Celebrity chefs and soap stars adding culinary clout to Foodie Destination bids

The North's only representative in the search for The Restaurants Association of Ireland's Foodie Destination of the Year received a massive shot in the arm recently with ringing endorsements from a multi award winning Michelin starred chef and a Coronation Street favourite.

The popular chef, Jean-Christophe Novelli and well know soap star, Sean Wilson (Martin Platt) threw their culinary clout behind the Derry campaign to be crowned Ireland’s Foodie Destination 2016 during Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink.

Derry is one of the top ten finalists shortlisted by the Restaurants Association of Ireland for the Foodie Destination title and the only contender from Northern Ireland vying for thegastronomic crown with its ‘LegenDerry and Local’ food offer.

The winning destination will be decided by online public voting (50%) and the results of the judges’ visit (50%), which included Derry this week. The ten finalists are Derry, The Burren (2015 Foodie Towns winner), Boyne Valley, Cong, Kilkenny, Loop Head, Dublin Coastal Villages (Howth, Malahide, Skerries), Monaghan, Sligo and Leitrim.

Voting continues  HERE until 12pm on Friday, September 9th.

Turning the heat up on Derry’s bid Novelli, who was a huge hit with foodie fans during his special guest appearance at the Clipper Race Kitchens organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council as part of the Foyle Maritime Festival in July this year, said he was surprised at the number of fabulous places to eat in Derry and said he believed more recognition should be given to what was happening that part of Ireland.

Jean-Christophe, dubbed “the UK’s favourite French chef” sampled signature dishes at several local restaurants during his recent overnight visit to Derry.

“Having been to Northern Ireland many times, my most recent visit being to Derry, I was surprised at the number of fabulous places to eat offering such high quality produce. There a distinct lack of culinary awards given to the establishments and more recognition should be given to this part of Ireland.”

Former Coronation Street actor Sean Wilson, who has played the role of Martin Platt in the long-running TV soap before following his other passion as a trained chef and cheese-maker of distinction, also urged everyone to get behind Derry.

“I have always been passionate about food and that is definitely something I have in common with foodies in Derry. I had a great time at the Big Cheese and Beer event in April when I got a chance to meet many of the local food ambassadors - chefs, restaurateurs, artisan food producers and craft beer brewers. There is no doubt that Derry deserves to be Foodie Destination 2016 and I would urge everyone to help the city win the title by voting for Derry before September 9th!"

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