding the raw ingredients and sourcing them locally’ and then cooking appropriately. Where Noel McMeel stands apart from the crowd is quite simply in the fact that he doesn’t just ‘talk the talk’, he
also ‘walks the walk’. As Executive Chef at Castle Leslie, in between the heady moments in the media spotlight, such as masterminding a vegetarian feast for the now infamous McCartney- Mills wedding, McMeel has single-handedly (well, with a little backing from Samantha Leslie) masterminded and developed a culinary castle of delight that is firmly rooted in a true understanding of and commitment
to food.

He has developed a dining experience that has ranked Castle Leslie among the top ten places in the world to stay. Meanwhile, he has created the ‘gifts and goodies’ product range available under the Castle Leslie brand - a
delightful range of preserves and condiments that shout the flavours of Ireland. With a genuine commitment to local produce and ingredients, McMeel hasn’t just been the backbone of many a small food producer in the local area, he has also brought the message back to the Castle Gate, where the fouracre Victorian Kitchen Garden is now being restored to working order to supply the Castle’s kitchens once again. And finally (for now), he has launched the Castle Leslie Cookery School, with state-of-theart facilities in an exceptionally authentic setting, where he is passing on his philosophy, his knowledge, his skills and, most of all, his passion for real, honest-togoodness food.