At a lavish ceremony in Dublin yesterday, more than 300 hoteliers, restaurateurs, and artisan food producers turned out for what is now a firm fixture in the food and travel awards calendar.
The main award, the Good Food Ireland Supreme Award, went to Aniar Restaurant Galway, the newest recipient of a Michelin Star and the only star in the West.
Other winners included The Foods of Athenry for Producer of the Year, Restaurant FortyOne at Residence, Dublin, for Restaurant of the Year, and The Food Store in Mayo for Local Food Shop of the Year. The Farmgate in Midleton, Co Cork, took the award for Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year while Cookery School of the Year went to Ballymaloe Cookery School, Co Cork.
Speaking at the ceremony, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the hospitality sector was crucial to Ireland’s recovery.
“More and more, Irish counties, towns, and villages are becoming associated with their locally produced and artisan food and these are a unique selling point to our visiting tourists. This evening’s event recognises the very hard work of those in the food and hospitality sector and highlights the potential of food tourism.
“It also marks how critical this sector is to our economy and how it will be at the heart of our economic recovery.”
Founder and managing director of Good Food Ireland, Margaret Jeffares, said Irish food could compete against that of any other country in the world.
“This year’s winners showcase the growing innovation and high standards in Irish ingredient-led cuisine. They reflect the culture of our island and can stand up to the best food experience anywhere in the world.”
Good Food Ireland was established by Ms Jeffares at her farm in Wexford in Nov 2006 to link the agrifood and hospitality sectors.
Well over 70% of Irish people believe popular brands such as Lyons Tea, Siúcra, and HB are produced in Ireland.
A study by Love Irish Food into the grocery market here found 80% believe imported Siúcra was produced in Ireland, 77% believe Lyons Tea is made here, and 71% that the imported HB is made here.
Similarly, it found that many Irish-made brands were mistakenly assumed to be imported — including Irish brands Zumo Juice and Bachelors peas and beans.
Love Irish Food said the results indicate that more needs to be done to tackle confusion over which brands are produced here and which are imported. The group said the confusion in particular surrounded brands which have Irish- sounding names or may previously have been manufactured here.
Kieran Rumley, executive director of Love Irish Food said: “While we welcome recent announcements regarding the food labelling taskforce we feel that it is the collective responsibility of all those in the industry who are serious about supporting Irish jobs to do more to address this confusion.”
He said the Love Irish Food symbol provides a clear signpost for brands which are made in Ireland and called on retailers and other industry members to work with the group to ensure it is clearly displayed.
Conall Ó Fátharta
* Good Food Ireland Supreme Award of the Year 2012/13: Aniar Restaurant in Galway
* Good Food Ireland Producer of the Year 2012/13: The Foods of Athenry in Galway
* Good Food Ireland Restaurant of the Year: FortyOne at Residence in Dublin
* Good Food Ireland Food Pub of the Year 2012/13: Hargadons in Sligo
* Good Food Ireland Local Food Shop of the Year 2012/13: The Food Store in Mayo
* Good Food Ireland Café of the Year 2012/13: Café Rua in Mayo
* Good Food Ireland Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year 2012/13: Farmgate in Midleton, Co Cork
* Good Food Ireland Cookery School of the Year 2012/13: Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ballymaloe, Co Cork
* Good Food Ireland Culinary Hotel of the Year 2012/13: BrookLodge in Co Wicklow
* Good Food Ireland Culinary Haven 2012/13: Renvyle House Hotel in Galway
* Good Food Ireland Food Lover’s Choice Award 2012/13: Kai Café and Restaurant in Galway
* Good Food Ireland Newcomer of the Year South (joint winners): Sage Restaurant in Cork and Mount Juliet in Kilkenny
* Good Food Ireland Newcomer of the Year West: Aniar Restaurant in Galway
* Good Food Ireland Newcomer of the Year North: Balloo House in Down
* Good Food Ireland Newcomer of the Year East: Harte’s Bar and Grill in Kildare
* Good Food Ireland Overall Newcomer of the Year: Aniar Restaurant in Galway