Chef Kevin Crossan to lead the kitchen at Digby’s Bar & Restaurant

By ELEANOR MCGILLIE 4 October, 2018

Digby’s Bar & Restaurant has appointed a new Head Chef with drive, ambition and culinary vision who has a wealth of experience which many chefs would aspire to. Eleanor McGillie speaks to Kevin Crossan who is looking forward to his new venture working in the Orchard County

Today is the start of an new era at Digby’s Bar & Restaurant in Killylea as the team throw open its kitchen doors to a new Head Chef who will bring with him the vision and drive to take this family run traditional bar and restaurant to a new level while maintaining the ethos of this award winning eatery.

Live It Experience It member, Digby’s Bar & Restaurant, based in Killylea, is the hub of a rural community which serves up traditional home cooked food, is a place where locals gather and is recognised, far and wide, for its food offering.

But this week, a new addition to the team will see this popular bar and restaurant develop with a new Head Chef at the helm.

From left, Michael Macklin, owner of Digby's Bar and Restaurant, Head Chef Kevin Crossan and Claire Macklin, bar and restaurant manager. Digby's Bar and Restaurant is a Live It Experience It member

Kevin Crossan, originally from Dublin, and now living in Monaghan, is the new Head Chef who says he is excited to work with a hands on family team who know where they want their restaurant to be.

Kevin said: “I had always known of Digby’s Bar and Restaurant because of its reputation for good food, listening to its customers and serving food which people want to eat. It was always somewhere which was on my radar but it’s only recently I had heard of the Head Chef vacancy.

“One thing has led to the other and I am delighted to be their new Head Chef because the family have great vision of where they want their gastro pub and restaurant to be and I have some great ideas which we will all be working on together over time.”

Kevin started out at the catering college on Cathal Brugha Street in Dublin. He is very candid about having to work long hours to prove himself which was then greatly rewarded in the 90s when he moved to Deane’s on Howard Street in Belfast. Having spent three years here Kevin and Chef Raymond McArdle moved to The Nuremore Hotel in Co Monaghan and took The Nuremore Hotel to having three AA Rosettes and very close to Michelin Star.

Head Chef Kevin Crossan in his new kitchen at Digby's Bar and Restaurant in Killylea, Co Armagh.

He said: “But the recession then hit and everyone was staying put. Everything changed. The economy changed, people’s spending habits changed and businesses in all sectors were impacted.

“At this point I decided to do a Bachelor of Science in Culinary Arts in Southern Regional College in Newry so I became a part time teacher as well. When I left The Nuremore Hotel I moved to Donaghmore to work at the Brewer’s House while I was teaching at South West College in Dungannon. I spent three years here before moving to the prestigious Castle Leslie Estate. Until now I have been working as the Head Chef in this exclusive 20 bedroom hotel at the Castle where I was Head Chef for Banqueting and Afternoon Teas.

“But, I am now working in the Food Heartland. Co Armagh is building a fantastic reputation for its food and drink offering. Digby’s is very supportive of local producers of food and drink so I am really looking forward to developing my ideas and the family’s ideas. This is a really exciting shift in my career and I am looking forward to working on new initiatives.”

Claire Macklin, who is the restaurant manager who has been awarded for Customer Service, is delighted to welcome Kevin to the team.

She said: “Kevin is a great addition to the team. We have had a very busy time recently with the Food Heartland Awards in which we were Highly Commended for Best Dish Using Local Ingredients. We were delighted to welcome Noel McMeel and Paula McIntyre to taste our Digby’s Armagh Bramley Apple Tart which Paula then commended in her weekly column in Farming Life.

“And now, Kevin has joined us so we have lots of initiatives in the pipeline which will be developed in time. We would like to thank all of our loyal customers for their continued support and we look forward to everyone enjoying a culinary journey with Kevin heading up the kitchen.”


Digby's Bar and Restaurant is a Live It Experience It Member

Live It Experience It’ is a group of tourism businesses working together to promote our region through water, air and land based activities, food and drink and great places to stay. If you would like to become a member business in our ‘Live It Experience It’ cluster please submit your information through our online form –  Sign Up Here. Pitch your business and meet like minded tourism businesses who you could cluster with. #liveitexperienceit

Live It Experience It is a group of journalists and travel writers who tell the stories of our members who are tourism businesses offering accommodation, activities and great places for food and drink in Northern Ireland.


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Eleanor McGillie

About Eleanor McGillie

Eleanor spent eight years working in the south west of England - one of the UK's most popular tourism hotspots. During her stint working with key players in the tourism sector she developed a love for all things outdoor adventure. As a journalist she got to travel to remote corners of the world to write travel features about the experiences of a particular place. Northern Ireland's story needs to be told and needs to reach new audiences. Live It Experience It aims to attract tourists from outside Ireland, people from Ireland and people who live in Northern Ireland but aren't aware of the extent of the adventures on our own doorsteps. Eleanor is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) at Associate Level