Neil Clooney is an English expat who now calls Ashland, Oregon “home”.
Having completed an intensive culinary apprenticeship in the UK, Neil went and worked on the prestigious cruise liner, the QE2 (Queen Elizabeth 2). After 2 years of traveling around the world and working with different cuisines, he returned to London, England and worked at the Goring Hotel and Ransomes Dock restaurant.
In 2002, Neil moved to the United States and became the executive chef at Isabel Cruz’s flagship restaurant, Cantina, in San Diego.
This led to a business partnership and the opening of Dragonfly Cafe and Gardens in Ashland, Oregon which he managed all food operations from 2004 to 2010.
Along the way Neil has picked up a few awards, going 2 for 2 in local and state cooking competitions. Taking the Ashland Food and Wine Classic in 2007 and 2008 and the Oregon Iron Chef title in 2008 and 2009. He also won the Oregon Chocolate Festival, Dessert Competition in 2009.
Neil is currently the owner of Smithfields Restaurant & Bar in Ashland, Oregon.