Native Dubliner, Cathal Armstrong, Chef and Co-Owner of Restaurant Eve was born into a family with a passion for food. Unusual for families living in Dublin proper at the time, they had a fruit and vegetable garden, ate plenty of garlic and had their own travel business. 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 Armstrong the importance of organic growing and sustainability, before they were buzzwords. Today he honors that tradition by demanding the highest-quality ingredients from a handpicked network of suppliers revered for their wholesome products.
This impassioned toque’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 The Washingtonian Magazine’s “Green Giant Award.” Armstrong is also a board member of Fresh Farm 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 US State Department. He was invited by the ambassador to the Bloom festival in Ireland to “recreate” First Lady Michelle Obama’s Garden and demonstrated to school children and attendees the joys and benefits of “growing your own.” His own love of horticulture drove him to create an organic, worm com- posted garden, with a natural rain water irrigation system, behind the restaurant. Fruits from his trees, seasonal vegetables and herbs from his organic garden are harvested and incorporated into mouthwatering dishes that nourish the palate and the soul.
The White House has taken notice of his four star intentions as well and in 2011 honored him as a “Champion of Change.” Under President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative (whitehouse.gov/champions), the White House features a group of Americans who continue to ‘Innovate, Educate, and Build’ throughout their respective communities. In honor of this recognition, the Office of Public Engagement hosted an event at the White House to commend Armstrong and like minded individuals who promote empowerment and inspiration.
Chef Armstrong was a Best Mid-Atlantic Chef nominee by the James Beard Foundation in 2013. He was selected as Food & Wine magazine’s “10 Best New Chefs 2006” and “50 Hall of Fame Best New Chefs,” along with honored as a Best Chef Award Winner by the Restaurant Association of Metropoli- tan 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 The Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema. In Fall 2011, President and Mrs. Obama celebrated their 17th wedding anniversary in Eve’s tasting room.
Rave reviews continue as Armstrong expands with complex, thoughtful cooking that knits together his Irish upbringing, his French training, and his grasp of the American culinary moment. Cathal Armstrong is considered by both Ireland and America’s epicurean fraternity, to be one of our finest chefs, a chef whose ability and creativity are boundless. In addition to his cherished roles as chef, husband and father, his next great love is the sport of Tae Kwon Do, which he took up with vigor two years ago. He recently competed in the Tae Kwon Do National Championships in Chicago and is the current National Champion in his weight class.
In March 2014, Armstrong will debut his first cookbook, My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve (Ten Speed Press) showcasing modern Irish fare, along with stories about his journey from Dublin to Washington, DC.