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Saturday, 25 May 2013

Two Chefs start new All Ireland Irish Food Tours business.

Kinda strange writing a story about yourself but this one is about a new Irish Food business I have started up with Wendy Kavanagh  :)

A new start-up business, Irish Food Tours, started by Donegal Town chef Zack Gallagher and his business partner, Wendy Kavanagh from Kildare, is building a new network of Food Tourism Holidays around the island of Ireland, north and south.

Both the founders are keen social media food bloggers and run their own Irish Food websites. Zack is @irishfoodguide on twitter and runs the www.irishfoodguide.ie food news blog and Wendy, on twitter as  @mychefathome, runs the food producers directory listings at www.mychefathome.ie.

Irish Food Tours will offer guided food tour holidays, by coach around Ireland, covering all 32 counties North and South of the border. The Food Tours will include visits to the best artisan food producers, restaurants, accommodation and food workshops that are available in Ireland.

Culinary Tour Guests will get to hear the "story behind the food"
At the recent Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards ceremony in Dublin, they were pipped to the post for the top new start-up award by no less than the giant county Meath tourist attraction Tayto Park!

The new business, started by the two chefs, has seen a gap in the Tourism market to provide tour operators with a new product of itineraries tailored to international and Irish tourists who have a love of all things foodie and wish to see some of Ireland’s artisan food producers in action on their farms and in their production units.

There are food "trips" offered by some other websites, where visitors to Ireland can find details of food producers, but they must make their own arrangements to get there by themselves. Irish Food Tours are the only Irish company to provide Guided Food Tours by Coach.


Each Irish Food Tour includes a minimum of 2 visits per day to various artisan food producers, all lunches & dinners in award winning local restaurants and all accommodation. (Inbound flight costs and beverages are not included.)

The new business is currently promoting their product, an Irish Food Tour, to travel agents via their international tour operator partners, the White's & Associated Hotels Group. Their new Food Tours have been described as “The best new Tourism Product to come on the Irish market in fifteen years”. Details of all Food Tours can be seen on their new website www.IrishFoodTours.ie.

The two food entrepreneurs have, just this week, launched the first of their Weekend Irish Food Tours and are starting off with a Food Tour of County Kilkenny, which starts on the 5th July. These short weekend tours consist of 2 nights Bed & Breakfast, 2 Gourmet Dinners, 2 Lunches and 4 Guided Food & Heritage visits to Artisan food producers and cultural sites and cost only €335 per person, all included. They are currently finalising the details for similar tours for each county in Ireland. Details of how to book a place on this tour are on their website.


There are also 7-day all-inclusive Irish Food Tours available. These are being targeted at international tour operators for the inbound tourism market and are a long-term strategy for the business. International visitors coming to Ireland should ask their Travel Agent about "Irish Food Tours".

IrishFoodTours.ie are also the only Irish tour group that pay the food producers for their time, to talk to and describe their methods of production to the tour guests, giving demonstrations and tastings. 

In this way the tour guests will get to hear the “story behind the food”. This extra revenue will help towards the food producers developing quality visitor centres for guests and will hopefully enable them to employ more staff as their business grows.

Franck Pasquier, an artisan Baker at Le Fournil, from Donegal Town 

Zack, a chef & food-blogger from Donegal Town said, “Over the last fifteen years or so, food in Ireland has undergone a massive transformation and the quality of the food now being produced here is absolutely second to none in the world!“

“Irish chefs are using these quality products to create wonderful menus and customers who are paying out hard-earned cash are demanding the best that they can get, ” he added. “There has been great interest in our business idea since we started putting it together last year. We have established links with Irish industry travel experts who regularly attend international Trade Fairs and they have come on board to use their contacts in the industry abroad to promote our Irish Food Tours abroad. We also have the support of the national tourism agencies.”

Zack continued, “The future of food, as a tourism business in Ireland, is an excellent opportunity for us to grow our business and to help others to grow their businesses too. Small food producers, with localised markets work very hard at what they do but don’t always have enough trade to employ more staff and grow. We are providing all the participating food businesses with an additional income stream and also the opportunity to build relationships with potential customers for sales & online sales into the future. We hope that our tours will increase revenue for the artisan producers, restaurants and accommodation providers. By doing so may help generate new employment in our industry.”

Zack & Wendy at the Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards

Wendy Kavanagh, the other founder of Irish Food Tours is also a chef and food promoter. “The general consensus among our Food partners is one of great expectation for the future,” she said. “They have the food products already on sale, the accommodation providers are operational, the restaurateurs are looking forward to new customers and we are the only company offering to amalgamate these products into a complete holiday package.”

Wendy added, “We are committed to using great products, our dedication is to creating a superb Food Experience for our guests and we believe that a rising tide really can lift all boats! We believe that our Irish Food Tours have the potential to become a very popular choice for people wishing to enjoy the best food that Ireland has to offer. The visitors get to meet the producers of the delicious cheeses, meats, breads and other foods, see the product being made and get to hear the story behind the food”.


“We were delighted to get so far in the Ulster Bank Business Achievers awards and for Irish Food Tours to be beaten by such an established group as Tayto Park is no bad thing. It gives an indication of the great potential we have for our business if we get the support of the people who love Irish Food.” said Zack.

For more about Irish Food Tours see their website at www.IrishFoodTours.ie

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The Irish Food Guide Blog www.IrishFoodGuide.ie 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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