From rock stars to kebabs: international chef opens take-away shop in Katoomba

Josh Ireland has switched the high life, touring the world as a chef for the Rolling Stones and U2, for the quiet life cooking kebabs in Katoomba.

Mr Ireland recently opened Cedar Take-Away, about half way down Katoomba St, specialising in plant-based meat kebabs, regular donor kebabs, salads and coffee.

It's a far cry from his former lifestyle on the road with some of the world's biggest bands.

"Mick [Jagger] really enjoyed vegetarian and the entourage ate it too," Mr Ireland said.

Whereas Keith Richards would order two shepherd's pies, made specifically to his mum's recipe.

"One was to eat, and one to put his cigarette out in," Mr Ireland said.

He described U2 as "pretty simple eaters".

"Bono is an old-fashioned Irish guy."

While on tour with U2, he'd be given $80,000 to purchase food and alcohol for U2 and the entire crew of more than 200 people for a week.

"I'd walk around with it [the cash] in my bag ... I thought it was a bit strange," Mr Ireland said.

But eventually the glitz and glamour of parties and international travel wore off and Mr Ireland returned to Sydney and started a family. He has moved to Katoomba with his wife and two young children, where they're building a house.

It might be a bit weird a vegetarian owning a kebab shop.

Josh Ireland

"I've always enjoyed being here [in the Blue Mountains]," said the 44-year-old who was raised in Mount Druitt. "It's a great place to raise kids.

"Once you have kids you realise you're grounded. Partying becomes a bit limited. It's better having kids than partying; for me it's more soulfood."

You might think a kebab shop would be all about the meat, but not so for Mr Ireland who is a vegetarian.

"It might be a bit weird a vegetarian owning a kebab shop," he said. "But I taste it, I have to."

He says their freshly-made, plant-based meat felafel, which includes pea protein, coconut oil and herbs, is their biggest seller, enjoyed by meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.

Mr Ireland chooses to be vegetarian because it's "environmentally more sustainable", for animal welfare, and because he feels healthier on a vegetarian diet.

While he's toyed with the idea of opening a vegetarian restaurant, he says he doesn't want to be exclusive and prefers to offer meat options too.

"I like the simplicity of having a simple shop and giving the best service possible," Mr Ireland said.

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