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October 02, 2012

Chef Cathal Armstrong

Native Dubliner Cathal Armstrong, chef and co-owner of Restaurant Eve, was born into a family with a passion for food. Unlike most families living in Dublin at the time, they had a fruit and vegetable garden, ate plenty of garlic, and operated their own travel agency. Armstrong was exposed to the cuisine of other cultures by his father and developed an appreciation of gastronomy. According to Armstrong, "My father is a natural, a great cook."

This Irish chef still cherishes the memories of working alongside his father in the family garden. It was in France, at the tender age of seven, that Armstrong began his annual student exchange and his food curriculum for life. These influences instilled in him the importance of organic growing and sustainability. Today he honors that tradition by demanding the highest-quality ingredients from a handpicked network of suppliers revered for their wholesome products.

Chef Armstrong's significant contribution to the local food movement has garnered him accolades that extend beyond his cooking, including the National Restaurant Association Neighborhood Community Award, Edible Chesapeake magazine's Local Hero Award and Washingtonian magazine's Green Giant Award. Armstrong is also a board member of FRESHFARM Markets, which operates eight farmers' markets in the Chesapeake Bay region. His devotion to the ideals of environmentalism, health, and conservation has led him to lecture abroad at the request of the U.S. State Department. He was invited to the Bloom Festival in Ireland to "recreate" First Lady Michelle Obama's White House garden and demonstrate the joys and benefits of "growing your own." His own love of horticulture drove him to create an organic worm-composted garden with a natural rain water irrigation system behind the restaurant. Fruits from his trees and seasonal vegetables and herbs from his organic garden are harvested and incorporated into mouthwatering dishes that nourish the palate and the soul.

In 2011, the White House honored him as a Champion of Change. Under President Obama's Winning the Future initiative (, the White House features a group of Americans who continue to "Innovate, Educate, and Build" throughout their respective communities. Chef Armstrong was nominated a Best Mid-Atlantic Chef by the James Beard Foundation in 2012. He was selected as one of Food & Wine magazine's Ten Best New Chefs (2006) and Fifty Hall of Fame Best New Chefs, along with being honored as a Best Chef Award Winner by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC, in 2007. He also sits on the Saveur Tastemakers chef advisory board.

Four years after the opening of Restaurant Eve, Armstrong's Tasting Room received a four-out-of-four star rating by Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema. In fall 2011, President and Mrs. Obama celebrated their 17th wedding anniversary in Restaurant Eve's tasting room.

In addition to Armstrong's other unique properties (The Majestic, PX, Eamonn's A Dublin Chipper, and Virtue Feed & Grain), he recently opened Society Fair. His latest projects, Bar TNT and a second outpost of Eamonn's A Dublin Chipper, opened in August 2012.

Cathal Armstrong's complex and thoughtful cooking brings together his Irish upbringing, his French training, and his grasp of the American culinary moment.

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