The menu: Calling young Gustatory Gaels

The Menu is delighted to hear the revised format for the San Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 means it is now a truly global competition open to some of the aforementioned young gustatory gaels. 

To apply, chefs have to be employed as a chef/sous chef/chef de partie and under 30 years of age. With the Grand Final to be held during the Expo Milano 2015 in Italy, closing date for applications is Oct 31. Further details: 


The Savour Food Festival (Oct 24-27) is in full flight in Kilkenny. The Menu will be joining fellow food writers on stage to be presented with a bag of mystery ingredients and just 20 minutes to cook and serve a dish to the august panel of judges for Can The Critics Cook? Parade Plaza, hosts a big food market on Sunday featuring many of Ireland’s top producers and a whole host of free events including a Craft Beer/Cider v Wine Smackdown, demos from Cormac Rowe and Ken Harker (Michelin-starred Mount Juliet) and Kevin Dundon.


International Bartender of the Year 2013, Belfast-born Jack McGarry jets in from NYC’s The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog to teach a few masterclasses at Whiskey Live (Oct 25) in the Mansion House.Organised by the Celtic Whiskey Shop, €10 of the €37.50 ticket price goes to Down Syndrome Dublin ( ). Younger thrillseekers frequenting Cork’s Nightmare Realm scare-house attraction can at least avoid the heebie-jeebies on that front by presenting their Nightmare Realm ticket at The Sextant or Sober Lane to avail of a some food and beverage special offers ( ).


Slow Food East Cork present a very interesting (and rather self-explanatory) event with Cora Doherty, Neonatologist, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, entitled You Are What Your Mother Eats (Oct 28) at Ballymaloe Cookery School (enquiries/bookings: & 021 4646785). All proceeds go to the East Cork Slow Food Educational Project. Taste of Ballyhoura (Oct 24-27) taking place over the weekend in the lovely town of Kilmallock, is an intriguing mixture of food and drama with the food angle covering demos from chef Brian McDermott and the Ballyhoura Secondary Schools Masterchef Competition. The Dell Blindtasting, River Lee Hotel (Oct 30) with additional raffle is in aid of the Irish Guide Dogs. No great hardship when faced with the prospect of a fine five-courser from chef Shane O’Sullivan (Bookings )

Today’s Special

One may arch a brow at the notion of a suitably qualified native Irish substitute for pesto, one of Italy’s finest culinary achievements, but The Menu was more than pleasantly surprised upon first sampling organic outlet The Happy Pear’s Lovely Basil Pesto.

While not entirely faithful to the original recipe, the deviations (cider vinegar and cashew nuts) work well, yielding a clean, nutty concoction with a delightful citric bite all with the added bonus of knowing there are none of the myriad pesticides present in so much of the industrially-produced Italian offerings. 

Beer of the week

Carrig Brewing Brazen Amber Ale – 4.2% ABV, 500ml - €3.49

Stockists: Galvins, Egans Portlaoise, Blarney Off-Licence, Baggot St. Wines, Castle Off-Licence Tralee, World Wide Wines.

Carrig Brewing from Drumshanbo in Co Leitrim launched in 2012 and opened their own brewery this year in the old Lairds Jam factory (previously they brewed under contract with Bo Bristle). I’ve yet to taste a beer of theirs that I didn’t love at first taste.

Brazen Amber Ale has a gold-red colour, a rich caramel aroma, a fruity malt flavour and a hop-influenced bitter kick on the finish.

Also watch out for Rowers Red, Poachers Pale Ale, the 4.8% Pilsner and the soon to be launched Coalface Black IPA.


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