Co Tyrone Business Serves Up Tableware Treat For Gordon Ramsay

A Co Tyrone craftsman has served up his first major order for the restaurant trade with the completion of a series of bespoke wooden platters for Gordon Ramsay‘s exclusive Petrus eaterie in London.

And the famously fastidious restaurateur has been so taken with Patrick Walsh’s workmanship that he has requested additional bespoke tableware from his “one man band” firm, ‘Wooden Treats‘ in Drumquin.

Well-heeled diners who regularly fork out more than £1,000 for a bottle of wine at the Knightsbridge restaurant can now also savour the vintage of hand-crafted elm wood platters, cut and carved from a tree felled in Dromore, Co Tyrone.

Walsh, a 29-year-old former joiner, started full-time in the decor crafting business just last year but already has a full order book, particularly for the growing wedding market which has now become his “bread and butter”.

“I was in the construction trade for years but when work dried up due to the recession I got fed up never being able to guarantee six months’ work ahead of what I was doing,” he said.

“I always enjoyed making wooden toys for the children at Christmas and soon I found I was getting busier and busier, making wooden gifts like mirrors or salt and pepper holders for family, friends and local craft shops.

“Wooden Treats evolved from a hobby, really, and last year, after I took the decision to make it a real business venture, I haven’t looked back.

“I buy some of the wood in, but about 80 per cent is locally sourced: branches plucked randomly from hedges or riverbanks just because I like their shape or texture and because I can visualise an artistic end result.”

The Ramsay order was for over 30 wooden platters made from elm wood dried over two years, but originally Ramsay had requested a ‘rustic log’ in which to serve up a new showpiece dessert.

“The log was to have a recess for dry ice which would then have liquid added to create a smoky effect when served,” Patrick said, “but this was put on the back boiler after I explained that water and wood are generally not a good mix, no matter how well sealed the wood.

“In the end, the head chef opted for my wooden platter designs which I believe are now being used to serve a garden salad type dish.”

The order – at undisclosed value – came about after a friend of the Walsh family, who works with the Ramsay marketing team in London, recommended Patrick’s work to new head chef, Neil Snowball.

“It’s not every type of wood you can use for food, so a few designs went back and forth before the platters were eventually unveiled a few months ago,” Patrick added. “I wasn’t dealing directly with Gordon but the head chef emailed me recently to say he really liked them, so I was pleased with that.

“Unfortunately, Petrus is quite expensive so I don’t think I’ll be celebrating by taking my wife to dine from the platters in Knightsbridge any time soon.”