Showing posts with label Urru. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Urru. Show all posts

Monday, December 4, 2017

Taste of the Week Special from On The Pig's Back. Celebrating Spiced Beef

Taste of the Week Special from On The Pig's Back

A Celebration of Spiced Beef in Cork Cafés


Popped across the city to On the Pig’s Back in Douglas to start the Spiced Beef Week in Cork’s Character Cafes. Warm welcome and soon we were sitting at the table with two menus, the regular and the specials. The regular is packed with good things: Paté Plate; Charcuterie and Cheese Board; and a Terrine Plate. Quiche, Fish and Brisket all featured on the specials  (see below). 

Great choices indeed but where was that spiced beef, I'd come for? It turned out it was on the Sandwich Menu, the one we hadn't been offered. The spiced beef was fresh in from Jack McCarthy in Kanturk and is a regular on the menu here. It comes with perfectly matured fruity milky Brie de Meaux Nugier and is packed into delicious Arbutus Wholemeal slices, big but tender. 

The whole combination, they don't reveal all the ingredients (super secret, I'm told), was absolutely perfect. There was a wee bowl of extras including broccoli florets, Feta cubes, sun-dried tomatoes, nuts etc and, all in all, it was five star food, dressed in humble garb, not that there was anything untidy at all about the presentation. Just goes to show that once the ingredients are fresh and when they are well handled and matched, that you can dine like a king for a fair price (€8.95 in this case).

And the same price too for our other sandwich: Chicken and Harissa Mayo with salad and roasted peppers, again on that magnificent Arbutus Wholemeal sourdough. Another excellent lunch. A top class munch. Other city restaurant participating in the Spiced Beef Week are Idaho Café and Nash 19. In Nash 19, they have great time for Derek McCarthy’s spiced beef.

Monday's specials at On the Pig's Back whose store in
the English Market is celebrating 25 years in business. Well done!
Over 12 cafés are supporting the week so those south and west of the city won't be short of spiced beef choices either. Check out the Lemon Leaf Café in Kinsale, the award winning Kalbo’s in Skibbereen, the Riverside also in Skibb, the Stuffed Olive in Bantry and URRU on the banks of the river in Bandon. 

Well done to Failte Ireland food champion Ruth of URRU who has organised this (and previous) themed week. URRU serve Allshire's spiced beef and Ruth says that Maurice, producer of Rosscarbery Biltong, “is going to do something very special with it for us for the week".

Many of the Cork cafés will be using the Spiced Beef from the Chicken Inn in the English Market. They have been producing the famous beef for over fifty years now and Tim Mulcahy tells me they supply some of Cork’s finest independent cafés.

That list includes Idaho where the Quesadilla will be filled with Tim’s spiced beef, Monterey Jack cheese, pickles and French's mustard. “It's like a crispy New York deli taste, but using a spiced beef that is produced in Cork. Idaho Café love Tim Mulcahy's beef, moist, lightly but firmly spiced and evocative of Christmas and a proud history of food production in this city. €9 on the menu for that week!” Beat that boy!



Monday, November 20, 2017

Long, Lazy Sunday at Ballymaloe

Garden to Plate at Ballymaloe.
Superb Craft Fair Too.


There were gasp when Ballymaloe House gardener Mags Coughlan told us she grows 4,500 leeks here each year. Soon we would see some of them on our plates as we enjoyed lunch in the house. The garden tour, a mead tasting, a long leisurely lunch and a visit to the ever increasing craft fair in the Grainstore and Big Shed, were all part of a lovely day that brought the curtain down on the Munster Wine and Dine activities for 2017. A good day. A good year.
Here's where we get our hazelnuts

Hazel Allen introduced the fifty or so of us to Mags who told us the aim here in the walled garden and surrounding area is to grow “seasonal and unusual”. Even with Mags working flat out, there is no way the garden could fully supply the house, so Ballymaloe gets much of its regular plant and vegetables supplies from local growers, a traditional relationship maintained.


That leaves the gardener, in consultation with the chefs of course, to concentrate on something different, a crop of sea-kale for example, followed in turn by asparagus and artichoke. And then there are also edible flowers and flowers for decoration. One of the specialities of the walled garden, taking advantage of a south-facing wall, are peaches. Lots of herbs here too, of course.

All is grown from seed so that means glasshouses and we walked through there admiring the lines of harvested pumpkins (also on the day’s menu). We were then shown the relatively new cider apple orchard; varieties here include Dabinett and Bramley. Here too we saw the hazel bushes which provide quite a harvest and have a bit of growing to do yet!

All had been quite in the fields where the pigs are kept until the arrival of our group. Then little groups of the younger pigs came rushing out to greet the visitors. They may not have been so eager had they known that the same people would be eating their older siblings later on.

Back then to the conservatory room in the house for an aperitif, thanks to Kate Dempsey of the Kinsale Mead Co. We sampled her Atlantic Dry Mead and also Wild Red Mead  – and then she made some delicious cocktails using her mead (and also the new Beara Gin). Quite a few were very impressed by the mead. Both meads are honey based and are rapidly becoming widely available in Supervalu’s and speciality shops such as URRU in Bandon and Bradley’s in the city's North Main Street.

Kate and her meads
Time now for lunch, the main event. A good start is half the battle. And so it was here with a delicious warming bowl of Garden Pumpkin Soup with Chilli and Parsley Oil. More simple food followed, simply delicious Ballycotton Crab Paté with cucumber and dill salad.

We had a choice for the main course. CL chose the Poached Ballycotton Monkfish with Chive Butter Sauce served with Leeks and Romanesco while mine was the Roast Ballymaloe Farm Pork with red cabbage and Bramley Apple Sauce. Each, with Pommes Duchesse and Glazed Carrots on the side, was superb.

The temptation levels then soared with the arrival of the famous Ballymaloe Dessert trolley. We were like the little piggies! Pavlova, poached pears, chocolate cake (and sauce), and so much more, all washed down with little sips of sweet Jurançon. Pratsch Gruner Veltliner and Solstice Rhone Valley were the earlier wines.

After the tea or coffee, or a garden infusion, there was a quick review of 2017, a raffle for foodie prizes and an announcement that Munster Wine and Dine had decided to donate €300.00 to Penny Dinners.
Crab

Some of us then took a walk around the annual craft fair. The opening day, Saturday, had been busy but one stall holder told me Sunday, the day of our visit, was even busier and she was looking to getting her feet up for the night! There were some gorgeous crafts here but, looking for a particular item with certain restrictions as to material, size and colour, proved mission impossible for me! The search begins again next week at the big Craft Fair in the City Hall and the smaller one at Franciscan Well Brew Pub.
Sweet stuff



Darkness had now settled on this amazing East Cork farm and our bus had arrived. A very satisfied group headed back to the city, bang on schedule. Here’s to another great Munster Wine and Dine season in 2018. Happy Christmas everyone from Eithne, Richie, Colm, Beverly, Michael, Stuart, and yours truly.
Craft Fair

Thursday, June 29, 2017

A Celebration of Cork’s Summer Bounty

Media Release

The Cork Character Café Series
supported by Taste Cork
----
A Celebration of Cork’s Summer Bounty
Cork Character Cafes across the county will be telling the next chapter in the Story of Cork Food from Sunday 2nd July – Saturday 8 July. This time the celebration is of “Cork’s Summer Bounty” through specially created, seasonal and local dishes, displays and storytelling.  
It is peak summer in Ireland’s most southerly county. The ingredients these independently owned and committed cafes draw on come from the sea and shores spanning Castletownbere to Ballycotton; the wild hedgerows in every corner of the county and the fruits and vegetables cultivated by the many skilled small growers and bigger established farmers. All benefit from Cork’s long coastline, fertile fields and temperate climate. All are accessible, to locals and visitors alike, though the transformative skill of Cork’s food producers and everyday food providers like Lettercollum Kitchen Project and Sticky Bun in Clonakilty, Idaho Café and Nash 19 in Cork City, Urru in Bandon, The Old Blarney Post Office Café, The Stuffed Olive in Bantry, Kalbos in Skibbereen and Budds Ballydehob.
The Cork Character Café Series, led by owner of Urru Culinary Store and Failte Ireland food champion, Ruth Healy, aims to gradually build consumer awareness of what makes Cork food ‘Cork’ and to promote where people can access Cork food in its most authentic form. Throughout the year, the cafés will champion various themes in order to effectively showcase the outstanding variety of producers in Cork.
Rebecca O’Keeffe, Taste Cork, says “In honour of summer and all that it brings, the Cork Character Cafés are back to celebrate this wonderful season. We are delighted to support Ruth Healy’s initiative to tell Cork’s Food Story, and endeavour to work together with the great cafes of Cork to continuously connect the consumer with the seasons and our local produce”.

Participating cafes celebrating Cork’s Summer Bounty:
Urru Café & Culinary Store, Bandon
Urru will be sharing complimentary taster dishes during lunchtime showcasing Cork’s Summer Bounty, as well as creating a vibrant, live Cork Summer Bounty Display for touching, smelling and tasting.
Idaho Café, Cork City
“This summer, as every summer, we LOVE Cork strawberries.
We will be serving a simple sundae, using Cork strawberries, freshly baked shortbread and soft ice cream from our pop up ice cream bar.
We will also be serving a Cork version of the Niçoise salad - Ballycotton New Potatoes, Union Hall Smoked Tuna and our own hen's free range eggs, served with local leaves.
It is Cork on a plate, and we love celebrating the humble potato, especially at this time of year.”  - Richard & Mairead Jacob, Idaho Café, Cork City
Budds, Ballydehob
“Taste & savour the true taste of West Cork here at Budds, Ballydehob, this summer.
All our fresh produce comes from within a few miles of the restaurant which include:
  • Bob Allen of Kilkilleen Organics
  • Lea Miklody of Coolcaha gardens
  • Tim York of Lisheen Organics
  • Smoked meats and fine cheese from Gubbeen farm & smokehouse
  • Smoked fish from Sally Barnes of Woodcock Smokery
  • Cheeses from Milleens/ Durrus/ Macroom & Toonsbridge
  • Fabulous meats from Walsh’s in Skibbereen, Hegarty’s in Schull & Twomey’s in Bantry
  • Fresh fish from the fish station Skibbereen
We will be incorporating all these wonderful ingredients to create our daily changing menus throughout the summer and pairing them with local craft beers & cider.” - Jamie Budd, Budd’s Café & Restaurant, Ballydehob 
Lettercollum love their beetroot!
The Old Blarney Post Office Café
“We will be showcasing our homemade Elderflower Cordial. Pop in to enjoy a range of delicious Elderflower drinks” – Lenka Forrest, The Old Blarney Post Office Cafe
Kalbos Café
Kalbos Café grow all their own salads, tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs & new potatoes which are all just coming into the kitchen now. Kalbos will be promoting them in lots of delicious salads next week. 
Lettercollum Kitchen Project
“We will be celebrating beetroot - we have plenty growing in our garden!
We will be making beetroot soup, muffins, hummus, cakes and salads the special feature of the week.” – Karen Austin, Lettercollum Kitchen Project, Clonakilty

On the Pig’s Back
On the Pig’s Back will be featuring a delicious Strawberry, Mascarpone & Lime Tart on their menu during Summer Bounty Week.
Nash 19
Nash 19 will be showcasing the seasonal bounty of beautiful local salad leaves in all their natural and varied glory.
With details to follow from The Stuffed Olive (Bantry), Ali’s Kitchen (Cork City), and The Sticky Bun, (Clonakilty)
Share the online celebration via @corkcuisine and @tastecork on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and enjoy the actual celebration of Cork’s Summer Bounty in Cork Character Cafes from Sunday 2 July – Saturday 8 July.

About the Community of Cork Character Cafés
The community of Cork Character Cafes is evolving as the collective platform for sharing Cork’s distinctive, casual food and hospitality experiences. The Community is becoming progressively active on social media (#ThisIsCorkFood @corkcuisine), the Cork Character Café Series (specific Cork food themes on menus and activities in cafes) and pop up café experiences in novel venues across the year.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Rare Cookery Books Workshop – Keith Floyd

Rare Cookery Books Workshop – Keith Floyd. A Taste of West Cork Food Festival Event. Urru Culinary Store Bandon Saturday 10 September 4.30pm

If you love your rare cookery books and recipes and are interested in showing, sharing and seeing other people’s rare books then come join us for a round table show ‘n’ tell workshop.

The Rare Cookery Books Workshop continues this year with a particular focus on Keith Floyd – a one time resident of Kinsale and acknowledged by many chefs as the “Original Celebrity Chef”.

Food writer and Floyd fan, Dianne Curtin will lead the discussion by sharing her books from the era out of which Keith Floyd emerged. Kinsale based chef, Una Crosbie, will also share her memories and books from Keith Floyd.

So, if you are a fan of Floyd or have a rare cookery book or two that you would like to share with like-minded enthusiasts or if you are just curious, then come along, with your books, memories and little stories for an afternoon of chit chat and discovery.


€6 including light refreshment
Booking advised as space is limited.
Contact Ruth for further details and booking 023-8854731 or book on line www.urru.ie

Sunday, September 27, 2015

My place of belonging is West Cork. Frank Krawczyk

My place of belonging is West Cork

Frank Krawczyk
I see myself primarily as a human being and my place of belonging is West Cork. These are the only two labels I’ll admit to. But I am proud of my Polish and other cultural influences.

So said Frank Krawczyk as he told us his family's amazing story in URRU, Bandon, last Saturday evening in a round-the-table discussion hosted by Ruth Healy and guided by Dianne Curtin. The event was one in the Art of Living Series, itself part of the local Engage Arts Festival.

That story ranged from the second world war in Poland, the gulag and the Katyn forest in Russia, prison and refugee camps, Kazakhstan, India, Uganda, London, Franco’s Spain, West Cork’s Baltimore and Schull and even Tankardstown House where Frank’s son Robbie is now head chef and carrying on the charcuterie trade that made his father a living.

Poland was right in the middle of the conflict as WW2 raged back and forth across Europe. Its citizens were pawns, many lives taken, many disrupted forever. Frank’s immediate relations were caught up in the mayhem and he never got to meet many of them, including his father’s parents.The Soviet Union was particularly harsh on Poland and no less than 15,000 Polish officers were murdered in the Katyn atrocities.

On April 13th, 1940, the NKVD (secret police), turned up at the family apartment and gave them 30 minutes to pack. They were herded into cattle trucks and taken to Kazakhstan. Two years later, the West persuaded the Russians to release the Poles who would be recruited to fight against the Germans, now the common enemy. The released men were sent to Palestine and trained there. Many fought, and many died, in Monte Casino.
His father was released and made his own way, with great difficulty to the Caspian Sea, and from there to transit camps in Persia (Iran). At that stage, the British were dispersing refugees to the Commonwealth countries and his mother (she hadn't met his father, yet) ended up in India, close to Kerala, along with 15,000 others. She even got to meet Gandhi and wrote about it.

His father, who had been badly treated in the Gulag, had been fairly well educated and also ended up in India, getting work at the Polish consulate from 1943-45. But the new Polish government, a communist one, dispensed with his services and he too was sent to the refugee camp where he met his future wife.

After Indian independence, the refugees were relocated to many countries. By then, Frank's father was working in camp administration and made sure that both he and his future wife would end up together. And they did both get to Uganda, to a camp near Kampala. Here, they married and here both Frank and his sister were born.

But, by 1951, the family was on the move, this time to England where Frank would be educated. Up to then, he had spoken only Polish and had no English when starting school. The food at home was very much Polish. His memories from that time including: free range chickens, beehives, foraging for mushrooms and wild strawberries. His Russian grandmother influenced his culinary awareness, as did Polish and neighbouring cuisines.

He went on to work in London where he would meet his own wife Ann. After his introduction to the hippy movement in the 60s, he dropped out and headed off to, of all places, Franco’s Spain. He tried to get home but needed the assistance of the British consulate. Ann, from Cork, had made her own way to Paris where she too joined the hippy “movement”.

Six months after the Spanish escapade, Frank heard a knock on his door. The young visitors said they had come for the party. Frank said there is no party here. “There is now,” said the hippies. In return, Frank was invited to the next party, in Hampstead, and it was here that he met Ann.

She brought him home and introduced him to West Cork. “It was winter time,” he recalled, “but even so I decided to move to Ireland and it happened two years later in 1974”. A year earlier (1973), they were married in Baltimore and spent the honeymoon on Sherkin Island.

When Frank started living in West Cork, he had nothing but a self sufficiency book (by John Seymour). He was leaving “a good enough job” behind but “never had a great grá of urban living. I preferred the woods and foraging.”

Some years later, he had his “beginnings in food production”. Not with charcuterie but by making a soft fresh cheese (Polish style but from a Scottish recipe based on buttermilk). It was quite a success and won a 1st prize in the RDS in 1990.

But then he took a business course. It proved to be a bad move. “You were encouraged to take steps you weren’t ready for...it was not a success … lost the house to the bank...led to a severe depression for two years.”
Gradually he got back and used to occasionally fill in for his sons who were working as kitchen porters in a local restaurant. The chef patron though was in the habit of drinking too much and often Frank had to do the cooking, learning a lot in the process. Lots of compliments were coming his way but, when he asked for a raise, the boss told him where to go!

Next step was to start his own supper club. And that was such a success that they still get requests to stage it again. It was here too that son Robbie “got a liking” for cooking (even if his 3rd level education took a completely different track). But later he raised the money for the Ballymaloe course and it was that that put the younger Krawczyk on his way.

And it was while doing the supper club that Frank decided to revisit salamis, based on the Polish style of his childhood memories. But, having mastered the technique, he gradually came to the intention, and then the practice, that it was “better to do something from the region rather than replicate from somewhere else”.

He was so successful that he was soon recognised by Euro Toques. “I just happened to be the one that opened the door for Irish charcuterie, similar to what Veronica Steele did for cheese.”

It was with the supper club and the charcuterie that Frank had his battle with the food bureaucracy though he smilingly admitted to being as “much an architect of the battle as the system”. I am a firm believer in the “economics of enough”, that is making enough to live on and no more. He doesn't want to make a fortune but rules are made for the big producers, not for the small but, of course, they are still applied to the small.

Frank is no longer producing his own charcuterie. Son Robbie is now doing it at Tankardstown. And Frank is obviously and rightly proud of that. But, he stressed, “he is not copying, he is doing his own thing.” Frank participated in the launch of Slow Food West Cork, about ten years ago, and is still very much involved.

The many Polish people coming to Ireland, over the past fifteen years or so, have given Frank opportunities to use Polish, “my first language”. “There is a lot I can give to that community. I value my Polish education.”

And there is doubt that West Cork and the Irish food scene generally values Frank.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Krawczyk Family in Conversation

THE ART OF LIVING
IN CONVERSATION
WITH THE
KRAWCZYK
FAMILY
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26
URRU CULINARY STORE
5.00PM / FREE

Schull-based Frank Krawczyk (left) is one of Ireland’s best known and most respected salami and sausage makers.
His son Robbie is an award winning chef currently at the much acclaimed Tankardstown House.
Join Frank and Robbie in an around-the-table conversation format event. 
Of Russian-European ancestry, Frank will recount his family history, from gulags to re-settlement camps through London to the story of his, and his wife Anne’s, adventures into the West Cork of the ‘70’s, with us.
He will recount his battles with bureaucracy in his endeavours to establish a world class charcuterie business and, more recently, his championing of the Slow Food movement in West Cork. 
The conversation will be facilitated by food writer, Dianne Curtin. Active audience participation will be encouraged. Refreshments will be served.

This event is part of Engage Arts Festival 24 – 27 September at URRU
ruthhealy@urru.ie

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Eating Bandon and Drinking Bordeaux


Good Food from Bandon and Good Wine from Bordeaux
Made a short visit to Bandon Farmers Market last Saturday. And every stallholder I called to said I was great to come out in the rain. But if you'ee not willing to go out in the rain in Ireland, you’re going to waste half your life.

Great to see some familiar faces like Shirley Kingston, the market co-ordinator, and some new ones as well. Of course, it’s all about the food and I was delighted when Nathan Wall of the Saddleback Pig Company in Baltimore showed me his new product: Sweet Black Bacon Smoked. He tells me it's proving very popular. We’ll have more on Nathan and his fantastic “black” rashers in the next week or so.

There was a terrific selection of organic vegetables available at one stand where the popular “Dutch” was in excellent form, not a bit cranky today he indicated. Tomatoes, chillies, sweet peppers, aubergines and onions caught the eye but we helped ourselves to carrots, some haricot vert, onions and the in-season Asparagus of course.

No shortage of bakers here and Heavens Cakes, well known in the English Market, had some sweet things on offer. Good too to see Dunmanway Baking Emporium with a stall here, including a baguette that we needed for the evening.

And another surprise was the stand manned, if that’s the word, by Toni. Jams, chutneys and pickles, and relishes of all types, including Red Currant Jelly, Rose Hip and Apple Jelly and Fruit  compote. She also sells her eggs, all at a very reasonable price.

The rain, by the way, was bad enough at times but there were clear spells as well and we took advantage of one of those to trot over to the quay and call in to see Ruth Healy in her fabulous food store and cafe at URRU. The warm cups of coffee and a massive ginger cookie were more than welcome.
Bandon is indeed well supplied with places to eat and, of course, things to eat. I had spotted the well stocked, well laid out butcher shop of Martin Carey on previous visits and made a point of calling this time.

This award winning store has a huge choice of meats but we went for the French trimmed lamb shanks, served up later that evening with market vegetables and a red wine gravy. The red wine, Chateau Lamothe Vincent, came from Bordeaux and not all of it went into the cooking!

The starter, a bruschetta using the baguette from the market, some Atlantic Sea Salt and a tomato salsa (all along the lines suggested by the Turkhead Delights cookbook), was excellent as was the dessert, a crumble with rhubarb (from the back garden) and orange. But mainly it was Bandon and Bordeaux. And I really couldn’t tell you if it was raining when I tucked into the lamb!







Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Good Food Ireland Conference. And Awards

Good Food Ireland Conference
And Awards
Pádraig Ó’Céidigh
Didn't expect a clinical psychologist to be the star speaker at the annual Good Food Ireland conference in the Shelbourne Hotel (Dublin) yesterday. But that psychologist was Dr Maureen Gaffney and she took the room by storm as she looked at the Feel Good Factor.

Must admit I’m one of those people who just love to see a smile. Maureen says smiles “are all important”. “People are ready to co-operate with you..work on it.. smiles help to form that very important first impression. We all have bad days .. act positively especially when things are bad.” She said there is  evidence that shows that smiling even helps the smiler. “It triggers (even fools) your brain”.

And she also pointed out that a negative mood in the team leader can have a negative influence on the staff, your staff. This is a “high risk” to business. So learn to smile. Cheese!


“Get your self right..then you'll get a whole lot more right. Learn, achieve, grow. Vision is vitally important, start with your vision. Values are really important, not just accessories...There is evidence that people driven by a higher set of values do better.”
Maureen Gaffney (left) and Xanthe Clay
Set challenges, she urged. “Keep learning, growing, have projects, invest time and effort in them. And connect! Not just on digital platforms but also in the real world, family, friends, clubmates. These real connections will provide “personal experience and insight, contextual information, personal recommendations”.

So get social,and get connected, she urged. And she ended with a reminder about that smile. “Nurture your optimism!”


Xanthe Clay, author and journalist, spoke on the fickle British market, especially the fickle press. One day they headline that coffee is good for you, a week later they say it is bad for you. She urged irish producers to give value for money and highlighted the importance of trust (especially after the rocky year that saw the horse meat scandal gallop across the headlines). “Be open, she said. “Show people what you do. If you do add an additive to your food, list it, explain it.” Much better than your customers ambushed by the news in the press later on.

Asked what were the outstanding Irish qualities, she didn't hesitate: “Tradition, warmth, quality. These never go out of fashion.”

Coming into fashion is Origin Green, Bord Bia’s new programme to enhance and promote sustainability and explained on stage by Una Fitzgibbon. This was quite a sombre presentation, no jokes here. Great to see producers such as the Apple Farm’s Con Traas and Stonewell Cider’s Daniel Emerson being very enthusiastic about it on a short film. “This is a big deal,”said conference chair Darragh McCullough. “Only going to get bigger.”


Margot Slattery of Sodexo started with some very impressive numbers: purchases of some 18 million euro in Ireland every year. 420,000 employees worldwide and growing. “We stand for sustainability and fresh food” as client companies are looking for healthy weight and healthy life for their employees. Sodexo run gyms, even detox programmes.
Siobhain from Kalbo's and Yours Truly
Margot said they feed 50,000 a day in ireland. “Not frozen food, these are cooked, from scratch, on a daily basis.”

Just before a break for lunch, there was a panel discussion on Digital Marketing and two bits of advice emerged, at least two that I noted. Check out the recent changes in YouTube as they make it more interesting to business. And also have a look at Vine for short video promotions.


If Maureen Gaffney was the morning star then Pádraig Ó’Céidigh caught the attention in the afternoon. The founder of Aer Arann took us on a flight. He started in the Comfort Zone, then challenged us to enter the Stretch Zone before warning us about the perils of the Danger Zone (here, you can damage yourself, he reported, from experience).
Kevin and Réidín from Sage
Citing the small beginnings of what is now the Kerry group in 1972 and the choice made by Clonakilty Black Pudding’s Colette Twomey to run the company after the death of her husband as examples of leaving the comfort zone.

And Padraig is optimistic right now. “This is a great time to be an entrepreneur. There is great optimism out there, great opportunities. Time to leave the comfort zone.”


“There have never been such a demand for good quality food. Be solid on your own two feet, use what’s between your ears. No reason why we can't have another Kerry.”
The world will go on with you or without you. Make sure it’s with you. Believe it and go for it. Never forget your roots and use that little bit of Gaeilge!”

An afternoon panel discussion on our food future produced some interesting points. Martin Shanahan thought too much of our fish is being exported. Country Choice’s Peter Ward urged the industry to be creative, to re-invent our own Irish produce. Chapter One’s Ross Lewis says he sees confidence building in young Irish chefs, “not necessarily mimicking foreign chefs.The industry has changed more in the last three years than in the previous thirty.”


Minister for Tourism Alan Varadkar launched the Good Food Ireland prepaid MasterCard, a food travel passport for visitors to the county’s producers, shops and restaurants and said he was encouraged by progress in tourism numbers this year and employment growth in the industry. He lauded the “great decision” by government colleagues to retain the 9% VAT and acknowledged that lobbying had had its effect and confirmed that there were no plans to increase the rate in the future. We are very much in recovery mode.”
The delegates assembled in the same room for a cracking dinner in the evening. Skeaghanore Duck and Clare Island salmon were the centrepieces, all washed down by superb wines from Classic Drinks.

The awards were announced as the desserts were being served and the large Cork contingent had plenty to cheer about with Midleton's Sage Restaurant, URRU Culinary Store in Bandon, MIlleens Cheese, Kalbo’s Cafe in Skibbereen and Kinsale’s Fishy Fishy all winning their categories.

One of the loudest cheers of the night went to Ballymaloe’s Rory O'Connell who was declared Ambassador of the Year, mainly for his part in feeding, at short notice, 10,000 delegates at the recent Web Summit. Mount Juliet won three awards including the Supreme Award and Restaurant of the Year Award.


All the awards were presented by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny who smilingly indicated there were three women he must listen to: Mrs Kenny, Angela Merkel and Margaret Jeffares (the dynamo behind Good Food Ireland).