The Menu is delighted to herald the return of one the most important Irish food awards, The Irish Food Writers’ Guild Social Responsibility Award.
First introduced last year, it is awarded to an individual, business, or other organisation the Guild finds to have excelled in embracing an ethos of social responsibility.
In 2015, the inaugural awards went to Healthy Food for All, Flanagan’s Field Community (both commended), and Dublin Simon Community’s Soup Run (Hall of Fame), while the overall winner was the Cork-based Bia Food Initiative (BiaFi), an organisation that oversees the distribution of food otherwise destined for landfill to deserving recipients nationwide.
Any individual or organisation, big or small, can nominate either themselves or others to be considered for the award, the key criteria being that the project is well-managed, transparent, and has a positive relationship with its local community.
Nominations will be accepted up to and including August 26 and the winner will be announced in October.
Taste of West Cork
The programme of events for one of the longest running and largest food festivals in the country, Taste of West Cork (September 9-18) has just been launched by chef Derry Clarke, with events in 32 towns and villages and eight islands, spanning the entire West Cork region.
Central to the entire shebang will be the superb local produce from Ireland’s original culinary Garden of Eden.
Highlights include dinners and demos from top national names including Rachel Allen, Martin Shanahan, the aforementioned Clarke, Ireland’s second-ever female Michelin-starred chef Dani Barry, from Belfast, local-turned-national star Rob Krawczyk, and McKennas’ Guide Best Chef 2015 Takashi Miyazaki.
Other events include foraging walks, open-air markets, seminars, and discussions and debates with the Ella McSweeney-chaired Our Farms, Our Food, Our Future (Sept 12) — unmissable for those with an interest in Irish food and farming.
The Menu himself will be donning his apron for several events, with further details here in coming weeks.
And a Taste of Cavan too
The Taste of Cavan food festival (August 12-13) sees some of the biggest names in Irish food assembling in the north-west. Among those strutting their culinary stuff will be Neven Maguire, Rachel Allen, and Richard Corrigan, as well as local heroes Gearóid Lynch (The Olde Post Inn) and Michelin-starred Enda McEvoy (Loam, Galway).
Home Chef of Cavan sees nine amateurs attempt to impress a panel of chefs, including the aforementioned Neven, and the Olde Post Inn present a junior masterchef event.
There will be talks and discussions and more than 120 stalls of superb local produce, not least, one of The Menu’s favourites, Silke Cropp’s Corleggy Cheese, as well as myriad of family-friendly activities.
Condolences to a pioneer
Finally, The Menu would like to offer his condolences to the family of Oliver Hughes on his recent passing.
Among a whole hose of achievements, the man was an indefatigable pioneer in the birth of the modern Irish craft beer movement and anyone who ever spent time in his company will agree he was truly a force of nature and will be much missed.
The familial fatwa on chillis, driven by the domestic matriarchy, continues apace, and this ‘Ban the Burn’ has The Menu and his male progeny forever seeking suitable condiments to add a little post-cooking fire to the belly without drawing down far greater heat from the female side of the house.
Volcano Jalapenos in Lava Liquor is one such product. Pickled in a sweet, gently spiced brine and available in two different strengths, both are an ideal last-minute addition to any dish in need of spicy oomph.
A recent paella of fine Irish seafood was greatly elevated with a sprinkling of same, although No 2 Son was soon calling for the fire extinguisher on foot of a show of epicurean bravado featuring the hotter of the pair.
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