The Menu: Food news with Joe McNamee

Here’s what’s going on in the world of Irish food:
The Menu: Food news with Joe McNamee

Cork’Kerry Food Market

The Menu will be sporting the spandex pants for there will be savage eating altogether to be done at the Cork/Kerry Food Market (Nov 4), a humongous gathering of over 70 speciality food producers from the aforementioned counties, all showcasing their splendid produce in Cork City Hall. Free to the public, the event is hosted by Local Enterprise Offices in Cork and Kerry and includes a craft brewing hub as well as demos from chef Kevin Dundon and The Happy Pear brothers, along with plenty of other family entertainment options.

... and then to Pakistan

The immensely talented Sumayya Usmani cooks a special pop-up dinner (Nov 8) at Ballymaloe House, showcasing the superb Pakistani cuisine of her homeland. Now based in Glasgow, Sumayya’s cookbooks have fast become great favourites of The Menu’s. Ticket includes pre-dinner drink, nibbles, dinner with accompanying drink. (

Global experience

A Far-Fetched Dinner (Oct 29), in Loam Restaurant, Galway, sounds unmissable. Featuring four stars of the Irish food scene, Australian Damien Grey (Heron & Grey), Finn Mickael Viljanen (The Greenhouse), New Zealander Jess Murphy (Kai) and Japanese Takashi Miyazaki (Miyazaki), long since adopted as our own, they will be joined by five Syrian refugee chefs to cook a magnificent feast served with matching wines. The evening will also launch a new initiative from the featured chefs in collaboration with GMIT, establishing three funded scholarships in catering for young chefs in direct provision.


Meanwhile, as part of the Market Lane group’s training programme, younger chefs are being offered the opportunity to shine with a pop-up night (Nov 5) in Orso, featuring a tasting menu of their own creation (

At home in Rhone

One of The Menu’s preferred choices of wines from the Rhone Valley. He and fellow Irish Examiner scribe Leslie Williams team up to attend a splendid Rhone wine dinner at Greene’s Restaurant (Nov 8), in Cork as part of Rhone Wine Week, just one of a myriad of such events taking place around the country including: the Boyne Valley Dinner (Nov 3) at the Station House, in Meath; Beaucastel Dinner with La Rousse Wines at Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud (Nov 8); O’Connells Restaurant in Donnybrook host a Wine Pairing Dinner (Nov 10) and Cork’s Imperial Hotel host a Delas Wine Dinner with Febvre (Nov 10) (

Mark Murphy of the very excellent Dingle Cookery School ( leads a two-day butchery and curing course (Nov 4/5). There’s a photography weekend (Nov 3/4) at the Dingle Skellig Hotel, including two nights full B&B, dinner and workshop with photographer Bernard Geraghty. (


The Menu was once exceedingly fond of sushi until it became Mrs Menu’s go-to craving for the duration of one particular confinement that saw The Menu out with his rolling mat three or four times a week for the duration of the pregnancy and while said regime yielded a beautiful boy child Menu, it also birthed a distinct antipathy towards sushi amongst the parental Menus, a condition from which they are only slowly recovering.

A most healing part of the process has been the fare on offer from Chris McKinley, of Okawari Sushi, who acquired his sushi skills in the Japanese homeland of his wife. A tray procured one fine morning in Mahon Point Farmer’s Market contained a light and springy savoury-sweet tamago yaki, a lovely fresh ‘California roll’ of avocado, smoked salmon and green leaves, and nigiri, glistening slivers of raw mackerel atop a handrolled ‘slug’ of sticky, starchy rice and another smoked salmon rendition of same for luck. That Chris himself catches much of the fish used only adds to the quality.

Check it out at Wilton, Douglas or Mahon Point Farmers’ Markets.

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