Photo: Cathal Armstrong (centre): from bottle washer to restaurateur
Cathal Armstrong was 19 when he opened his first restaurant with his father in Dublin.
"It was a disaster from the beginning," he recalls. "We never had a business licence, we never had a health permit - who knew you needed such a thing? The walls started closing in and we began running out of money."
In less than a year the restaurant had closed.
"But no doubt I learned more in that ten month period than I would have learned in four years at college," he says.
That proved to be true. Over two decades later Mr Armstrong, now 46, runs Eat Good Food Group which operates Restaurant Eve, Eamonn's and Society Fair as well as a bar. The firm has an annual turnover of around $10m (£6.5m) and employs almost 150 staff.
With the restaurants located in Alexandria, Virginia just a few miles from the United States' capital, he has ended up cooking for film stars, presidents, millionaires and a host of other celebrities. He has also represented the US in Thailand, promoting American cuisine and sustainable food and has been named by the White House as a champion of change for supporting healthy school meals.