Having adopted a ‘low profile’ for the month of January, The Menu will be kicking out the jams in fine fashion at what promises to be one of the culinary events of the year ahead, an exclusive sake dinner, on February 4, in the serene sanctuary of chef Takashi Miyazaki’s Michelin-starred Ichigo Ichie, in Cork City. It will feature six sakes from the restaurant’s renowned suppliers, Yuichi Hashimoto, paired with a full kaiseki menu featuring Takashi’s exquisite Japanese take on superb Irish produce. It is an opportunity not only to sample his sublimely rendered dishes but to experience the full flavour spectrum and innate culinary compatibility of one of the world’s great alcoholic beverages, often freighted with a complexity and sophistication of taste to equal that of finest wines. Booking is essential and only by email. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Killarney-based chef, Chad Byrne, founder of Chef Collab and recipient of The Menu’s 2019 Food Hero accolade, is the brains behind the inaugural Cork County Cooking Championships (February 3), a county-by-county competition he hopes will eventually become an all-Ireland event to drum up enthusiasm for cheffing as a career while at the same time promoting the very finest of local Irish produce.
The Cork leg takes place in the city’s Metropole Hotel with ten chefs cooking a five-courser, two chefs going head to head in each ‘round’. With some of the best chefs in the county (Eddie Atwell, Stuart Dardis, Richard Milnes, Pat Ferriter, Alex Petit, Niall Mooney, Trevor O’Keefe, Aishling Moore, and Bryan McCarthy) strutting their stuff in two teams of five, there promises to be some cracking cooking, all conducted on a portable kitchen in front of the dining audience. The Menu is delighted to be judging along with his comrade, culinary scribe Kate Ryan, with all diners also adding their votes to the pot. The five winning chefs will then go on to represent Team Cork in the eventual Munster Championships which includes a €2,000 prize.(Tickets available from eventbrite.ie)
Cork Food Policy Council unveils its latest project, an interactive food map, at Cork’s Food Landscape: Interactive Insights (January 22), at Cork University Business School on Lapp’s Quay. It is an event The Menu is delighted to host and speak at along with Janas Harrington (chair, policy council), Kaspurs Puspurs (School of Public Health, UCC), Caitriona Twomey (Cork Penny Dinners), Virginia O’Gara (My Goodness), and JJ Healy (CIT).
The map is part of a larger, ongoing project aimed at developing a complete profile of Cork’s food system, to identify and address food-related issues affecting the local populace, particularly around the areas of food poverty and social inclusion, among the topics covered on the night, along with sustaining a food business in the city and the Cork Urban Soil Project.(Entry is free but booking is essential: eventbrite.ie)
When The Menu was last abroad in dearest Dingle, he self-medicated as always with a delicious cuppa Joe in the very splendid Bean in Dingle and also procured himself a very fine bag of beans roasted in-house, El Venado, from Costa Rica, a sweet and nutty, chocolatey roast of medium body and acidity with a perky little citric nip, a very nice roast indeed. But, truth be told, for once The Menu wasn’t so much swayed by yet another fine Irish caffeinated production as by the utterly gorgeous vessel containing said beans, a beautifully designed tin, liveried in matte lime-yellow with all the relevant bumph rendered in a clean black sans serif alongside a simple line drawing, making for a design classic he would have purchased with the same pleasure had it been full of mere gravel.(beanindingle.com)