Heartfelt tributes have been expressed to one of the founders of Belfast’s La Taqueria restaurant following his death.
Head chef Adam Lynas (39), who died after an illness, opened the award-winning Mexican restaurant alongside Andy Rea and Stevie Haller in 2016.
In what was originally a popup eatery, La Taqueria was named best restaurant in Ireland by the prestigious McKenna’s Restaurant Guide.
After opening their first restaurant on Castle Street in 2016, Adam, along with Andy and Stevie, joined forces with Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody and Nathan Connolly to open another La Taqueria on Ormeau Road last year.
In an emotional statement on La Taqueria’s Facebook page, Andy said they were devastated by Adam’s death and passed on their condolences to his family.
“Adam and I first worked together over 20 years ago at the start of his culinary journey,” Andy stated.
“He worked in some of the best restaurants in Ireland and his love of food and travel took him to work aboard.
“Mexico was always Adam’s stand out destination for food, drink and culture.
“Just over five years ago, Adam called me from Canada with the idea of coming home and opening up a taco shop - La Taqueria was born.
“Along with the other directors, Joe and Stevie, we put together Belfast’s first authentic Mexican restaurant all based on Adam’s travels, knowledge and palette.”
Andy added that Adam was “warm, kind, generous and funny” but most of all he was a friend and brother to all of those on the La Taqueria team.
“The sheer outpouring of condolences from everyone from everywhere shows what Adam meant to everyone,” he continued.
“His knowledge, expertise, maturity, discipline, patience, palette and above all his ability to train and inspire the people around him was eminent.
“And, in my 32 years in hospitality, I’ve only seen this in a handful of chefs.
“In Mexican culture they focus on the celebration of life more than the mourning. So, we celebrate the life of Adam and he will be dearly missed!
“As a chef his love, passion and energy will be in every bite and sip in every La Taqueria.”