Martin Shanahan is one of Ireland's leading seafood chefs. A graduate of Rockwell Catering College, Martin spent his early career working in The Butler Arms in Waterville. Before moving on to become head chef at the popular Jim Edwards restaurant in Kinsale.
The early 1980s saw Martin move to San Francisco to chef at the renowned Huntington Hotel, where his love of fish cookery intensified. After returning from San Francisco, Martin and his wife, Marie, set up the original Kinsale Gourmet Store, a small fish shop and deli in the Market Place.
After seven years as fish retailers, Martin launched his first Fishy Fishy café at Guardwell in Kinsale His passion and skill with fish became apparent, and the town’s first dedicated seafood café proved to carve the path of his success. As an ever increasingly popular lunch venue, the business regularly had to turn away customers. Ever forward thinking in his business approach, Martin decided the next natural progression was to further expand on the café’s success.
2006 saw Martin purchase a large Gallery and convert it into the formidable Fishy Fishy Restaurant. Martin and his team have stuck with an ethos of using and cooking local, fresh, seasonal fish served in an informal context, with staff who take real pride in their work.
"Fish is nature's fast food. It is a gift, not a commodity, and deserves our respect", is Martin’s philosophy behind his business.
In 2009 Martin embarked on his first venture into television, filming the first of a successful series of television programmes, Martin's Mad About Fish, with RTÉ Cork. With great reviews a second series was commissioned in 2011, Martin's Still Mad About Fish.
Martin also has a number of successful cookery books to his name, Irish Seafood Cookery and The Seafood Lover's Cookbook, both written with Sally McKenna, and in 2011, Martin's Fishy Fishy Cookbook, which quickly became a best seller.
More recently Martin has teamed up with Chef Paul Flynn to feature in the series Surf n’Turf, which aired on RTÉ. Martin and Paul embarked on a fantastic trip around Ireland from Cobh in Cork to Glenn Colm Cille in Donegal. They were challenged to create signature dishes for every area they visited, using only the best of local ingredients. Martin created the Surf dish while Paul served up the Turf. They had 24 hours to source local produce before creating their unique dishes. Following the success of the Surf n’Turf series, Martin and Paul’s Surf n’Turf by Martin Shanahan and Paul Flynn was put together to share the recipes of the series.