(07 Jul 2008)
Domini Kemp was born in the Bahamas, and moved to Ireland in 1983. She trained as a chef at Leith's in London before co-writing New Irish Cooking and working in the Michelin-starred Peacock Alley. In 1999, she opened the hugely popular itsa bagel with her sister Peaches which has grown into a successful food company with four branches throughout Dublin. But the sisters have also expanded their core business and diversified into other areas including outdoor catering (Feast catering) and two new restaurants (itsa4 restaurant and Table) as well as a growing their wholesale and retail food sales. itsa bagel ® has grown to a staff of 100 with four retail premises plus a commercial 5000 ‘ sq ft production unit in Sandyford.
November 05 saw the opening of itsa 4 restaurant which received widespread critical praise and a loyal clientele because of the focus on organic and local produce, good service and delicious food. A subsidiary company, FEAST, is an up-market outdoor catering company, with a VIP client list that caters weddings, corporate launches, canapé and reception parties and is one of the 12 approved caterers for OPW.
Domini regularly contributes to TV, magazines, and newspapers as a chef/food-writer and has been hailed by The Sunday Times (UK) as “easily the best food writer in Ireland” for her restaurant reviews and has published her first cook-book, “Real Food Real Fast” which has sold close to 10,000 copies both in Ireland and the US markets.
She was short-listed for IBEC's Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2002 and regularly speaks to Women in Business Groups, Entrepreneur Groups, YIHI Hospitality Group, IBEC and has spoken at Farmleigh House on “The Changing Irish Palate”. She has also participated in several workshops regarding accessibility in the workplace and was interviewed for RTE’s 360 programme in 2004.
She wrote the restaurant reviews for IMAGE magazine from 2006 until spring 2008, when she moved to the Irish Times magazine as food writer. She is also a member of the Taste Council (under Bord Bia) which is a representative artisan and specialty food group working at strategic level to help direct and influence policy for the artisan food sector.
In November 2006, the itsa bagel group opened “Table” restaurant in a new partnership with Brown Thomas, Cork. This restaurant is similar in style to itsa4 has been beautifully refurbished and relocated to the second floor of Cork’s most prestigious store. For more information and photos of both itsa4 and Table, go to www.itsabagel.com.