James Street South group to open CQ cookery school

James Street South owner and award-winning chef Niall McKenna is to open a new cookery school in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter later this year.

The leading chef, restaurateur and entrepreneur has confirmed that his James Street South Group has purchased the Grade B listed Waterman House building at 5-23 Hill Street to accommodate the new venture, with support from Bank of Ireland UK.

The dedicated new cookery school, which will accommodate groups of up to 18 at any one time, forms part of a new and extensive regeneration development within the area currently spearheaded by Commercial Court Inns Limited, which owns the adjacent Harp Bar, and the nearby Duke of York and Dark Horse pubs.

Niall and wife Joanne already operate the successful restaurant Hadskis in the area.

“As a dedicated and committed team, we’re immensely proud of our collective achievements and the positive impact we have made in developing Belfast’s growing international tourism reputation and success over 15 years.”

Mark Cunningham of Bank of Ireland UK which is backing the project, said: “Through this investment, combined with the group’s offer, experience and quality reputation, the group is well-positioned to further contribute to the city’s status as an award-winning destination.”

The group currently employs a team of 85 full and part-time staff and currently manages two apprenticeship programmes, training chefs and front-of-house staff in association with Belfast Met.