Showing posts with label The Night of 1000 Feats. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Night of 1000 Feats. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Kilkenny’s Night of a 1000 Feasts.

Kilkenny’s Night of a 1000 Feasts
Town of Food a Step Closer
Hazel, top left, with just some of her guests at the Feast.
On Sunday evening we left our lovely base at Rosquil House to head to our Feast, part of the Night of a 1000 Feasts in Kilkenny. Our Feast, one of about two thousand registered as it turned out, was quite close and at about 7.00pm we were warmly greeted by Hazel and three generations of her family, all celebrating the 76th birthday of her father.

Hazel is a fabulous cook and really loves to bake and the tables were groaning under the weight of a very colourful and tasty feast. The conversation flowed, not least because there were some relations home from Canada. We had a lovely evening with the family and a big thank you to Hazel and husband Richard.

The 1000 Feasts project, while obviously having a huge social element, was also designed as a fund-raiser  towards the Town of Food Project. This is a huge Leader funded project that is located in Thomastown but the local people had to raise some €180,000 themselves. It was down to about €25,000 before the weekend and hopefully a good bit less at this stage. Read all about the project here.
Happy Birthday!
Our group were brought to see the project on Monday afternoon and met Francis Nesbitt, the co-ordinator. He told us it is based in the old school (built 1947) and that the builders had been in since mid-July and will finish in about six weeks.

There will be a lot of community involvement, at all levels, including gardening and cooking. There will be a community kitchen club to benefit many, including fledgling food producers who won't have to kit out their own kitchens to make a start. There will also be a training kitchen. This will be state of the art, as no less than €105,000 has been spent on equipment. “Everything you could think of.”

There will of course be all kinds of cooking courses going on here but don't run away with the idea that this will be for amateurs only. Thomastown won this project in a competition with other towns so there will be some serious education going on here, including chef training.

“We want motivated people here….We want to create a pipeline of kitchen-ready chefs..their learning will be one half here, the other half in restaurants.” This is a fantastic project and the few paragraphs above only give you a hint of what's in store. Please check it out on the website.

Francis (left) meets the Town of Food bloggers.
The day of a “1000 Feasts” began for me with a bloggers meet-up at the main gate of the castle. After the introductions, we made our way to the National Craft Gallery, the venue for one of Jim Carroll’s Banter on Food series, this episode entitled War Stories from the Kitchen.

Pichet’s Denise was among the panelists and she said you have to be a little bit crazy and one hundred per cent passionate to open your doors to public scrutiny. John Healy agreed that the industry is “addictive”. One big danger is that people go into it for the love of food and with no idea about the business side. Overall though the panel agreed that standard has “gone away up” over  the last ten to fifteen years.

Carroll then steered the discussion, mentioning Anthony Bourdain’s rather ancient book Kitchen Confidential, to the war in the kitchen! But no big news there really. Yes, flare-ups are inevitable and management has to be ready for it, “people skills required”.

By now it was time for lunch so the group (about 14 strong) headed off to the Podge Meade’s Bula Bus, a former unit of the fleet in Manchester city but now parked up at the back of Billy Byrne’s pub. The kitchen is downstairs and the upper deck is laid out as a restaurant, serving wild and foraged street food. Venison, mushroom and rabbit (which I enjoyed) featured on the menu last Sunday.

We had some time to ourselves after lunch and I headed back around the many market stalls on the Parade and enjoyed a glass of Costello’s Red Ale in company with Colm McCann and Pascal Rossignol who had just finished their second Wine v Beer show, a show that also featured Caroline Hennessy.

We would meet Gabriella of Costello’s again in our last group engagement here. This was in the Leader tent where we chatted with some emerging producers including Eadaoin's Kitchen, Bob and Joan’s Jams, Butterfly Valley (Cookie Mixes), Richie O’Brien (Honey) and Inistioge Food (Marinades). Our bag included some of those marinades and we’re looking forward to trying them soon, so watch this space!

See also:

Rabbit at the Bula Bus

Friday, October 17, 2014

Come Savour The Night of 1000 Feasts in Kilkenny!

Come Savour The Night of 1000 Feasts in Kilkenny!

Next Sunday week, I’ll be having an evening meal in Kilkenny. But I have no idea as to the venue. If you'd like to know more, read on …. 
Kilkenny will be cooking up a storm as hundreds of homes in the City and County throw open their doors for a mouth-watering Night of 1000 Feasts on October 26th.
A major appeal has been issued to food lovers to organise a feast at home, on their streets, in their local community centres, in local restaurants or hotels to raise funds for the Town of Food project.
“Whether it is simple or extravagant it doesn't matter.  We want everyone in Kilkenny feasting on Sunday 26th October, during the Savour Kilkenny Festival, to celebrate good food, friendship and to support this very important project at the same time”, according to project coordinator Francis Nesbitt.
Nesbitt said that this is the first time an event like this, where hundreds of people are feasting in their homes at the same time for a common cause has been tried in Ireland.
 He added: “Kilkenny is one of Ireland’s top food destinations with World class artisan producers, chefs and restaurants. The Night of 1000 Feasts will be a major celebration of our food culture. Nothing like this has been tried in Ireland before but we feel it perfectly captures our love of good food and the community based nature of the Town of Food project.”
Organised as part of the Savour Kilkenny Food Festival, which is on from October 24th – 27th, the Night of 1000 Feasts may be enjoyed by some far from the Marble City. “We will be reaching out to the Kilkenny Diaspora to take part, register their Feast on our website and tell us all about their Feast online”, promises Nesbitt.
 Town of Food Chairman, John O’Connor suggests that in this fast moving World people don’t take the proper time to prepare, cook and appreciate food with their loved ones. “This is the perfect opportunity to gather friends and to make a great night of it.” 
Those hosting meals are asked to register their feast on the Town of Food website and friends attending can make a financial contribution to the project. Registered hosts will be entered into a draw to win a major prize.
“Well known Food Bloggers from all over Ireland will be heading to Kilkenny to join in and report on the Feasts. We’re sure that the live-tweeting of photos from some of the Feasts are sure to have everyone salivating”, Susan FitzGerald, one half of ‘Green and Vibrant’ who are organizing the Bloggers' visit, said. "Savour Kilkenny is already one of the most mouth-watering events in the Irish festival calendar. The Night of 1000 Feasts will bring that fun, tasty buzz right into peoples’ homes, and via the Bloggers' live tweeting people around the world can join in with the Kilkenny craic! Keep your eye on the hashtag #1000Feasts to follow the fun!"
Town of Food is a community led initiative aimed at promoting Kilkenny as an important food destination. It aims to support the production and promotion of local, quality food ingredients and to develop an educational food hub to attract professional and amateur cookery students.
The project will be based in a custom developed Food Education and Incubation centre in the former Boy’s National School in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny. A training garden and community space will also be developed there.
Thomastown is an established tourism and food destination nestled on the River Nore and home to the renowned Mount Juliet estate which boasts the Michelin Star rated restaurant Lady Helen.
Under the EU Rural Development Programme, LEADER will provide funding to Town of Food of up to €750,000 for Building works, marketing and training to the end of 2015. In order to access these funds, Town of Food must raise €182,000 in ‘matched funding’ through donations, fundraising and sponsorship.
For more information contact: Mag Kirwan 086-8188340 or  Project Coordinator, Francis Nesbitt 087 236 8555