Meet the Culinary Team from Ireland going to Hotelympia this Week

A group of professional Irish Chefs from the Northwest of Ireland have come together and founded a new Regional Culinary Team which intends to compete as an independent Culinary Team at Hotelympia, London, next week.


The Northwest Culinary Team comprises some of the top chefs from counties Donegal , Leitrim & Sligo who have all taken part, very successfully, in international culinary competitions in the past. Earlier this year the North West Culinary team took 4 Golds, 4 Silvers and 6 Bronze Medals at the Chef Ireland International competition held in the RDS Dublin. From this achievement was born their desire to enter a team into one of the world’s most prestigious culinary competitions, Hotelympia.



Hotelympia is the UK & Ireland’s largest hospitality and food service event and the most important event of 2014 for people involved in the hospitality industry and the Salon Culinaire is at the centre of Hotelympia for all chefs. Over 8,000 chefs visit the event and for many, the three different sections of Salon Culinaire are the principle reason for their visit.

The Northwest Culinary Team Captain  is international award winning chef Joe Clinton

The Northwest Culinary Team comprises some of the top chefs from counties Donegal , Leitrim & Sligo who have all taken part, very successfully, in international culinary competitions in the past. Earlier this year the North West Culinary team took 4 Golds, 4 Silvers and 6 Bronze Medals at the Chef Ireland International competition held in the RDS Dublin. From this achievement was born their desire to enter a team into one of the world’s most prestigious culinary competitions, Hotelympia.


Hotelympia is a world-class culinary competition and the largest of its kind in the UK & Ireland consisting of three elements: fine dining restaurant La Parade des Chefs, stunning culinary creations in Salon Display and the live competition thrills of the Live Theatre.

La Parade des Chefs is the fine dining experience at the very heart of Hotelympia, where competing teams of chefs from around the world cook for visitors and their guests. The newly formed Northwest Culinary Team say they are determined to win La Parade des Chefs!


Meet the Northwest Culinary Team going to Hotelympia


Joe Clinton, Dee Clinton, Gabriel McSharry, Billy Grimes

John Kelly, Alan Fitzmaurice, Tony Campbell, Sylvester Dolan

“We have about 25 members in the complete team between the 8 main Exhibition Chefs and the backup team. These are both young & senior men and women who want to promote the local region in terms of tourism and in particular our regional food,” said Gabriel McSharry, the Team Manager. “We believe that we have the best quality food in the world produced locally and at our fingertips and we want to expose this great food product to the rest of the world. Our shores contain an abundance of beautiful seafood, sea vegetables and a host of other marine foods. Our fields are filled with wonderful organic fruit and vegetables.”

“We are looking forward to competing as an international culinary team at Hotelympia London next week and we look forward to putting our skills and knowledge, as professional Chefs, to the test, without fear on the world stage!” said Joe Clinton.  “We will take this opportunity to promote Ireland and our North West region which will hopefully create more tourism and hospitality jobs in our region.”

The Northwest Culinary Team Facebook page is

You can Follow the team at @NWCulinaryTeam on Twitter as they will be Tweeting as they go, Live from London.

Best of Success guys!


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Roast Lamb with Fresh Mint Sauce

Easter Sunday was always a big occasion in our house when I was growing up as Lent was finally over and we hadn’t eaten a sweet thing for the last 40 days! The smell of a roasting spring lamb with garlic is one of those meals that can take your mind back to your childhood and make your mouth water at the thought of it!



The history of the Easter Sunday roast Lamb goes back to the biblical Passover of the Jewish people. A sacrificial lamb was roasted and eaten with unleavened bread and herbs in the hope that the angel of God would “pass over” their home and bring no harm. Christians often refer to Jesus as The Lamb of God and as religions merged, lamb became the traditional meat for Easter Sunday.



Easter Sunday Roast Lamb with Fresh Mint Sauce


1 Leg of Lamb off the bone (about 4lb feeds 8 people)

6 cloves of fresh Garlic

1 bunch of Rosemary

50g Butter

Freshly ground Pepper & Salt


Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Place the Leg of Lamb on a roasting tray.


Score the leg of lamb with a sharp knife making 1/2″ deep incisions and push the garlic cloves and sprigs of rosemary into the cuts in the meat. Rub the butter all over the leg and sprinkle liberally with freshly ground pepper and salt.


Cook the lamb for about 1 hour 20 minutes, turning it over half way through and spoon the juices over the meat every half hour. 20 minutes per pound will give you a medium cooked meat – adjust the timing to your own taste.


Transfer the meat to another tray and cover with a clean dish cloth, to rest for 10 minutes, before you cut it. This allows all the muscle to relax and makes the meat really juicy and tender.



Roast Gravy

To make the gravy, place the roasting tray on top of the stove over a moderate heat, use a scraper to lift all the tasty residues off the bottom of the tray and let the juices caramelise a little for about 1 minute. Spoon off any excess fat and add a pint of cold water. Bring this to the boil and let it reduce down by half. Strain the meat juices into a small pan.


Thicken the gravy with a simple roux. This is made by pouring 2 tbls of olive oil into a cup and adding 2 tbls flour and stirring this together into a paste. Whisk a little roux into your hot juices. It will thicken immediately. Let it cook out for another minute.




Fresh Mint Sauce

50g  finely chopped fresh Mint

2 tablespoons white Sugar

2 tablespoons Vinegar

75ml Water

3 tbsp freshly squeezed Lemon juice


Combine the water, sugar, vinegar & lemon juice in a small pot and bring back to the boil. Cook for 1 minute until the liquid thickens slightly and then add the chopped mint. Turn off the heat and pour it into a serving jug and refrigerate until required.



Roasted Vegetables

1 lb Each of carrots, parsnips & white turnip, peeled and chopped into 1″ chunks

2 red onions, peeled and cut into eight

Olive oil

Salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Put the vegetables in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss about to coat them. Transfer them to a roasting tin and spread out into a single layer. Cook for 20-30 minutes until tender.



Champ Potatoes

Add some chopped scallions, salt, a little white pepper and some butter to your mashed potatoes to make Champ Potatoes to serve with your Roast Lamb.


Enjoy & Happy Easter!


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Taste the Cream of Irish Chowder at this weekend’s All-Ireland Chowder Championship in Kinsale

Kinsale Good Food Circle want your help to find the best chowder chef in Ireland. A representative from each of the 32 counties will compete for the title of “All-Ireland Chowder Champion” at the 4th Annual All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off 2014.

Building on the huge success of last year’s Chowder Cook-Off, Ireland’s gourmet capital is pleased to announce that this year’s event will take place at Acton’s Hotel, Kinsale on Sunday 13th April from 2pm to 4pm. Everyone attending the event will have a chance to vote for their favourite chowder-chef!

The All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off will feature 32 professional restaurant chefs, fishermen and makers of commercial chowders, each selected to represent their county, in competition for the title of All-Ireland Chowder Champion.

The All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off is the highlight of a two day Family Festival that will take over the streets of Kinsale on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th April. This popular annual event sees the town transformed into an open-air street market, with food stalls and family fun on every street, quay and open space. Local and visiting food businesses will offer samples and take-home food for under €5, and there will be food and fun for all age groups.

Members of the public will be the judges in the All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off. Everyone will be given a voting card at the entrance, which entitles them to sample all chowders from the individual stalls, before casting their vote for the All-Ireland Chowder Champion 2014.

Will the winner be the richest, creamiest chowder, or will the prize go to a spicy concoction with a hint of chilli? You the public will decide – Tickets are €10 each, making it an unusual and affordable Sunday lunch option!

Liam Edwards, Chairman of Kinsale Good Food Circle said, “Kinsale is a busy fishing port as well as being the Gourmet Capital of Ireland, and a key destination on the newly launched Wild Atlantic Way. This competition plays to all our strengths, and we look forward to welcoming members of the public to decide which is the best chowder on the day. Last year’s Cook-0ff was a huge success, and we look forward to seeing even more visitors from America and Europe as well as from all over Ireland at this unique event.”

Competition among chefs is keen. The winning chef will not only be crowned All-Ireland Chowder Champion, but will also receive a customised trophy and be invited to take part in the Great Chowder Cook-Off in Newport, Rhode Island, Kinsale’s transatlantic twin town, next summer. The 2013 winners, The West Bar, Westport, Co Mayo will represent Ireland in the prestigious competition in June.

County Donegal’s Champion Chowder Chef Joe Clinton

County Donegal, for example, is being represented by Chef Joe Clinton and he’s heading down to Kinsale for the All Ireland Chowder Cook-Off on the 13th April after he won the Donegal regional final. That competition was organised by the Food Coast division of the Donegal County Enterprise Board and was held during last summer’s A Taste of Donegal Food Festival.

Joe’s award-winning chowder is an great example of the finest locally sourced seafood produced today in county Donegal. Ingredients include Drowes River Line-Caught Salmon, Mountcharles Smoked Cod, Northwest Atlantic Haddock, pearls of Glencolmcille Crabmeat, Killybegs Line-Caught Squid, Inver Bay Mussels & Clams, Dunkineely Prawns & Baby Shrimp. The recipe also includes a secret mix of Donegal Sea Vegetables that he has specially selected. His homemade butters are flavoured with his own Dill & Lemon balm and locally caught lobster. To compliment his chowder, Joe is serving Dillisk Scones & fresh herb breads.
The 4th Annual All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off 2014 starts at 2pm at Acton’s Hotel, Kinsale. The Tickets (entitling holders to samples of all chowders) are only €10 each or €25 for a Family Pass and are available at the hotel door.

For more information about the Kinsale Good Food Circle see


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Great British Menu star Chef Raymond McArdle creates a Wild Tasting Menu for Connemara Hotel

Situated on the Island of Inishbofin, off the west coast of Connemara in Co. Galway, the award-winning Inishbofin House Hotel & Marine Spa is set to become the newest destination venue for food-lovers as celebrated chef Raymond McArdle has just become their as their Head Chef Consultant.





The Great British Menu star, who is set to star in Series 9 of the show on BBC2 all next week, has planned a Wild Tasting Menu to launch the Hotel’s reopening for summer. Inishbofin, which was last year voted as one of the top five places to visit in Ireland, will now draw food lovers from Ireland and beyond with both Raymond and new head chef Taidgh McDonald working their culinary magic.





Inishbofin House Hotel have reopened their doors for the summer and are delighted to have Raymond as their Head Chef Consultant. His role will be to work on developing the style and menus and ensure that the right staff are working in the restaurant.





Raymond started out his career as a trainee chef with Paul Rankin and Robbie Millar at Roscoff Restaurant in Belfast, he then moved on to work with Michael Deane for seven years progressing through the ranks to become Head Chef at Deane’s Belfast, where he assisted in obtaining the Michelin Star award in 1996 as Michael’s second chef.


Raymond worked as Head Chef in the Nuremore Hotel from 2001 to 2011 with Inishbofin House Hotel’s General Manager Niall Coffey. It was during this time that they propelled the Restaurant, now highly successful, to 3 AA Rosettes, an accolade currently held by only one hotel in Ulster. He is now running his own successful restaurants in Belfast, Warrenpoint and Tyrone, including the very popular Restaurant 23 at Balmoral, Warrenpoint.





Chef Taidgh McDonald is also an exciting addition to the hotel, having worked in Richard Corrigan’s two restaurants in Mayfair, London & Thornton’s restaurant, St Stephen’s Green, to name but a few. Taidgh will be the head chef in the restaurant, adding both his experience and culinary flavour to the mix of talented team put together by General Manager Niall Coffey.





The Hotel offers guests friendly service, delicious locally sourced produce in the restaurant, traditional Irish music sessions in the harbour view bar and a selection of luxurious bedrooms with spectacular sea views. Inishbofin House Hotel also has a Marine Spa with many relaxing treatments to choose from. It is an oasis of modern luxury and provides a perfect island getaway for families looking to rediscover nature or couples looking for a romantic break away from it all.


This hotel is a perfect destination for those that love to relax somewhere quiet in comfort and luxury.

You can follow Raymond McArdle on Twitter at @mcardle_23. For more info on Inishbofin House Hotel see



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Beautiful Reconditioned Vintage AirStream Food Trailer For Sale or Rent

A good friend in Killybegs, Co Donegal, asked me to put the word out about this amazing Vintage American AirStream Food Trailer he has for Sale. You have to see it in the flesh to really appreciate it’s beauty!



This classic trailer was bought several years ago and the owner has slowly but lovingly restored it back to it’s original condition. The inside has been fitted out with the most superb catering equipment and the timing of the refit is perfect as the Street-food phenomenon is just taking off in Ireland.



The AirStream has been based in Killybegs for the last year as well as being rented out for national advertising and marketing campaigns to companies such as the SuperValu Roadshow with Kevin Dundon.



The catering equipment on-board includes: a 12 ft s/s Canopy, 5x Ring Gas Cooker, 3ft Garland Gas Griddle, 2x Gas fryers (Pitco), 2x Under-Counter Drinks Fridges, 1x 3 Door Under Counter Fridge with Worktop. The internal length is a cool 23ft and is colourful, bright and spacious.



The AirStream Trailer is fully Health Board Approved and is a beautiful piece of Kitchen space. It really is a pleasure to work in and eye-candy too!



The AirStream Catering Trailer is ideal for marketing and promotional work, for large or small special occasions and corporate functions. It always shines on wedding days for evening nibbles and it is ideal as a Streetfood Truck on a permanent pitch in Dublin, Belfast, Galway, Cork or anywhere else in between!



So, if you are a Restaurant looking to get to the Streets, a PR Company looking for a special angle, a Wedding Planner looking to beat the rest or a just someone looking to get into the Irish Food Trade without having to buy or rent Bricks & Mortar, this could be the perfect opportunity to gain the upper-hand with an eye-catching Unique Vintage AirStream Classic Food Trailer!


The AirStream is ready to go Now and prices are negotiable for longer-term rental.

Short Term Rent €1000 per week.
Long Term Annual Rent €500 per week.
For Sale €40,000 o.n.o.

Joint Ventures will be considered if you have an attractive proposition like a good permanent private pitch/stand in a high value area. The trailer is also under offer for sale if you are interested.

For full details and Prices, Contact John at 086 8164106 and mention the Irish Food Guide.



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Have Your Say on the Definitions for the Description of Irish Food Products

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has just announced a public consultation on the use of Food Marketing Terms in Ireland.


The consultation is based on a Draft Code of Practice aimed at protecting the integrity of certain marketing terms on Irish food with the intent of protecting the interests of the consumer and the small food industry. Part of the code will concentrate on advertising terms that are used to define genuine differences between the foods that smaller producers offer and the mainstream commercial foodstuffs of a similar type.




The Draft Code of Practice will provide an “agreed set of additional rules” for the food industry use of the following marketing terms on foods:


• Artisan/Artisanal

• Farmhouse

• Traditional

• Natural


Here are the proposed definitions for the following Irish Food Marketing Terms:




The terms “artisan” or “artisanal” or similar descriptions using these terms should only be used on foods that comply with the general legal rules governing the use of marketing terms and in addition can legitimately claim to have all of the following characteristics:


1. The food is made in limited quantities by skilled craftspeople

2. The processing method is not fully mechanised and follows a traditional method

3. The food is made in a micro-enterprise at a single location

4. The characteristic ingredient(s) used in the food are sourced locally, where seasonally available in the required quantity





The term “Farmhouse” or similar terms that create an impression that a food originates on a farm e.g. “farmer’s choice” should only be used on foods that comply with the general legal principles governing the use of marketing terms and in addition can legitimately claim to have all of the following characteristics:


1. The food is made in limited quantities

2. The food is made in a micro-enterprise

3. The food is made in a single location on a farm

4. The characteristic ingredient(s) used in the food has been sourced locally, where seasonally available in the required quantity.


It is acknowledged that there are certain foods that have used the term ‘Farmhouse’ for many years to mean that the food has a rustic look or a coarse or a chunky texture. Such terms used on these specific foods are well understood by the consumer and therefore the term ‘farmhouse’ may continue to be used on the following foods even if they do not have the four characteristics specified above:


  • Bread with a split and rounded crust with or without flour dressing
  • Soup made with coarse cut or chunky vegetables
  • Paté made with a coarse texture


In addition a derogation is also necessary for fresh pasteurised milk and cream since these are short shelf life products where processing occurs close to the farm within a short time period. Although the use of the term ‘farmhouse’ to describe these products would not be acceptable the use of the term ‘Farm Fresh’ has been associated with such products for a number of years and may continue to be used.






The term “Traditional” conveys a sense of continuity and an impression that a food is made in a time honoured way or to a time honoured recipe. The term ‘Traditional’ or similar descriptions using this term should only be used on foods that comply with the general legal rules governing the use of marketing terms and in addition can legitimately claim to have one of the following characteristics:


1. The food is made to an authentic recipe which can be proved to have existed without significant modification for at least 30 years




2. The food has been made using a method of preparation that has :


  • Existed for more than 30 years although automation and mechanisation of these methods is acceptable.
  • Does not deviate substantially from the original food processing method associated with a certain type of food.


The term ‘natural’ or variations on this term (e.g. naturally better, natural goodness) that give the impression that a food exists in, or is formed by, nature – should only be used on foods that comply with the general legal rules governing the use of marketing terms and in addition can legitimately claim to meet all of the following criteria:
1. The food is formed by nature and is not significantly interfered with by man
2. The food is additive free or contains no artificial additives, colours or flavours other than flavourings that are natural as defined in European law and other food additives that are obtained from natural sources (e.g. plants) by appropriate physical processing (including distillation and solvent extraction) or traditional preparation processes.
Finished foods that do not meet criteria 1 but are comprised of raw ingredients prior to processing that meet criteria 1 and 2, should not themselves be described directly or by implication as “natural”, but it is acceptable to describe such finished foods as “made from natural ingredients”
The use of the term ‘natural’ has sometimes been restricted by law and in other cases has become synonymous with a certain type of product. In these specific cases the term ’natural’ may continue to be used on products which may not meet the two characteristics listed above. The following foods fall into this restricted category:
  • “natural mineral water”: Can only be used on water that meets the requirements of Directive 2009/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the exploitation and marketing of natural mineral waters.
  • Foods that meet the conditions allowing use of the word ‘natural’ or ‘naturally’ before the certain nutritional claims as specified in Regulation (EC) No. 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods.
  • Dairy products that have, for many years, included the term ‘natural’ to indicate that the dairy product is manufactured only from milk using only the starter cultures necessary for fermentation and are free from other ingredients, additives, flavourings and colours, e.g. :
“Natural yoghurt” : plain unflavoured yoghurt
“Natural fromage frais” : plain unflavoured fromage frais
“Natural cheese” : plain unflavoured cheese

The Draft Code of Practice was developed for consultation by a working group consisting of the FSAI, Food and Drink Industry Ireland, the Artisan Forum and the Consumers Association of Ireland.
The consultation will run for 8 weeks and the Closing Date for Responses is 14th May 2014.
All Irish Food Producers and all others with an interest in this should download the full text of the Draft Code of Practice of Marketing Terms on the FSAI website HERE.


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The hunt is on for Ireland’s Top Foodie Town 2014

The Restaurants Association of Ireland in conjunction with from An Post, are on the search for Ireland’s premier foodie destination. Is your town Ireland’s Top Foodie Town?



Towns and communities from all over Ireland are invited to battle it out to be named Ireland’s Top Town for a Foodie Experience.

The judges are looking for towns that actively promote themselves through food festivals, gourmet trails, farmers’ markets and great dining experiences.

Does your town have an established local producer/supplier network which is utilised and promoted by local businesses? Do you know what plans are there for future growth and investment into the food and hospitality industry at a local level?

Communities across the country are urged to get together with local businesses, foodie groups, Chambers of Commerce and other working groups to submit their applications and promote their area to both local people and visitors.

The Prize!
  • The winning town will be crowned ‘Ireland’s Foodie Town 2014’ and will receive a prize package worth €5,000 combining an postcard marketing package and mentorship from senior An Post marketing executives to help raise the profile of the town.
  • Nine runners up will each receive an prize package to value of €500 each.
Deadline for Applications is Wednesday, April 9th 2014. 
Ten chosen finalist towns will then receive a visit by the judges which are comprised of Independent Assessors, a representative from the Restaurants Association of Ireland & a representative from An Post.
A national public voting campaign will also be held with each of the ten finalists canvassing the country to vote for them.

The Judging Process

Stage One

  • Complete & submit an Application Form online or download and email your Application form
  • There are seven areas of criteria to be judged on, each carrying a weighing percentage to total 100%.
  • The application must be submitted by a minimum 3 businesses/working groups together.
  • Deadline for Applications is Wednesday, April 9th 2014.
  • All applications will be reviewed and a shortlist of 10 finalist destinations will be announced.

Stage Two

  • The ten finalists will be subject to a pre-arranged visit to the town by the Judges comprising of Independent Assessors, a representative from the Restaurants Association of Ireland & a representative from An Post.
  • A national public voting campaign will also be held with each of the ten finalists canvassing the country to vote for them.
  • The final decision will be made by combining the judges’ votes with the public vote that carry equal weight – both components account for 50% of the overall mark a town receives.

Click HERE to Enter Your Town Today!

The winner of ‘Ireland’s Foodie Town 2014’ will be announced on June 9th
at the finals of the Irish Restaurant Awards.


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