Good Food Ireland at the Hayfield

L to R: Joan Collins (Sage Cafe), Jenny Rose Clarke (The Sandwich Stall) & Kay Harte (Farmgate) 

Redmond O'Donoghue,  Santina Doherty and Peter Malone get to grips with an Arbutus loaf.
Caroline Curtin & Hazel Allen (Ballymaloe) and Alan Kingston (Glenilen )
Good Food Ireland On The Road

Last Wednesday, Chairman Redmond O’Donoghue welcomed the audience as The Good Food Ireland “roadshow” touched down in the Hayfield Manor in a middle of seven consecutive information sessions for its members countrywide. You may see the agenda here

Ciara Jackson heads up the Food and Beverage team at Grant Thornton and presented their recent report on the massive contribution that GFI and its approved providers are making to the Irish economy and how that role may be grown. Each visitor had a copy of the report and you can read more details of the report here

Amazingly, the report team found that almost 70% of GFI producers were unaware of Research and Development tax credits which “give an overall potential tax benefit of 37.5%” of the expense incurred. Worth checking out!

Margaret Jeffares, Founder & Managing Director of Good Food Ireland, then took the mike and gave a special welcome to two friends of Ireland from the US who were in the audience: Rachel Gaffney and Ginger Aarons.

“Five years on and we have a great group of businesses behind the GFI brand. But this is only the beginning,” summed up her optimistic speech, reinforcing what the chairman had earlier outlined about Food Tourism.
Rachel Gaffney (left), Margaret Jeffares and yours truly at the Hayfield
It may be the next big thing but Margaret is under no illusions and left no else under any doubt. “There is more to do.” And then she encouraged members to look out for one another which is one of the reasons they joined in the first place. “Refer customers onwards to one another ...our small staff will help, by distributing some 400,000 food tourist maps this year, half of them to Hertz Car Rental..all this helps grow your business but it is essential you play your part..we can’t do it all for you.”

The initial website has helped Good Food Ireland establish itself in the past five years but now it is time to change. And Santina Doherty revealed exciting plans for the second generation website which should be online by early Autumn.

I have seen Peter Malone of Nenagh’s Country Choice, who has been with GFI since the beginning, speak on a few occasions and just love the way he gets down to basics: buckets of blood at Jack McCarthy’s in Kanturk, spuds at the Hayfield.

He also spoke passionately about another basic: integrity. “The producer is our friend. Don’t screw him or her!” There must be an honest relationship between the restaurants/hotels and their producers and between them and their customers. Respect, honesty and fairness were his key words. The more we pull together, the further we will go.

A question and answer session then followed and before the conference broke up, members were busily making contact with one another, as if already taking the founder’s words to heart. Rachel Gaffney, who brings a planeload of Escoffiers here next April, was surrounded as she had indicated the gourmet tour would be in the Cork area and so quite a few of the local providers, mainly restaurateurs, took the opportunity to put their names down. Networking at work!