The Wicklow Escape Launches Spring Dining And Unveils New Kitchen Team

Posted on 11th May 2022

The Wicklow Escape, the exclusive lodge for food lovers nestled in the heart of the Wicklow mountains is delighted to launch its new Spring menus, as it introduces a brand new kitchen team at the venue, led by Head Chef Mark Ahessy.

The Wicklow Escape provides a unique tranquil escape, where superb food, comfort, and a focus on locally sourced seasonal ingredients are the highlights. Spring menus have been devised for The Fiery outdoor wood fired kitchen and for The Long Hall dining experience with highlights including Ridgeway wagyu, potato fondant, béarnaise and Turbot, Jerusalem artichokes, brown shrimp. Key appointments to the kitchen team ensure that guests and non-resident diners alike enjoy an exceptional experience when they visit.

Mark Ahessy, Head Chef has worked alongside some of Ireland’s finest chefs in fine dining for many years, including Chapter One, L’Ecrivain and Pichet. Starting his career as a chef over 20 years ago, Mark’s cooking in a small country house hotel in Tipperary was influenced by Ballymaloe style cooking. While Mark’s international travels and experiences since then have deeply influenced his cooking, he is passionate about Ireland’s food produce. Ultimately Mark is all about utilising the finest local Irish produce and cooking it with love and care. He has previously been nominated for Best Chef in both Leinster and Munster by the Restaurant Association of Ireland.

Ofelia Caballero, Sous Chef from a small village in the state of Puebla in Mexico discovered her passion for food as a young child. Watching her grandmother, she would help to make handmade wood fired tortillas. She believes that cooking is about flavours and passion and has had the opportunity to travel extensively and work for many years as a personal private chef for celebrities. Ofelia has studied at Ballymaloe and previously worked at Marco Pierre White Restaurant in Donnybrook.

Fransico Ramirez Murga, Commis Chef hails from Mexico where, working in restaurants, his introduction to gastronomy began. There he cooked a lot with fire using fresh, bountiful ingredients due to the climate.

Lisa Wilkinson, founder of The Wicklow Escape, comments: “The Wicklow Escape is for those who appreciate exceptional food and drink in a beautiful, tranquil setting. We pride ourselves on using farm-to-table ingredients, like Castleruddery organic fare and Ridgeway Wagyu Beef, because we like to support our neighbours and their businesses, and we want our guests to know exactly where their food comes from. We’re always changing our menu to reflect what’s in season. Hyper local sourcing combined with fresh produce from our own gardens has enabled our new kitchen team, Mark, Ofelia, and Francisco, to create an exceptional experience for diners and guests to enjoy this Spring.”

The Wicklow Escape is located at Ballinclea, Donard, Co. Wicklow, approx. 1 hour from Dublin. It is included in the 2022 edition of the prestigious Ireland’s Blue Book. Visit for more information and to book your package or dinner.

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