The Menu is very much looking forward to the Mad Hatter’s Taste of Kinsale, as he weaves in and out of the fray to judge the Transition Town 50-mile Meal. Now a global phenomenon, the transition town movement began in Kinsale, and this event is a fine example of citizens putting the ‘epicure’ back into ‘environment’. The long-running Kinsale Food Festival (Oct 11-13) sold-out weeks ago but Paul Flynn and Martin Shanahan, from RTÉ’s Surf n’Turf, return for a demo cook-off (Friday, Oct 11) at Acton’s Hotel, completely free. (www.transitiontownkinsale.org / www.kinsalerestaurants.com). And if he wasn’t swanning around Kinsale on a skite, The Menu would surely be up in Co Tipp, at Cloughtoberfest, a tiny boutique festival of gypsy jazz, craft beer tent and plenty of excellent eating options especially from the wonderful Sarah Baker, of Cloughjordan House. www.cloughtoberfest.com
There was added poignancy shortly after the release last year of Michelin star chef Martijn Kaijuiter’s excellent Let’s Go Disco cookbook following the death of James ‘Jimmy’ Rehill who featured extensively along with the rest of Kajuiter’s crew. Jimmy died aged 25 of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy but even at such a young age, had already crammed in five years at the two-star Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles and was fast fitting in with the Ardmore-based crew in Kajuiter’s kitchen. A memorial cooking demo (Redcastle Hotel, Inishowen, Oct 17), back on his Co Donegal home turf, hosted by his first boss, chef Brian McDermott, features special guest chefs. (www.facebook.com/pages/James-Rehill-Memorial). Meanwhile, Clodagh McKenna does a cooking demo at Rochestown Park Hotel (Oct 9, 7.30pm) in aid of Vicarstown (Matehy) National School, Inniscarra, tickets €20, 087-3953570.
Congrats to O’Gorman’s Meats Farm Shop, Castledermot, Co Kildare, butcher shop of the year at the Irish Craft Butcher’s Association (www.craftbutchers.ie) awards. Speaking of good meat, opportunity arises for a sneak preview tasting of exquisite Toonsbridge Buffalo meat (certain to be one of the food stories of 2014) with a limited amount for sale in O’Sullivan’s Poultry stall in the English Market in Cork and the Toonsbridge (www.therealoliveco.com) outlets, in Limerick and Cork. And, finally, old chums West Cork Garlic, have a limited quantity of their very first West Cork seed garlic available! www.westcorkgarlic.com
When The Menu was but a bairn, his Dear Old Pater restricted kitchen capers to a banana curry dish — a recipe acquired while travelling through Asia — and a fudge recipe, a legacy from his own Dear Sainted Mother, yielding a buttery, sugary vanilla confection that simply melted away on the tongue. Mella’s fudge, especially, with Walnut, is the first fudge since The Menu’s childhood to replicate that little slab of paternal perfection. www.mellasfudge.com