The menu: Food service exhibition, RDS Dublin

Catex — Ireland’s largest food service and hospitality exhibition — returns once more to Dublin’s RDS, on February 21-23. 

It is one of the most important events in the annual calendar for professionals in the food sector, with up to 12,000 visitors expected over three days to work their way through a humungous list of exhibitor stands from smaller producers to the biggest players in the industry. 

In addition, there will be all manner of diversion including expert masterclasses, competitions, public debates and discussions and cookery demos. 

The 2017 Irish Barista Championship sees the country’s top baristas battle it out for the right to represent Ireland on the world stage while the 2017 Irish Cocktail Championship sees native mixologists compete for the title of National Cocktail Champion and will then go on to represent Ireland at the World Cocktail Championships in Copenhagen, in October. 

There’s a whole series of cooking competitions at all levels with categories including: Classical Dish, Contemporary Style; Tapas; Asian Ethnic; Irish Lamb; Irish Fish; Irish Pork; Colleges Teams; Mystery Basket; Duck; Decorating Gateau/Torte; and Hot Dessert. 

The very popular Euro-Toques’ Masterclass Arena has demos from some of Ireland’s finest chefs, including Derry Clarke and Sunil Ghai (Pickle), and as always-provocative debates and public discussions.

GO FOR GOURMET

Barnabrow Country House, in east Cork, will host a Gourmet Evening on February 18, beginning with a champagne reception followed by a seven-course dinner from the kitchens of transplanted Scot, Stuart Bowes, Barnabrow’s excellent chef. 

Each course is paired with a wine from the list of ENO wines and is splendid value at €79pp but the smartest bunnies will opt for dinner and B&B, all for €130pp.

SCHOOL GROW PACKS

Irish primary schools can now apply for GIY International’s Sow & Grow Packs to encourage pupils to learn how to grow cress, baby carrots and runner beans. 

As well as seeds, schools will receive a growing guide and all the necessary kit, including soil and grow pots.

CHEF SWAP PROGRAMME

Some of Ireland’s top chefs are taking to the highways and byways of Ireland for a spot of culinary ‘musical chairs’. 

Greene’s chef Bryan McCarthy welcomes Chef JP McMahon, of Galway’s Aniar restaurant, to his MacCurtain St venue as the pair team up for A Four Hands Dinner (February 24) with a modern Irish menu focussing on local, seasonal and foraged ingredients.

Tickets are €120 www.greenesrestaurant.com 021-4552279). 

McMahon has also extended invitations to other top chefs as part of a Chef Swap programme, with Ross Lewis, of Chapter One, heading west to Aniar to collaborate on a 10-courser (February 18) with other Michelin-starred chefs to follow in coming months.

Cost €110 www.aniarrestaurant.ie 091-535947)

TODAY’S SPECIAL

Glenisk Yoghurt

The Menu and his progeny are great fans of live yoghurt, especially when they make it at home. But mindful of those times when there literally is no time

The Menu is always on the lookout for fine local renditions for whenever he is caught short of what is considered an ‘essential’ foodstuff Chez Menu.

The Menu progeny are most impressed indeed with the latest offering from the Glenilen Farm in west Cork, a ‘thick and fruity’ range, it falling into the ‘treat/dessert’ category, it relies more on natural fruit rather than an excess of added sugar, the strawberry flavour being especially popular, especially when popped in the freezer to make ‘froghurt’.

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