Thursday, 5 February 2015

Customer Service Excellence Course for the Agri-food Sector in the North West

The lifting of the USA embargo on Irish meat as well as changes to the Milk quota creates opportunities in the Agri-Food sector. The quality of Irish produce is respected globally. It is important to offer not only Produce Excellence but also Customer Service Excellence right through the supply chain. By providing both, the sector will be much stronger and those who apply it will have a competitive edge.

Customer Service Excellence Ireland together with AIB, Skillnets and BASICC (Ballybofey and Stranorlar Integrated Community Company Ltd) are running a 4 night Customer Service Excellence Course for the Agri-Food sector. 

This course is subsidised but a nominal fee of €25.00 per person will apply to cover some of the cost of delivering the course.

The course dates will be:
  • Monday the 23rd February
  • Monday the 2nd March
  • Monday the 9th March and
  • Monday the 16th March
Time: 6 – 9pm

Venue: The BASE Enterprise Centre, Railway Road, Stranorlar. Co Donegal
Cost: €25.00 per person

Participants will gain increased skills and knowledge about how to offer the very best customer service through their work and the positive impact this has on sales and repeat business. 

The training workshops are interactive and involve the entire group and their experience. 
Customer Service Excellence Ireland Certificates will be issued to all who attend.

Places are limited, to avoid disappointment book your place now by contacting:
Donna Maskery
Tel: 087 607 5555 or email

For more info see


Sunday, 1 February 2015

WIN a Valentine Hamper from Hampers & Co

This Competition is Now Closed

Hampers & Co. is a Luxury online Hamper & Gift retailer, set up by Emer Purcell, that ship their hampers all over the world. For over 21 years, they've sourced, designed, packaged and delivered beautifully presented hampers of exceptional quality for both individual orders & Corporate clients.

Read on to find out how you can Win a Valentine Hamper from Hampers & Co, that will delivered in time for Valentines Day, anywhere in Ireland or the UK!

Emer and her team work very closely with their producers to create a wonderful selection of Irish Food Hampers & Gift Baskets. On their website you will also find great Irish cheeses, delicious Irish chocolates, superior Irish relishes & preserves & melt in the mouth Irish cakes & biscuits.

They source their wines directly from boutique vineyards so they won’t be found on any supermarket shelf.
They also take time and considerable care when combining foods & culinary gifts & only use products that they feel will be enjoyed by the recipients.

Hampers & Co. source all their products from exceptional, award-winning and high quality Irish Artisan food Producers and from small indigenous international food suppliers.They also use eco-friendly biodegradable packaging which can even be washed down the sink!

So whatever the reason for giving a gift – business, baby, birthday, anniversary or just because, they guarantee to provide a gift or hamper that will be remembered and very much appreciated. If you're ordering a hamper on behalf of your company, it is reassuring to know that when you “Create Your Own” bespoke Hamper or Gift to your unique requirements, there’s no danger of your clients or staff receiving the same gift from another source, or in the following year, or at the next conference event!

WIN a Valentine Hamper from Hampers & Co.
We all love a bit of romance and there's no doubt that we all blossom with a little sprinkling of it. Did you know that taste & smell completely bypass the reasoning and logical part of the brain that's why when you give a gourmet food gift accompanied by a fine wine you don't just give a gift you give an experience.

Emer, at Hampers & Co., has given us a wonderful Valentine Hamper to give away here on the Irish Food Guide Blog and they will deliver it anywhere in Ireland and the UK! Allow the seductive & aphrodisiac properties of decadent chocolates and more to seduce your Valentine this February 14th.

To get yourself in to the Draw Click the Hampers & Co. Facebook Like button and/or their Twitter Follow button below and tell them how much you'd like to Win the Valentine Hamper. All new Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers will be entered into the Draw.

Like Hampers & Co. on Facebook

Follow Hampers & Co. on Twitter

The Draw will take place on Sunday 8th February and the winner will receive the prize of the Valentine Hamper, delivered by Hampers & Co., before Valentines Day!

Check out their amazing range of hampers and gifts, for every occasion at any time of year, on their website at


Monday, 26 January 2015

Who will represent Ireland and the UK in S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015?

The first selection of finalists of the International S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 have been made.

Out of 3,620 participants in 191 countries and 20 world geographic areas there will only be 20 finalists. Four local chefs will now have to take part in a cook-off with 6 other chefs based around the British Isles to decide who will represent the region, identified in the competition as the UK/Ireland Geographical Area.

Mark Moriarty, Maria Elena Martinez Otero, Sarunas Godovan and Stephen Holland were chosen by ALMA Cooking School (the world's leading international educational and training centre for Italian Cuisine), and were picked from thousands of applications received from professional young chefs working in kitchens around the world.

What’s next? Each candidate will now cook a dish for their local jury members who will choose one winning entry to represent Ireland and the UK. Once chosen, the 20 Final Chefs will be paired with a young designer picked by Vogue Italia. The 20 chef/designer duos will then begin work on a unique collaboration that will see each designer create a unique piece inspired by the chef’s dishes.

The final dishes and designs will be presented, in June, at a Grand Final event held in Italy during Expo Milano 2015 where the winning entry for the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 will be announced. There will also be a special prize awarded to The Best Chef/Designer Couple.

The four Irish chefs who will cook it out with some of the best young chefs in the UK and Ireland to see who will represent the region in the Final are:

Mark Moriarty is Sous Chef at Restaurant The Culinary Counter in Dublin.
Mark's dish is Celeriac Baked in Barley and Fermented Hay, Cured and Smoked Celeriac

Maria Elena Martinez Otero is Chef de Partie at Restaurant Four Seasons Hotel (InterCont) in Dublin
Maria's dish is Smoked Orange,Chocolate Heart, Green Tea Crumbs and Ricotta

Sarunas Godovan is a Chef at Restaurant Tankardstown House in Slane, Co Meath.
Sarunas' dish is Turbot on the Bottom of the Sea

Stephen Holland is Exec Sous Chef at Restaurant Lough Erne Resort in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh.
Stephen's dish is Glenarm Whiskey Cured Salmon, Pickle Vegetables, Pistachio Bites

You can see the full list of 10 Chefs that were chosen in the UK/Ireland Geographical Area HERE

Congratulations to them all for getting through to the Geographic Finals and we wish them the best of luck in the challenge to become S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015.


Thursday, 8 January 2015

Would You like to Represent Irish Food Overseas?

Bord Bia - The Irish Food Board, in conjunction with the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, are seeking 25 high potential, ambitious, motivated professionals who have aspirations to become future leaders in the Irish Food industry. 

Together they are offering a Marketing Fellowship which blends action learning, through a year long, fully-funded, foreign industry placement, with a ‘block-release’ academic business education programme.

This intensive 12-month action learning programme gives successful candidates the combined opportunity to gain hands-on experience working with some of Ireland’s leading food companies while also gaining a Masters degree - an MSc in International Marketing Practice.

The programme blends action learning, through a year long, fully funded, foreign industry placement, with a ‘block-release’ academic business education programme. This is a Level 9 NFQ qualification.

The two key elements of the programme are outlined as follows:
In-Market Placement with Bord Bia clients (based overseas) early-Aug 2015 to June 2016
Block Release Academic Programme (based in Ireland). Mid-June to early-Aug 2015; 2 weeks pre Christmas and 1 week pre-Easter 2016.

Who Should Apply?
Applications are welcomed from all graduates with a minimum of 2-3 years work experience. Some placements will require fluency in a second language (for example French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Russian, Polish, Japanese or Chinese.)

Placement Locations
Placement of the Fellowship participants will be selected from locations which may include New York, London, Dubai, Sydney, Shanghai, Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, Düsseldorf and Warsaw.

Candidate Selection
There are 20-25 places available on this programme and participants will be selected following a rigorous and exacting recruitment process. Interested participants must be available if selected to take part in the interview and assessment process around April 2014 in Dublin (attendance on one day is required - exact dates to be confirmed) and if successful must be ready to commence the programme on the 16th June 2015.

Successful candidates must be available to commence the programme in Dublin on the 15th June. 

This is a full-time programme. 100% Tuition Fees are paid, plus a €22,800 bursary.

Closing Date for Applications is 5th Mar 2015.
For more details and application see:


Sunday, 4 January 2015

Top 20 Best Irish Foods to Watch Out For in 2015

Every year, around Christmas Eve -  I ask a question on Twitter... "What was Your Best Irish Food Find of the Year?" I get hundreds of replies from food lovers all over Ireland and this year was no exception with the replies pouring in all over the days of Christmas and New Year. 

I collate all the suggestions for great new foods from all over Ireland on a spreadsheet and from that I create the Top 20 Best Irish Foods to Watch Out For in 2015!

There have been an amazing amount of new food businesses set up over the last year and many new products are being developed by small producers all over the Island of Ireland. Many established small food producers have also been streamlining their product offering and expanding their lines. People are testing their foods at country markets and farmers markets and getting great feedback from customers, chefs and restaurants. This obviously helps them bring a better product to market for us to enjoy.

This year, people tweeted about old-style butters, artisan bakers, flavoured vinegars, innovative seafoods, hand-dried salts, top quality meats, hand-made confectionery, unusual dips and chutneys, honeys, crisps, foraged foods and much more!

One new food product, above all others, received the most mentions. I'll save that to last! I have included a Twitter Follow button so you can easily follow them to get details of their delicious food products.

And so, here are the Top Twenty Best Irish Foods to Watch Out For in 2015 as voted for by you, the food lovers on Twitter, all over Ireland!

  • Tartine Organic Bakery - Co. Dublin

Food Lover and artisan baker Thibault Peigne is passionate about baking bread and uses the finest organic ingredients and traditional methods. He has created Tartine Organic Bakery to make freshly baked sourdough breads, french pastries and cakes.

  • Improper Butter - Co. Dublin

A range of improperly delicious, Irish flavoured butters that inspire creativity at mealtimes, made by Elaine Lavery and Hannah O'Reilly.

  • Wild About Foods - Co. Wexford

Fiona and Malcom Falconer produce a wide range of artisan chutneys, preserves, syrups, seasoning rubs, cocktail bases and wild pestos made from foraged and homegrown ingredients. They specialise in native wild ingredients like nettles, hips, haws, sloes, damsons, elderberries, crab apples, rowan berries, guilderose and whatever else is in season.

  • Goatsbridge Trout - Co. Kilkenny

Fresh Trout, Smoked Trout, Trout Pate, Trout Caviar and more are all farmed, processed and produced on the banks of the Little Arrigle River by the family of Mags and Ger Kirwan. They have a passion for trout, which comes across in the quality of their product.

  • The Wild Irish Foragers & Preservers - Co. Offaly

Sharon and Gordon Greene create exclusively Wild Syrups, Sauces, Fruit Cheeses, Pontack & more homemade to old recipes using hand-picked ingredients from their Millhouse Farm near Birr, Co Offaly.

  • Abernethy Butter - Co. Down

Alison and Will Abernethy make handmade butter from local cream, handmade in churns the traditional way and patted into rolls. It is creamy and slightly salty to give a luxurious creamy taste. They also make fudge.

  • Broughgammon Farm Kid Goat - Co. Antrim

Broughgammon Farm produce Cabrito (Kid Goat Meat), Free Range Rose Veal, Seasonal Game and Hand Harvested Irish Seaweeds. Their ethos is to produce great food locally, sustainably and competitively while balancing the growing requirements for food production with environmental protection.

  • Rebel Chilli Hot Sauces - Co. Cork

Ken and Paul Moore's award winning 'Red Chilli with Lemongrass and Ginger' is a crowd favourite and the Cork-based Rebel Chilli range also includes the fantastically hot 'Chillionaire' and the sweet 'Jalapeno and Raspberry Jelly'.

  • Irish Bee Sensations - Co. Cork

Tom and Croéin Ruttle are multi award winning producers of artisan Honey and Jams made only with their own Irish Raw Honey. They have a passion for their bees and for the reintroduction of the native Irish Bee.

  • Achill Island Sea Salt - Co. Mayo

Achill Island Sea Salt was founded as a family business by Kieran, Marjorie and Sean O'Malley in July 2013, reviving the age old tradition of salt production on Achill Island, creating a sustainable and pure artisan product, which has received critical acclaim from chefs and cooks alike for its appearance, texture and taste.

  • Le Fournil Bakery - Co. Donegal

In 2007, French chef Franck Pasquier retired from restaurant kitchens to set up Le Fournil Artisan Bakery in Donegal Town & Sligo. He bakes superb sourdough breads, patisserie items, tarts, croissants & much more. He also supplies the breads to Clotilde Rambaud and Tomasz Giderewicz at Le Fournil in Sligo town. Clotilde makes all the patisseries and chocolates in the Sligo store.

  • Killowen Farm Yogurts - Co. Wexford

The Dunne family have been farming in Enniscorthy for nine generations. Their award winning yogurts are gluten free, low in sugar, naturally low fat and contain no artificial additives. Everyone says they taste great!

  • Soul Soup - Co. Dublin

Lloyd Hamilton-Felton wanted to bring the healthiest and tastiest soups possible to soup lovers all over Ireland. He is now supplying some of Dublin's best artisan cafés and health shops.

  • Keoghs Farm Crisps - Co. Dublin

Keoghs Farm say they produce Ireland’s only “hand cooked on the farm” artisan potato crisps. The family have been farming their potatoes for over 100 years and their crisps have become a favourite at home and abroad.

  • John Stone Beef - Co. Longford

John Stone comes from a very long line of butchers and has been at the forefront of gourmet meat production for almost fifty years. His meats come from small manageable farms and he believes that the natural lifestyle of the cattle gives his meat it's unique and delicious flavour.

  • The Foods of Athenry - Co. Galway

The old milking parlor on the Lawless family farm is now the bakery where they bake wheat and spelt soda breads & bread mixes, scones, cakes and pies as well as a range of Gluten Free breakfast cereals, cookies, crackers, flapjacks and cakes.

  • Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms - Co. Limerick

Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms produce a wide range of foraged and cultivated speciality mushrooms and also a selection of handmade artisanal mushroom products. However, it was their Shiitake Dust which caught the imagination of so many people this year. This Powdered Irish Shiitake Mushroom delivers delicious buttery and umami notes making it perfect for seasoning meat, fish, vegetables, gravies, soups & sauces.

  • Toons Bridge Buffalo Cheeses - Co. Cork

The first Toons Bridge buffalo calves arrived in the early spring of 2011 but their buffalo mozzarella took almost two years to perfect. A joint venture between Toby Simmonds of the Real Olive Co. and his neighbouring farmer Johnny Lynch, the dairy is now producing Buffalo Mozzarella Balls, Ricotta, Halloumi, a salty Greek-style cheese, Cachocavalio and smoked Scamorza cheeses. From time to time, milk quantities allowing, they also make buffalo milk yogurt and butter. And Ireland loves it all!

  • Silver Darlings Herring - Co Limerick

Kirsti O’Kelly pickles Irish herrings according to traditional family recipes handed down from her mother and grandmother in her native Finland. She marinates the fish in a combination of mild vinegars and spices which dissolve the herring bones and keep the integrity of the fish flesh allowing it to take on the subtle flavours of aromatic spices like mustard seeds, sandalwood, cinnamon, bay leaves, cloves, pink peppercorns and fresh herbs such as dill, tarragon and coriander.

And the Best Irish Food to Watch Out For in 2015 as voted by the Irish Public, via Twitter, is ...

  • Wild Wood Vinegars

    Rathlacken, Ballina, County Mayo

Fionntan Gogarty is an artist, vinegar producer, a lover of fine food, poetry and the wild rugged west of Ireland, an organic farmer, a dry-stone-waller, a beachcomber and an innovator. He is indeed all of these things!

Fionntan Gogarty of Wildwood Vinegars

Wildwood Vinegars, based in the little village of  Rathlackin, near Ballina in County Mayo, are a unique range of foraged wild fruit, herb, berry and blossom infused vinegars that unlock the hidden magic of nature's flavours and essences. Fionntan has only been producing them for less than a year but already they have been received with rapturous delight by all who have tasted them and have won several awards.

The fruity and flavourful vinegars are used for sauces, salad dressings, marinades, desserts and chilled as an alternative to sorbet or even added to soda-water for a refreshing soft drink!

If ever there was a product that gives you a true taste of the best of Ireland, Fionntan Gogarty's Wildwood Vinegars are just that! It's no wonder that so many people all over Ireland tweeted that this product was their Best Irish Food Find of the year.

Congrats to Fionntan and everyone else that made to Top 20 Best Irish Foods to Watch Out For in 2015We look forward to another great year for Irish Food!


Tuesday, 23 December 2014

A List of the Michelin Star and Bib Gourmand Restaurants and Chefs in Ireland, that are on Twitter

Here's a list of Michelin Guide awarded Chefs & Restaurants in Ireland that are on Twitter. I've included the names and the Twitter Account details for all the Chefs and Restaurants in Ireland that have attained Michelin Stars and Bib Gourmands - this list is not associated with the Michelin Guide company itself.

The Michelin Guide - The best restaurants as selected by Michelin Guide inspectors

I've included below a Twitter Follow Button so you can easily Follow all the Michelin Selected selected Chefs that are in Ireland! In cases where the head chef doesn't have a personal Twitter account I have mentioned the restaurant account, if available. If neither the Restaurant nor Chef have a Twitter presence I have just given a website link, but if you're out for a bit to eat there soon, tell them to get on Twitter!

Because of the nature of the catering trade, a list like this will need to be updated, so do leave a comment when there are any updates that need to be made in the future.

If you Follow all these Restaurants and Chefs on Twitter you'll have a wonderful insight into what's really going on in the kitchens of those at the forefront of Modern Irish Food!

**Two Michelin Stars Restaurants and Chefs
Excellent cooking, worth a detour
on Twitter in Ireland

Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud in Dublin City
Patrick Guilbaud and Kieran Glennon

*One Michelin Star Restaurants and Chefs

Very good cooking in its category
on Twitter in Ireland

Aniar in Galway City
JP McMahon, Ultan Cooke, Aniar Galway 

Bon Appetit in Malahide, Co Dublin
Oliver Dunne and Bon App Malahide

Campagne in Kilkenny City
Garrett Byrne 

Chapter One in Dublin City
Ross Lewis 

l'Ecrivain in Dublin
Derry Clarke 

The House Restaurant at the Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore, Co. Waterford
Martijn Kajuiter and Cliff House Hotel

Lady Helen at the Mount Juliet Hotel near Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny
Cormac Rowe

Thornton's at the The Fitzwilliam Hotel in Dublin City
Kevin Thornton and Fitzwilliam DUB

Bib Gourmands Restaurants and Chefs
Good food at a moderate price
on Twitter in Ireland

Republic of Ireland Bib Gourmands on Twitter

The Courthouse Restaurant, Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan 
Conor Mee and Charlotte Carr

Deasy’s Harbour Bar & Seafood Restaurant, Ring, Clonakilty, Co Cork (not on Twitter)
Caitlin Ruth

Sha-Roe Bistro Clonegall, Co Carlow (not on Twitter)
Henry and Stephanie Stone

The Chart House, Dingle, Co Kerry (not on Twitter)
Jim McCarthy. Head Chef Noel Enright

Pichet, Dublin City
Stephan Gibson and Pichet Dublin

Pig's Ear, Dublin City
Andrea Hussey, Stephen McAllister at The Pigs Ear and Head Chef Damien Derwin

Etto, Dublin City
Owners Liz Matthews and Simon Barrett

Downstairs, Clontarf, Co. Dublin
Restaurant Downstairs

Aldridge Lodge, Duncannon, Co. Wexford
Owners Billy Whitty and Joanne Harding

Fishy Fishy, Kinsale, Co Cork (not on Twitter)
Martin Shanahan

Wild Honey Inn, Lisdoonvarna, Clare
Aiden McGrath and Kate Sweeney

Brasserie at Bon Appétit, Malahide, Co Dublin
Oliver Dunne and Bon Appétit, Malahide

Northern Ireland Bib Gourmands on Twitter

Oregano, Ballyclare, Co. Antrim
Dermot Regan and Oregano Belfast

Bar + Grill at James Street South, Belfast City
The Bar Grill

Deanes at Queens, Belfast City
Deanes Restaurants, Michael Deane and Chris Fearon

Home, Belfast City
Home Restaurant, Mourne Seafood and Ben Arnold

Coppi, Belfast City
Coppi Restaurant, Jonny Phillips and Tony O'Neill

Fontana, Holywood, Co. Down
Fontana Restaurant

Old Schoolhouse Inn, Newtownards, Belfast, Co. Down
The Old School House and Will Brown

Follow the Michelin Guide Team on Twitter

I hope you enjoy connecting with these great restaurants and chefs as much as I do!

And you can also Follow Me on Twitter  @IrishFoodGuide too!


The Irish Food Guide is...

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The Irish Food Guide Blog includes news, foodie chat, recipes, award results, links and other general information on the Food & Tourism Industry in Ireland.

It is written & curated by Zack Gallagher, Donegal Town, Co Donegal, Ireland.

“My Blog is a slice of the Irish Food ‘Network’. I’m a Chef with over 27 years experience and also have a background in media. I’m passionate about Irish Food Tourism and I believe that a rising tide really can lift all boats!”

Supporting Irish Food created by passionate producers and encouraging the Irish food & hospitality industry to use modern social media methods to increase their business.

Zack is building an all-Ireland Food Tourism network to assist Tour Operators bringing guests into Ireland to connect easily with artisan Irish food producers, so as they can experience the provenance and personality behind our Irish food.

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