Food awards calls for legislative recognition

GREATER legislative recognition of the country’s traditional and artisan methods of food production was demanded at an awards ceremony in Dublin yesterday.

Ireland’s top chefs’ organisation, Euro-toques, honoured five food producers and individuals for making an outstanding contribution to the quality of food available in Ireland today.

Commissioner-general of Euro-toques Ireland, Martin Dwyer, said its aim was to protect and promote small artisan producers.

“These awards are a way of recognising some of the best and showing our gratitude to them for providing us with the raw materials we need to produce excellent food,” he said.

Three of the awards went to small food producers — Born Free Chickens, a joint venture between two free range organic chickens producers, Paul Crotty, Dunmore East, Co Waterford, and brothers’ Dan and JJ Ahern in Dungourney, Co Cork; Glebe Brethan Cheese, Tiernan Family Farm, Dunleer, Co Louth and Ariosa Coffee Company, Ashbourne, Co Meath.

Louis Smith, a culinary arts lecturer at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and self-educated mushroom expert, and Veronica Steele, Milleens Cheese, Castletownbere, Co Cork, who taught many of Ireland’s top cheese producers the art of cheese-making, were the other award winners.

Celebrity cook, author and television presenter Rachel Allen, of Ballymaloo Cookery School, who presented the awards, sponsored by Cavan Crystal Design and Cavan Crystal Hotel, said there is plenty to be proud of in terms of Irish food today.

“But we would never have reached this point without the tireless determination of a small group of passionate people.

“These annual awards recognise those who have paved the way and those who continue to work to ensure the availability of excellent food,” she said.

Representatives of the main food bodies, top chefs, producers and media gathered for the champagne reception and award ceremony, followed by a lunch prepared by Euro-toques chef Darrin Parrish.

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