The Menu: The Great Irish Food Quiz, CFPC food awards, Young Chef of the Year and Thanksgiving

Food news with Joe McNamee.

Fine quizine

The Menu is currently to be found burrowed deep in the entrails of his culinary library in preparation for the return of what is fast becoming a most excellent annual tradition. The Great Irish Food Quiz (November 23), in aid of Down Syndrome Ireland, is a cause especially dear to his heart.

Organised by chef Áine Maguire, of the Idle Wall in Westport, and taking place in Dublin’s Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, the quiz is a highly competitive, enjoyable affair as four-person teams, featuring the good and the great of the Irish food world, compete for some truly magnificent prizes and, even more, the kudos that come to the winner.

Only pre-booked and pre-paid teams are accepted on the night with fee of €100 per table of four, payable on booking. the-great-irish-food-quiz-2016

Sustainable food awards

The Menu greatly welcomes the existence of the Cork Food Policy Council, which works towards promoting a sustainable local food system in the city and county, with an emphasis on health and social responsibility. So he is very happy to bring tiding to the CFPC’s new sustainable food awards programme.

The awards programme is designed to acknowledge and celebrate sustainable food practices and CFPC is seeking entries from all over Cork City and county in three categories: Commercial enterprises or individual; non-profit; and educational.

Successful applicants will be acknowledged at a special event in City Hall in January, with one outstanding candidate from each category receiving a cash prize of €500, donated by SuperValu. Closing date for applications is November 30.

Cooking up future stars

Last year, former Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year (2013) Mark Moriarty went on to pick up the accolade of San Pelligrino World Young Chef of the Year 2015, facing off competition from all over the globe at the finals in Italy.

Previous winners of the Irish Euro-Toques chapter’s prestigious annual competition have included Neven Maguire and Gearóid Lynch, so interest is always high in the identity of the finalists, all potential future stars of the hospitality world.

This year the six finalists face off (November 27) in Chapter One restaurant in front of a panel of chef judges, including the two-starred British chef Nathan Outlaw and Great Irish Bake-Off judge Paul Kelly. The grand prize includes an all expenses paid stage at Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, in Cornwall, to be trained under Outlaw himself.

Thanksgiving meal

The Menu freely admits that Thanksgiving (November 24) has never remotely featured in his culinary calendar of celebratory feasts, it being a national holiday from a parish far west of any he more usually frequents. He finds the notion of eating turkey twice in 12 months especially challenging.

This year, especially, he imagines more than a few citizens of the aforementioned parish are struggling after their recent election to work out if they have anything to be thankful for at all, at all. But for those of a mind to flutter the stars and stripes and fill their bellies with all manner of classic American dishes, Dublin’s Suesey Street hosts a Thanksgiving Lunch and Dinner for just €34.50 pp.

Today’s special

The Menu has just taken delivery of a most intriguing confection from the Lismore Food Company: Dark Chocolate Crisp Apple Thins. They are wafer-thin slices of apple dipped in dark Belgian chocolate, a combination that simply shouldn’t work.

Yet The Menu near consumed the entire package trying to establish why he found them so oddly compelling. Perhaps it is the tart finish to the sweet apple that somehow manages to ride successfully above the smoky cocoa notes. Then again maybe it is the packaging itself, a box so handsome The Menu wondered whether it might even cost more to produce than the not-insignificant confectionery within — either way, he highly advises a tasting.


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