Food news with Joe McNamee
Cork’s highly progressive Market Lane Restaurant Group has put money to mouth and unveiled a €3,000 scholarship for a culinary student to continue further studies within the Department of Tourism & Hospitality at CIT.
To celebrate mothership Market Lane restaurant’s 10th year, the group has ponied up funding for an annual scholarship open to all final year culinary students in the Higher Certificate in Culinary Studies programme, allowing them to progress to the Bachelor of Arts in Culinary Arts, which The Menu himself graduated from several years ago, a splendid educational odyssey in one of the best culinary institutes in the country.
Prospective candidates first complete a written component, ‘Is the Future of Irish Food Sustainable?’, with shortlisted candidates then cooking a designed menu for the judges.
(Further details: www.cit.ie).
GIY and Cully & Sully invite secondary school students throughout Ireland to take part in GROW 2 CEO, an initiative combining growing and business skills, designed to unearth future young food entrepreneurs.
Kits provided include seeds, pots and soil along with expert tips from GIY as a series of challenges are allocated along the way, culminating in the delivery of new recipes and business plans for judging.
Finalists participate in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitching session at the wonderful GIY HQ, in Waterford, next May. (www.cullyandsully.com/ourgarden)
Shanagarry Design Centre, in conjunction with Ballymaloe Cookery School, present the inaugural Shanagarry Potato Festival (Nov 25), in a bid to re-imagine the National Tuber, celebrating one of our most traditional foods in the East Cork region where it was first planted.
Events include demos from Darina Allen, a potato art class, making potato prints, horses and men, and competitions (Larges Potato, Funniest Looking Potato, Longest Potato Peel and a potato salad competition) (www.kilkennyshop.com/kkshanevents & www.cookingisfun.ie).
Darina, the hardest working woman in Irish food, also offers a cookery demo (Nov 23) in Ballymaloe Grainstore to raise funds for the Cork Quakers Meeting House Building Project, which does sterling work with the homeless and asylum seekers.
The recently re-opened Oyster Tavern, in one of the alleyways leading to the English Market and a most iconic venue from Cork’s culinary past, host Michelin-starred chef Derry Clarke for Dine With Derry (Nov 21), a five-course tasting menu with matching wines.
A percentage of ticket sales goes to the enormously deserving Cork Penny Dinners and newly installed OT head chef Kate Lawlor, formerly of Fenn’s Quay, also pitches in on the night.
Actor and Celebrity Masterchef finalist Simon Delaney offers a cooking demo and hosts a Thanksgiving Dinner (Nov 23) at Galway’s Twelve Hotel, with the kitchen turning out recipes from Delaney’s recent book, Simply Simon’s: The Diner Cookbook (www.thetwelvehotel.ie).
Ashford Castle host a Midleton Whiskey Tasting Experience (Nov 24) with head distiller Brian Nation showcasing five signature Midleton blends as part of a pre-dinner reception.
The Menu, in common with many parents, wages a continual battle to divert the attentions of his progeny away from sugar’s siren call, which is why he recently embraced the myriad charms of Naturally Cordial, a range of sugar syrups produced by Clodagh Davis, in Wexford, that lets fruity flavours do the heavy lifting while easing off on sugar content.
The Menu is especially taken with the Strawberry & Pink Grapefruit flavour which, even when sampled neat, shows fruit to the fore with sugar nicely underplayed, a little sweetness to soften the acidic propensities of strawberry and citric pink grapefruit, yielding a rather tropical combo, pineapple and banana notes enhancing the primary strawberry.
It is most pleasant indeed with sparkling water but a tincture added to a measure of any of the many fine Irish gins available, along with a single ice cube, proved a marriage made in heaven.
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