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International Launch of Food On The Edge 2019 takes place in London

‘Food On The Edge Ambassador Programme’ Announced at London Launch.

The international launch of Food On The Edge 2019 took place this evening at Robin Gill’s newly-launched Darby’s restaurant in London. The event saw the announcement of the 2019 venue, the themes and list of speakers to date, as well as the launch of the Food On The Edge Ambassador Programme.

Food On The Edge takes place in Galway, Ireland, on Monday 21st & Tuesday 22nd October 2019. The venue for this years Food On The Edge event was also announced at the London launch, as being held in NUI Galway, Galway city’s university, for the second year.

JP McMahon, founder and symposium director of Food On The Edge, said, “We are delighted to launch Food On The Edge 2019 in London this year and to use this event to announce our new Food On The Edge Ambassador Programme. Each year we receive a large number of inspirational applicants hoping to partake and speak at Food On The Edge. These applicants are very often doing wonderful things for Irish food and developing the industry in their own way. While we have limited capacity of speaking slots, we wanted to do something to acknowledge these food champions. I hope this initiative will widen the reach of the Food On The Edge and act as its legacy into the future, eventually expanding onto a global scale.”

Six people who are working to change the landscape of Irish food and are exemplifying the Food On The Edge ethos, will be selected to be the Food On The Edge Ambassadors for 2019. The Ambassadors will be invited to speak in a discussion at Food On The Edge 2019
on the work they are doing, as well as receiving a two-day ticket to Food On The Edge and a profile on the Food On The Edge website. Food On The Edge Ambassador applicants are urged to go to the Food On The Edge website HERE for more details.

Mark Anderson of Gather & Gather officially launched the Food On The Edge Ambassador Programme and discussed the profound impact Food On The Edge had on him. Mark said, “It has had a massive impact on the food team at Gather & Gather. As a group of chefs it inspired us, motivated us, and changed how we think about the future of food. It helped us to put workplace catering on the same stage as some of the most brilliant forward-thinking people in the food world, which gives us the confidence to challenge the industry today, and inspire where we want to be tomorrow.”

Signature snacks at the launch celebrated Irish food and were prepared by London-based Irish chefs. Robin Gill prepared Dooncastle Oysters cooked over coal with Connemara Seaweed, Kevin Burke served up St. Tola Goats Cheese and Pepper Barbajuans, Anna Haugh created Black Pudding wrapped in Ballymakenny Spuds with Apple Purée, Aidan McGee prepared Braised Irish Beef Scrumpet, Horseradish and Aged Parmesan, and Shauna Froydenlund made Treacle Cured and Turf Smoked Trout, Dill on Sourdough Crumpets.

Speakers at the launch included UK-based chefs and Food On The Edge supporters such as  Pierre Koffmann, Skye Gyngell, Tom Brown, Claude Bosi and Doug McMaster.

JP McMahon said “The feedback from last year’s event was so positive and the facilities and support provided by management and staff of NUI Galway meant it was a very easy decision to make. The University is so close to the city centre and as Food Education is a driving factor behind the Food On The Edge ethos, NUI Galway itself is leading the way internationally in terms of third level education, so the fit is perfect”.

JP McMahon then went on to reveal the full list of confirmed speakers to date to add to the already  impressive line-up which includes cult
chefs and stars of the Netflix series Chef’s Table, namely Brazil’s most influential chef Alex Atala of D.O.M, and New Zealand-born Ben Shewry of Attica Restaurant. Columbian chef and winner of 2017 Best Female Chef in Latin America  Leonor Espinosa of Leo Cocina y Cava will be attending as well as trailblazer Daniel Giusti, former head chef of Noma in Copenhagen, who set up Brigaid, a project which puts professional chefs into public schools to transform and rethink school food.

Australian chef Mark Best of Bistro and Netflix fame from The Final Table; Prateek Sadhu of Masque, the number five ranked restaurant in Mumbai; British-Indian chef, presenter & food writer, Romy Gill of Romy’s Kitchen in Thornbury; Irish chef Derry Clarke of Michelin Star l’Ecrivain in Dublin; and Dalad Kambhu of Michelin Star Kin Dee in Berlin are just some of the ground-breaking chefs due to speak.

Other confirmed speakers are Alan Jenkins, editor of the Observer Food Monthly; Korean-born Danish chef Kristian Baumann of Michelin Star Restaurant 108 in Copenhagen; chef, cookbook writer and activist Sophia Hoffmann of Berlin’s Café Isla Coffee; ‘Contemporary’ pizza chef Denis Lovatel of Pizzeria Ezio in the mountains of Belluno; and Brazilian chef Alberto Landgraf, of Oteque in Rio de Janeiro.

Food On The Edge 2019, the two-day programme of 15-minute talks, panel discussions, masterclasses and networking activity, with an artisan food village showcasing the best of Irish and West of Ireland food produce. The event will take place on the 21st and 22nd of October in Galway.

Early Bird Tickets for Food On The Edge are available at a reduced rate of €350 until the end of June which includes admission on both days, lunches, and entertainment on both nights. Installments plan payments are also available. Purchase Tickets Here 

Gather & Gather will be a principal partner of the event again this year, and the Food On The Edge team are delighted to announce Fáilte Ireland as a principal partner for Food On The Edge 2019. San Pellegrino, who have been on board since day one, are returning as major sponsors along with new major sponsors, Galway Bay Brewery.

For more information see Check out @FoodOnTheEdge on social media and follow the official hashtag #FOTE2019 for regular updates.

All Ireland Butchery Team determined to regain title of Best Butchers in the World

Team Ireland's Butchery Excellence Team are heading over to compete at Dalziel’s Butchers Show, in Harrogate, UK, this weekend, as part of their journey to the 2020 World Butchery Challenge.

Each team, in this weekend's competition, have just two hours and fifteen minutes to break down a range of primal meat cuts and turn them into a world class display of pre-determined products and their own creations.

Butchery Team Ireland are focused on ensuring they remain Best Butchers in the World!

Ireland is the current reigning World Champion with the Best Butchers in the World title and this nine-strong Irish team will compete at the next World Butchery Challenge which is taking place in Sacramento, California, in 2020. The team is made up with Butchers from all over the island of Ireland.

The World Butchers' Challenge will see teams of six butchers, each team representing different countries from around the world, going head to head. The butchers will have to go in front of a team of highly qualified judges, preparing innovative and creative meat products.

Leading the team is team Ireland's captain Keith Walsh, from Eddie Walsh & Sons in Donegal Town.

Keith Walsh, from Eddie Walsh & Sons in Donegal Town

Keith Walsh, from Eddie Walsh & Sons in Donegal Town is the Team Captain

Keith is joined in the team by his uncle Liam Walsh, also from Eddie Walsh & Sons butchers in Donegal Town, who is competing following his success in the team in 2018.

Also on the team is Conor Reynolds, who recently won gold at the International Young Butcher competition in Perth and will represent the team in the young butcher category from M & W Farm Meats, Portadown Co.Armagh.

The other members of  team Ireland include:

  • vice-captain Paul Hamilton from Gary Coote Meats, Fivemiletown 
  • WBC Ireland Judge Sean McKay from McKay's Family Butchers in Ballycastle 
  • Jim Murphy from Murphy's Family Butchers, Tullow 
  • Ger O Callaghan from Drinagh Eurospar, Skibereen 
  • Bryan McNamee from B & M Meats, Newry 
  • Steven Dobson from Dunbia, Dungannon.

“Our win in 2018 was incredibly tough as the competition from across the world is extremely high, and our win was hard fought, but we don’t intend on giving up our crown." said Keith Walsh, team captain. "For the next 12 months, the team and I are focused on ensuring Team Ireland remains the Best Butchers in the World,” he added.

Team Ireland is managed by Rhonda Montgomery from Butchery Excellence International.

Team Ireland is managed by Rhonda Montgomery from Butchery Excellence International.
Rhonda Montgomery from Butchery Excellence International.

"Team Ireland will be demonstrating how our win in 2018 - the first year that Team Ireland competed – wasn’t down to the ‘luck of the Irish’ – it was a true reflection of the level of skill of our butchers here in NI and Ireland.” said Rhonda Montgomery.

For the next 16 months Team Ireland will be in training for the World Butchery Challenge, which is taking place in September 2020.

Wishing the Best of Success to the Irish Butchery Team!

Irish National Brown Bread Baking Competition Sponsored by Aldi, Launches for 2019

And there's up to €15,000 on offer for the overall winner!

Aldi are once again sponsoring The National Brown Bread Baking Competition, in association with the National Ploughing Association (NPA) and the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA).

 Relaunched five years ago by the NPA, the event has proven to be a huge success, with entries from each one of the 26 counties. NPA MD Anna May Mc Hugh and ICA President Josephine Helly were joined today by Sile Seoige (MC of the competition), Emma Ferguson (2018 winner) and Eileen Brennan (NPA) to announce details of this year’s competition.

The National Brown Bread Baking competition is open to both members and non-members of the ICA, and baking enthusiasts have the opportunity to earn some serious 'dough', with a share of the profits from the sale of their winning loaf once it goes on sale in Aldi*.

NPA Managing Director Anna May McHugh said “Given the huge popularity and success of the National Brown Bread Baking competition at Ploughing over the past four years, we are once again delighted to be renewing our partnership with Aldi and the ICA.  It is wonderful to see the long and great tradition of baking in Ireland alive and well at Ploughing.  The total attendance figures for the 2018 National Championships  came to over 240,000 and this year’s event in the new location of Ballintrane, Fenagh, Co. Carlow looks set to be bigger and better than ever.”

The 2018 Aldi Brown Bread Baking Competition Winner, Emma Ferguson from County Meath

Once again this year, entering the competition will be easier than ever, and Aldi is encouraging any bakers over the age of 16 to take part to be in with a chance of seeing their bread on shelves nationwide.

Keen bakers can enter via the Aldi heats by dropping their bread off at the following locations on the following dates:

  • Aldi Ireland Head Office, Newbridge Road, Naas, Co. Kildare (12th June 2019 from 10.30am – 1pm)
  • Aldi Regional Office, Limerick Road, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork (12th June 2019 from 10.30am – 1pm)
  • Aldi Store, New Town Centre, Oranmore, Co. Galway (19th June from 10.30am – 1pm)
  • Aldi Store, Wexford Retail Park, Clonard Little, Wexford (19th June from 10.30am – 1pm)

All entries must be clearly marked with the bakers Name, Address and contact number.

Group Buying Director, John Curtin said, "At Aldi, we are a proud supporter of Irish suppliers so we are delighted to sponsor The National Brown Bread Baking Competition again, celebrating something as quintessentially Irish as brown bread. ‘Emma’s Brown Bread’ has proven a hit with our customers, and we hope the winner this year will achieve the same success with their brown bread. Now, we are making it easier than ever for people to enter with our regional drop off points, and so we hope to see keen bakers getting involved. At Aldi, we sell a range of great value baking essentials in our 137 stores nationwide so consumers can stock their pantries and make home baked goods all year round.”

ICA members can participate in the competition through local Guilds, with heats taking place nationwide and regional finals taking place at An Grianán, ICA Adult Education Centre on July 18th

Speaking at the launch, Josephine Helly, President of the ICA said, Our members are once again delighted to be taking part in the National Brown Bread Baking Competition to find the best Brown Bread baker in Ireland.  There has been huge interest and the winner will be generously rewarded.”

The four finalists selected from the Aldi bread drops, along with the four finalists selected through the ICA will compete at the National Finals. The National Finals will be held from 17th – 19th September at the Aldi Marquee during the 2019 National Ploughing Championships in Ballintrane, Fenagh, Co. Carlow.

If you think you have the recipe for success, log onto or for information on how to enter and further details about the county finals.

The winner’s brown bread will also be stocked in all Aldi Stores in Ireland for twelve months and they will receive a share of the profits, which could reach €15,000 for the year.

Also keep an eye on hashtags #AldiPloughing and #Ploughing19 on all social media platforms!


Taste The Island - A Celebration of Food and Drink All Over Ireland

“We know that our food and drink experiences are world class, now we want the World to know too.”

Taste the Island, an All-Island Celebration of the amazing food and drink produced here in Ireland will showcase Northern Ireland & the Republic of Ireland's Food & Drink, together for the first time, from September to November 2019.

This new initiative has been developed in response to growing global interest in food and drink by Fáilte Ireland, in collaboration with Tourism Ireland, Tourism Northern Ireland and a range of stakeholders. 

Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting Northern Ireland and the whole island of Ireland overseas, as a leading holiday destination.

The extensive programme running all over Ireland, for three months, will help create an international awareness and renewed appreciation at home and abroad of the strength and richness of Ireland’s cuisine today. 

This is an excellent opportunity to internationally market the modern food offerings that are available here on the island of Ireland and to finally purge the perception abroad that the only food people eat in Ireland is bacon and cabbage, breakfast fries and potatoes!

The aim of the Taste The Island program of events is to provide visitors with access to authentic food and drink experiences, high quality local ingredients and world class Irish food and drink produce and further develop the Irish Food Tourism experiences available around the whole island. (see also

Workshops are currently being rolled out throughout the country, from Donegal to Limerick and from Athlone to Dingle, to inform the local food and drink industry about this exciting initiative for food and drink providers. The workshops have been organised for the industry to learn more and provide them with the opportunity to shape the development of a programme of events and experiences for 2019.

Martina Kerr Bromley, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Enterprise Development, said, We are urging people in the food and drink industry throughout Ireland to get involved and participate in our upcoming workshops in your area.  The programme of events for ‘Taste the Island’, will include visits to food producers, distillers and brewers; food trails, food festivals, participation in traditional skills, opportunities to forage, traditional pubs, small-town cafés, restaurants, city bistros and Michelin-starred experiences."

Tracey Coughlan, Fáilte Ireland’s Food Strategy Manager, added, We’ve done the research and know that in order to respond to the rapid growth in travel today and increasing visitor expectations around food and drink, an initiative of scale is required to maximise our full potential in all areas. The international competition is intense, if we want to ensure that the tourism industry capitalises fully, this initiative will have to grow on a sustained annual basis.”

Businesses and event organisers are invited to come along to the workshops to hear more details on how tourism can play a role in their business.

Taste the Island Workshop details for the Republic of Ireland are as follows:

Attendance at all Taste The Island Workshops is FREE but you must register in advance. Registration is via the Failte Ireland Trade Portal (Click Here)  Simply sign in with your FI account details or sign up if you do not have an account - its very easy.

Taste the Island Workshop details for Northern Ireland are as follows:

Tourism Northern Ireland is truly excited to announce their involvement in Taste the Island - A Celebration of Ireland’s Food and Drink.

2019 will be the first of a three-year commitment, delivered in conjunction with their partners at Tourism Ireland and Failte Ireland. The timing of the 8 week programme will build on the success of the 2016 Year of Food and Drink and coincides as they celebrate Northern Ireland winning ‘Best Food Destination’ at the International Travel and Tourism Awards 2018/19.

The all island celebration will provide to visitors, both domestic and international, compelling reasons to visit Northern Ireland through the promotion of festivals and events, high quality local produce and authentic food and drink experiences.  Taste the Island aims to enhance our food and drink reputation by showcasing our high quality produce and experiences, as well as assisting in seasonal extension and regional distribution. 

Tourism NI is inviting businesses, networks and individuals interested in providing tourists with a food or drink experience to attend workshops in their local area to find out how they can get involved in ‘Taste the Island’.  

Information sessions will inform the sector about this exciting food and drink initiative.  These workshops have been organised to help the industry to learn more and provide them with the opportunity to shape the development of a programme of events and experiences for 2019 and beyond.

Northern Ireland #TasteTheIsland Workshop details are as follows:

Thursday 30th May 11:00-13:15 - Clandeboye Lodge Hotel, Bangor

Friday 31st May 14:00-16:15 – The Hill of the O’Neill & Ranfurly House, Dungannon

Monday 3rd June 14:00-16:15 - Bishops Gate Hotel, Derry/Londonderry

To register your attendance at one of the information sessions, go to the Northern Ireland #TasteTheIsland Registration Page HERE and register the amount of Delegate places you want, then click Continue to Registration Details to select the session you wish to attend.

If you have a food business or a tourism business that could have a food element attached to it I would highly recommend that you attend your nearest Taste The Island Workshop and take advantage of this amazing opportunity. 

Can you imagine the international marketing kudos that the Island of Ireland will benefit from by showing that Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are working together to showcase our amazing food and tourism product. 

I'm personally so delighted to see this All-Ireland Celebration of All of Ireland’s Food and Drink and the excellent collaboration that is going to really help the island of Ireland to change the perception of our Irish Food away from being though of as only Potatoes, Bacon & Cabbage, Stew or the Ulster Fry! 

I'm also very proud of the people in Failte Ireland, TourismNI and Tourism Ireland for working together to promote our amazing Irish Food, from all over the island of Ireland!

Keep an eye on hashtag #TasteTheIsland all social media channels for more news and info.

Happy Days and Taste The Island!

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