Gerard Collier of Fisherman’s Catch, Clogherhead, wins BIM Young Fishmonger 2015

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Irish Seafood Development Agency, has named Gerard Collier of Fisherman’s Catch, Clogherhead, Co. Louth, as the winner of the BIM Young Fishmonger 2015 competition. The awards event was held yesterday, in the Radisson St. Helen’s Hotel, Stillorgan, Co. Dublin.

BIM Young Fishmonger of the Year 2015, Gerard Collier with Martin Shanahan
Gerard was selected as winner from a shortlist of five finalists, all of whom demonstrated to the judges, an exceptional high standard in technical expertise, product knowledge and customer service. Martin Shanahan, owner of Fishy Fishy Café & Restaurant, author and TV broadcaster was the guest speaker at the event, where he congratulated the finalists and commended their passion for the seafood industry.

This is the second year of the BIM Young Fishmonger Awards, developed by BIM to recognise and reward young fishmongers. Their aim is to encourage new entrants into the business and to ultimately raise the bar across the Irish fishing sector.
The judges were very impressed with the knowledge, skills
and commitment demonstrated by all the finalists

The other finalists in BIM’s Young Fishmonger 2015 competition were: Stevie Connolly, Connolly’s Seafood, Rathmines, Dublin 6; Neil Turner, Caviston’s Food Emporium, Glasthule, Co. Dublin; Mateusz Kowalik, Doran’s on the Pier, Howth, Co. Dublin and Gary Quinn, Stephen’s Fish Market, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath.

Speaking at the awards ceremony today, Donal Buckley, Business Development & Innovation Director at BIM said; ‘Our role, as the Seafood Development Agency, is to develop the retail trade in terms of seafood presentation, training and food safety management. We see this initiative as an exciting component of this strategy.”
He added, “Congratulations to our worthy winner Gerard Collier and his colleagues at Fisherman’s Catch, I hope this experience and the competition prize fund allows you to further develop what is a very successful family business.”

As overall winner of the competition, Gerard will be offered a study trip to France, a cheque for €1,000, a set of professional knives and a specially designed trophy. Along with the other finalists he will also benefit from a free placement on BIM’s retail development workshop. As part of their prize, all of the finalists have already enjoyed an inspiring masterclass in seafood cookery with Martin Shanahan.

Fishing Boats at Killybegs Harbour in Donegal

Throughout the competition, the judges put all the finalists through their paces with three different stages of scoring. This included  two unannounced visits to their shops to assess product knowledge and customer service and a practical test where they were asked to fillet and prepare a range of fish and shellfish for customer use, under time constraints.

Finalists were also required to discuss their plans, opportunities and challenges for their business. Throughout all the stages, the judges were very impressed with the knowledge, skills and commitment demonstrated by all the finalists. Well done Gerard!

Zack

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How to Roast Chestnuts without an Open Fire

“Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”. Those immortal words from the famous Nat King Cole song always pop up around the middle of November and indicate the beginning of the build-up to the Christmas season and all that goes with it!

In Ireland we don’t really have a tradition of eating roasted chestnuts, but like everything else, the world is becoming a smaller place and we can now get our hands on anything, if you really want it.

Edible chestnuts do not grow in Ireland. Most of the chestnuts that are eaten around the world are imported from Japan, China, Spain, and Italy. They are known as ‘Marrons’ in France.

I got my local veg-man to get me a bag of sweet chestnuts to try out and did some research on how to cook them. They taste different from what you’ll expect and also, don’t be disappointed if many of them break up when you’re taking them out of the shell – that’s happens in real life!

How to Roast Chestnuts without an Open Fire

Heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

1. Using a small, sharp pointed knife, cut a cross into the flat-side skin of each Chestnut. This helps to prevent the chestnut from exploding while cooking.

2. Drop them into cold water, to soak, for 15 minutes. This helps them steam and stay moist.

3. Place the Chestnuts on a roasting tin, cut side up and bake until the skin splits open and the inside is tender, about 20 minutes.

4. Put the cooked chestnuts in a dry towel and press gently to crush open the shell. Peel the shell back and eat them straight away!

If they start to get cold they become very hard to peel. Only a few of mine came out looking perfect and that was because I peeled some very carefully! You can pop the chestnuts back into the oven and warm them up a little again, to help peel them.

You can serve them out in paper bags or newspaper cones if you wish. You can also boil chestnuts for 15 minutes and peel them before you add them into your Christmas Stuffing. Give them a go either way!

You can find my favourite stuffing recipe here: 10 Tips for the Perfect Turkey & My Stuffing Recipe

Zack

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The Simpsons co-creator, Sam Simon, saves Irish “Gay” Bull

Benjy, a clinically declared “Gay” Charolais Bull, from Co Mayo, Ireland, farmer, has escaped the butcher’s block after Sam Simon, the co-creator of The Simpsons cartoon, stepped in to pay the balance of the animals retirement home payments.

The bull had failed to impregnate any of the cows in a Mayo farmer’s herd showing more interest in the other bulls on the farm!

Mr Simon pledged to pay the €6,250 (£5,000) needed to save Benjy, after a crowd funding campaign was set up by the Animal Rights Action Network (Aran.) Another €5000 had already been raised through donations and Mr Simon offered to make up the balance.

Sam Simon, who is suffering from terminal cancer and is donating his $100m fortune to charities, is a long-time animal activist and his contribution will allow Benjy the Gay Bull to live out his days at the Hillside Animal Sanctuary in England. Plans are being made to transport the grateful bull to his retirement home in December.

Sam Simon, along with Matt Groening and James L Brooks created the cartoon series, The Simpsons, in 1989. He led the original team of the popular animation’s writers.

Mr Simon was diagnosed with colon cancer two years ago and was given only three months to live, though he continues to fight the disease. He is well known as a philanthropist with a special interest in animal protection.

Zack

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Help make sure our local Irish Seafood is named correctly

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) are inviting input into Ireland’s Fishery and Aquaculture Products Commercial Designation List. All EU Member States are required to publish a list of the commercial designations together with their scientific names of fishery and aquaculture products, accepted in their territory.

This list must indicate the scientific name for each species, its name in the official language or languages of the Member State and, where applicable, any other name or names accepted or permitted locally or regionally.

Commercial designations must be used when marketing fish in the EU and are provided to consumers at the point of retail.

The inclusion of the common names or local names of fish or aquaculture products in the commercial designation list helps ensure that consumers are provided with accurate and consistent information and are then able to make informed choices. This is where we can all help out as there are many different names used for the same species of fish, in different parts of Ireland.

Sprat, also know in Donegal as “Sprit”

For example, here in Donegal we use both the names “Sprit” and “Sprat” for that small tasty oily fish, Sprattus sprattus, which is a member of the Clupeidae family that includes Herrings and Sardines. It may only be a small variation in the name but if these local names are not recorded, they will get lost.

Irish White Fish, Oily Fish and Shellfish, in Gaelic. pic Somethingfishy.ie

On the 13th December 2014, the current legislation S.I. 320 of 2003 and its associated list of commercial designations will be replaced as EU Regulation No. 1379/20131 will apply from this date. Therefore this is now an appropriate time to ensure that the commercial designation list includes all the relevant species. See http://www.fsai.ie/uploadedFiles/Reg1379_2013.pdf Articles 35-37 for name references.

The FSAI invites all interested parties to submit their comments on the draft Fishery and Aquaculture Commercial Designations List that accompanies this consultation.

Submissions to the Consultation

If you are making a submission, please state whether the views expressed are personal or are

being made on behalf of an organisation. If the views of an organisation are being submitted it

should be made clear what organisation is being represented.

The Closing Date for Submissions is 26th November 2014

Submissions may be e-mailed to: consultation@fsai.ie
or may be posted to: Consultations, Food Safety Authority of Ireland, Abbey Court, Lwr Abbey Street, Dublin 1.
See also www.fsai.ie/consultations

Zack

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Six Irish Cookbooks shortlisted for the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards 2014

The Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner will be held on Wednesday 26th November and this year six Irish Cookbooks have been shortlisted for the Avonmore Cookbook of the Year award.

Irish Book Awards Logo

The Irish Book Awards and dinner has become a major event in the Irish literary calendar, bringing together the entire literary community – readers, authors, booksellers, publishers and even librarians!

The six Irish Cookbooks shortlisted this year are:

The Happy Pear - David and Stephen Flynn


(published by Penguin Ireland)

All Things Sweet - Rachel Allen


(published by HarperCollins)

The Nation’s Favourite Food Fast – Neven Maguire


(published by Gill & Macmillan)

From Lynda’s Table – Lynda Booth


(published by DCS Publishing)

Back to Basics – Kevin Dundon


(published by Mitchell Beazley)

The Extra Virgin Kitchen – Susan Jane White


(published by Gill & Macmillan)

The Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner will be held on Wednesday 26th November 2014 in the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel, Dublin 4. For more info see www.irishbookawards.ie

Good Luck all!

Zack

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Dublin Beekeepers’ Association to host Dublin Honey Show on 8th November

The Dublin Honey Show, the highlight of the beekeeper’s calendar, will be held on Saturday 8th November 2014 at Christ Church, Rathgar. As well as competitions for beekeepers there will be best quality natural Co Dublin honey for sale, free lectures, a craft fair and refreshments.

The County Dublin Beekeepers’ Association is one of the largest and oldest beekeepers’ associations in Ireland. It runs a popular beekeeping beginners’ course every year and hosts a number of activities for members.

The Dublin Honey Show is the highlight in the Dublin beekeeper’s calendar. Beekeepers compete for awards for different honeys, wax, mead, cakes, candles and other hive products.

  • At 12:00 noon, senior Dublin beekeeper Keith Pierce will give a talk on ‘Beginning with bees’. This will prove an excellent introduction to the craft for aspiring beekeepers.
  • At 2pm, ecologist and former TD Mary White will speak on the topic ‘Bees Work for Man but Does Man Work for Bees?’

The day will also include an Artisan Craft Fair in the hall where you can come any buy your Christmas gifts.

The Dublin Honey Show runs from from 10:30am to 4pm on Saturday 8th November and the entry charge on the door of only €2 goes to their chosen charity, the Royal Hospital Donnybrook.

For more see: www.dublinbees.org

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Specially Signed copies of Celebrity Cookbooks go under the hammer for Charity

Mark Bevin, Head Chef at the Maldron Hotel, is hosting a really unique charity event this Friday night, the 17th October, at the Europa Hotel in Belfast – a Charity Cookbook Auction!

The Charity Cookbook Auction is to raise funds for the Northern Ireland Rare Disease Partnership charity (NIRDP) and Mark has received hundreds of donations of specially signed copies of Cookbooks from Celebrity Chefs, Bloggers and TV Cooks from all over the UK and Ireland!

Mark Bevin, Head Chef at the Maldron, who has organised the Charity Cook Book Sale

“The whole idea started when I asked head chef Noel McMeel at County Fermanagh’s Lough Erne Resort, to send me a couple of copies of his new book signed for a special book auction I was planning,” said Mark.

Chef Noel McMeel from Lough Erne Resort

“Noel arrived at the hotel and handed me two signed copies. I was so taken back by the generosity of the man I decided to ask Twitter followers to help gather some more and the flood gates just opened up!”

Neven Maguire’s MacNean Restaurant Cookbook

The charity NIRDP are a not-for-profit organisation, bringing together those living with a rare disease and organisations representing them: clinicians and other health professionals; researchers and producers of specialist medicines and equipment; health policy makers and academics.

Marcus Wareing, currently Chef Patron of Marcus in Knightsbridge

The NIRDP work with similar bodies all over the Uk and Ireland including Genetic and Rare Disorders Organisation (GRDO).

Katy McGuinness with Pat Whelan, The Irish Beef Book

Mark has called in the help of his many friends over the last few months to build up a staggering collection of books for the charity auction and his catering collegues rallied around, calling in favours from chefs, bloggers, food critics, butchers, bakers and just about every other realm of the celebrity kitchen and restaurant!

Atul Kochhar’s Atul’s Curries of the World

Signed cookbooks from chefs Will Torrent, Atul Kochhar, Marcus Waring, Richard Corrigan,  Michael Roux Jr, Noel McMeel, Nigel Slater, Ching He Chuang, Theo Randall, Gok Wan, Tony Singh & Cyrus Todiwala and Mark Hix and many others, are up for auction on the night.

Derry Clarke’s Keeping it Simple

Chefs Peter Clifford, Neven Maguire, Ross Lewis, Derry Clarke, Kevin Dundon,  Conrad Gallagher, Catherine Fulvio, Gary O Hanlon, Paul Flynn, Rozanne Stevens, Domini Kemp, Edward Hayden, Clodagh McKenna and more, have all pitched in with signed copies of their cookbooks for the charity auction.

Jean Christophe Novelli’s Simply Novelli

Others who signed special editions of their cookbooks include TV Chefs Ed Baines, Franck Pontais, Jay Rayner, Antonio Carluccio, Tom Kerridge and Jean Christophe Novelli.

Paul Callaghan’s Calso Cooks

Bloggers, butchers and food writers who have their cookbooks in the auction include Cathriona Redmond, Susan Jane White, Sheila Kiely, Paul Callaghan, Sharon Hearne Smith, Lily Higgins, Rosanne Hewitt Cromwell, Fiona Dillon, Pat Whelan & Katy McGuinness.

Chef Mark is simply thrilled with the response saying, “People have been very generous and in the last two weeks more specially signed cookbooks keep arriving at the hotel every day! It should be a great night.”

Will Torrent author of Patisseire at Home

The Charity Cookbook Auction  takes place this Friday night, the 17th October, at the Europa Hotel in Belfast at 8pm. Get up there and help out while having a great night out!

If you want to help out, in any way, you can contact Chef Mark Bevin on Twitter at @Robuchon1

Great idea Mark, best of Success!

Zack

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