Michelin inspectors are anonymous people who dine at restaurants and reward the best with “Michelin stars.” In Ireland, a whopping nine restaurants have received one, two or three Michelin stars, despite these stars being difficult to get. Clearly, Irish chefs know their food well! It’s no wonder that Irish chef Colin Fassnidge has yet again earned his role as a judge on popular TV show “My Kitchen Rules.”

In a recent interview with Good Food, Fassnidge revealed why he thought Irish food has become so successful. “When I was growing up in Ireland, times were tough and the mindset was that when you left, you didn’t go back,” he said. “When money came back into the country, there was a shift in thinking. All those chefs that gained skills around the world moved back to Ireland, and that’s been behind this new wave of amazing restaurants,” Fassnidge mused.

“Back in the day, Irish people didn’t care what they ate. They just wanted lots of it. That’s what I moved away from. When I went back last year, I ate at a place called Forest Avenue in Dublin that was so on point … It was very modern and fresh and seasonal, which I hadn’t seen before. Ireland has come a long way,” he added.

Fassnidge believes that a successful chef is one who takes what they’ve grown up with and makes it their own. “I grew up on secondary cuts that were braised and stewed, and I have incorporated them on the menu at 4Fourteen,” he said. “I see my restaurant as being influenced from my Irish heritage … Irish traditions are all based around food and family. Even funerals are popular in Ireland as you know you will get well fed!”

Colin Fassnidge was particularly inspired to get in the kitchen by his parents who were “very good” cooks. You can watch him judge the contestants on “My Kitchen Rules” on Channel 7 at 7:30 p.m., Sundays-Wednesdays. Then in June, Fassnidge will compete in the annual Hunter Culinary Association food fight. He will be cooking alongside the former team from Sydney’s three-hatted Banc restaurant.