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Flavours of the Foyle Festival This Weekend in Derry City

Live cookery demonstrations by local chefs and restaurants will be on the menu in Derry City, Northern Ireland, this weekend for the "Flavours of the Foyle Festival" which takes place from Saturday 30th June & Sunday 1st July. 
The Food Festival ties in with the Derry Leg of the Clipper Round the World Race 2012

This fabulous seafood festival celebrates the best that Derry City has to offer, with live cookery demonstrations, food stalls hosted by local chefs and restaurants offering authentic seafood dishes to try and buy. Check out the blackboard specials at the cooking stands priced from £2.00 - £6.00

Flavours of the Foyle offers entertainment for the young and young at heart with ice sculpture, street theatre, storytelling with ‘fishy tales’, puppetry and other fund activities. 

Local & Celebrity chefs will be Demonstrating the best of local produce all afternoon beside the Festival Marquee on both Saturday & Sunday on Queen's Quay.

Internationally acclaimed "Sontas" are performing on the main stage on Sunday. This group bring together the best of Unique Ulster – Scots & Irish music, song and dance together in an exciting and colourful stage show. Featuring young artists from the Northwest counties of Derry / Londonderry, Tyrone & Donegal, The group focuses on the shared elements of their cultures in a modern contemporary way, while still maintaining the respect for their shared tradition and heritage.

Sontas - the sounds of a Unique Ulster heritage in modern times
Music, Song, Stories & Tall Tales all Week end at the Festival

Lobsters & Lettuce Festival in Bundoran on 6th July Weekend!

The Lobsters & Lettuce Festival Bundoran celebrates the Atlantic Ocean and all its bounty. 

Artisan and local producers and chefs from our restaurants, hotels and bars will come together to demonstrate the good food available in this area of the North West of Ireland. 

Food, Surfing, Angling, Swimming, Flora, Fauna, Birdlife and Much More! Celebrity Chefs, Artisan producers, local groups and experts will all join in the fun with demonstrations, cook-offs, treasure hunts and loads more. 

Here is some of the Line-Up for the Lobster & Lettuce Festival which runs, in Bundoran, Co Donegal
from the 6th - 8th July 2012.

Friday 6th July 2012

4:00 pm Carnival Lobsters & Lettuce Parade from Bundoran Boat Quay to Festival Site

5:00 pm Enda Hughes – From Harbour to Harbour; Killybegs to Sydney presented by Marlboro House Restaurant

Jazz from the magnificent Rare Groove Funk Orchestra

Lobsters & Lettuce Barbecue in event arena

6:00 pm Panel of Chefs of Ireland– Demo

Old Hands in the Kitchen in Lobsters Marquee

Saturday 7th July

11:00 am Grow Your Own Organic Salad Bowl with Hans Wieland –Organic Centre at Glor Na Mara Community Garden, 10 minutes walk from town centre.

12:00 pm Can’t Cook? Might Cook! Semi Final 1

La Sabbia and Stakes Restaurants, Bundoran do battle

1:00 pm Can’t Cook? Might Cook! Semi Final 2

Marlboro House and Fox’s Lair Restaurants, Bundoran do battle

1:45pm Guided Walk at low Tide with Olivia Crossan of Coast Care – (numbers limited)

2:00 pm Award-winning chef, Piero Melis of the Courthouse Restaurant, Kinlough – Shelling and Cooking with Oysters

3:00 pm Everyday cooking with seaweeds from the Irish Seaweed Kitchen

4:00 pm Healthy Children’s Lobsters & Lettuce Ready Steady Cook with Eithna O’Sullivan

5:00 pm The Right Wine? With Dicey Reillys Award winning Off-License and Louis Latour Wines

6:00 pm Authentic Florida Gumbo and Grits with Tracy Bertram from the USA presented by La Sabbia Restaurant.

Sunday 8th July

11:00 am Ornamental Planting for beside the sea with Paul Dunleavey, Le Fleur, Ballyshannon

12:00 pm Cooking with Wild Food, Gaby Wieland, Herbalist and Cooking Instructor -

RNLI Rescue Demo in Bundoran Bay visible from Festival Site


1:00 pm Cakes & Bakes with Regina Shallow of South West College, NI

2:00 pm Slow Food Demo from Michael McLoone of Muses Restaurant

3:00 pm Can’t Cook? Might Cook! Final Cook Off between ???

4:00 pm Mexican Meets Irish with Marlboro House Restaurant

5:00 pm Lobsters & Lettuce – The Real Deal, cooking with Eithna O’Sullivan of Source Sligo Cookery School and Eithna’s Mullaghmore

6:00 pm A Tale of Two Towns – Costumed Historical Tour of Bundoran culminating in Ceili with the Assaroe Ceili Band at Lettuce Marquee

For further Details see
Follow @ on Twitter

Details of the Irish Cheese Awards 2012 Announced

The Irish Cheese Awards 2012 have just been launched and they are calling for all Irish Cheese producers to take part!

This is the third year of the awards and the for the first time, the Sheila Broderick Memorial National Farmhouse Cheese Competition, which traditionally took place at Listowel Food Fair, has been integrated into the awards. This year, the Sheila Broderick Memorial Trophy will be presented to the Supreme Champion of the Irish Cheese Awards by her daughter Eilish, adding additional prestige to the event for cheese producers.

Eilish Broderick presenting Dick Willems of Coolea Cheese
with the Sheila Broderick Memorial award at the 2011 Listowel Food Fair 
The awards are organised by Sheridans and will be awarded at SHOP 2012 which will be held on the 25th - 27th September at the RDS Simmonscourt, Dublin.

Kevin Sheridan from Sheridans Cheesemongers explains:
“There is a phenomenal amount of interest in Irish farmhouse cheese and this is reflected in the growth of the sector, both at home and abroad. Irish agriculture is one of our truly good news stories and the success of Irish cheese reflects how well premium quality driven produce is received here in Ireland and in export markets. The Irish Cheese Awards seek to honour our cheese makers for the hard work and creativity they put in to their products.”

Open to Irish farmhouse cheese makers and dairies, this year the organisers are expecting to surpass the 146 entries in 2011, and have added two additional categories to reflect the growing market of speciality cheeses in Ireland. ‘Soft Cheese with Flavour Added’ and the division of the ‘Goat’s Milk’ category into ‘Under Two Months’ and ‘Over Two Months’ has seen the award categories grow from 14 to 16.  Other categories include ‘Sheep’s Milk Cheese’, ‘Blue Cheese’, ‘Mature’ and ‘Bloomy Rind’ with the “big cheese” at the event being crowned ‘Supreme Champion’. 

Speaking about the benefits for cheese makers of entering the competition, Elisabeth Ryan from Sheridans Cheesemongers says:
 “A category win at the Irish Cheese Awards really raises the profile of a cheese. This is now the third year of the awards and consumers can see the correlation between the quality of the product and the distinctive gold medal award on the packaging.”

Kevin Sheridan, Sheridan’s Cheesemongers, Minister of State Shane McEntee
with Marion Roeleveld from Killeen Farmhouse  Supreme Cheese 2011 
County Galway producer, Marion Roeleveld of Killeen Farmhouse, scooped the Supreme Cheese accolade in 2011 with her Killeen Goat Mature cheese. Speaking of her 2011 win, Marion said: 

“To be crowned the Supreme Cheese at the Irish Cheese Awards at SHOP 2011 was a real honour and recognition for the hard work that we’ve put into making Killeen Goat Mature. This win had a hugely positive impact for our business, and opened doors to lots of new customers who appreciate high quality Irish cheese.” 

Entries are now open for the Irish Cheese Awards, and the organisers are hoping to encourage as many producers as possible to take part in this year’s event. You can enter as many cheeses as you wish!

Cheeses will be judged on their: flavour & aroma; body & texture; and colour and overall appearance. The judging panel will be made up of leading and independent experts from the industry, including Ross Lewis from Chapter One and acclaimed cheese author Patricia Nicholson and entries must be submitted by 31 August 2012. 

Matt Benyon, Managing Director of easyFairs in Ireland & the UK, which organises the Irish Cheese Awards and the SHOP exhibition, says: “The Irish Cheese Awards is one the highlights of SHOP, and attracts many visitors who travel specifically to sample the cheeses and find out which producer will be the next ‘big cheese’. We are delighted not only to be working once again with Sheridans, which expertly organises the awards and the judging, but also incorporating the prestigious Sheila Broderick Memorial Trophy into the Cheese Awards.” 

SHOP, a dedicated trade show for the retail, food, drink and hospitality sectors, takes place from 25-27 September 2012, at the RDS Simmonscourt. 

For further information or to register for free entry to the exhibition log onto: 
and follow the event on Twitter @SHOP_2012


Irish Village Markets launch a new free Trader Information Handbook

As a result of the recession, Ireland has seen a huge increase in the number of people turning to markets and market trading as a low overhead means of generating an income. Many new traders find that the information regarding legal and insurance obligations, health regulations and codes of practice can be difficult to source.

To remedy this, Des Vallely and Tara Dalton of Irish Village Markets, (IVM), have launched a compact, easy to read, handbook which aims to provide new market traders with all relevant information in one simple and free download.
With support and co-funding from Markets Alive Support Team, (MAST), Bank of Ireland and information from The Food Safety Authority of Ireland, (FSAI); the handbook is a comprehensive guide for anyone thinking of becoming a market/event trader. It includes information on Insurance requirements, trader’s rights plus casual trading and licence requirements. There is a comprehensive guide to food safety and HACCP, which covers food handling, registering a food business and vendor responsibility. It also has a brief guide to financial considerations, together with banking and legal advice.

“It can be both daunting and difficult for a new trader to find all of the information required to ensure their business is compliant." says Des Vallely, IVM. "It became clear that many traders found themselves in circles trying to ensure that they had all aspects of their business covered. We understand the frustrations; we started as market traders and now run over 9 weekly lunchtime markets. Producing this handbook, which can be downloaded free of charge from our website allows the trader an easier route to market without the need to wade through the quagmire of information.” 

MAST, the market insurance and liability experts with a membership base spanning the 32 counties; have worked closely with IVM in the production of this handbook. “We assist and advise hundreds of traders who are in the process of setting up their businesses." says Ciaran Casey, MAST. "We are also currently in partnership with Dublin City Council in a bid to get EU INTERREG funding for market development. If this application is successful MAST will use their portion of the funding to compile a national database of market traders. This is vital if the industry wants to receive the attention it deserves from government.” 

There are currently no Irish government statistics to demonstrate how much markets are worth to the economy. However, if UK figures based on markets turnover and population are extrapolated to Ireland, it can be estimated markets in Ireland are generating between €500/€600 million per annum and employing as many as 16,000 people
The Village Market Handbook is free and can now be downloaded HERE 
or check it out on or from Thursday, 21st June.

A Short Irish Tourism Film - How Fairhead in Co Antrim got it's name

Here's a short 5 minute Tourism Film that my good friend John Bustard produced for Northern Ireland Tourism a few years ago. The video describes the influence, in Ireland, of the Vikings on their arrival.

Fair Head is a large headland overlooking Ballycastle, Co. Antrim. This is the story of how Fairhead in Co Antrim got it's name. 

Watch out for the disgruntled messenger that ends up gettin thrown over a cliff (That's Me!) 

The film was made and by produced by John Bustard of Awakin Publishing, based in Portballintrae, near the Giants Caueway in Northern Ireland.
AWAKIN stands for ‘Audio-Visual Welcoming Applications. Knowledge and Innovation Now!
They build Simple, Practical and useful experiences to support your visitors.
Their chosen tools are:
  • Smartphone Apps
  • Mobile Ready Web iBooks
  • Social Games
  • Facebook Delivery
  • Twitter Strategy & Responsible E-Marketing
They provide these tools to help you find new customers, retain valuable customers, to increase their spend and to keep them connected to your business. They offer this with clear and understandable pricing as well as advice to help you take and automate action quickly and effectively!
Find out more about them HERE

EatGalway is Bordbia's June 2012 JUST ASK Restaurant of the Month

Just Ask! is a public awareness campaign run by Bordbia, The Irish Food Board, that aims to encourage consumers, when eating out, to look for information on where the food on their plate comes from and to encourage chefs to provide this information on their menus.”

In recent years, here in Ireland, the publicity generated by chefs in kitchens demanding better produce to work with in the first place have heightened the standards expected by customers in restaurants. Although often more expensive to buy because of the scale of operation, locally sourced produce, especially meats, are finally becoming the norm and the expected on Irish menus.

Restaurants are encouraged to provide transparency to customers by crediting the local suppliers for their product and providing supplier (particularly meat) details and country of origin information on their menus.

Each Month Bordbia pick one Just Ask Restaurant of the Month based on these criteria
and their June 2012 recommendation is: 

EatGalway – a trio of restaurants in Galway City!

JP McMahon, Chef & one of the proprietors of EatGalway
Drigín Gaffey one of the proprietors of EatGalway
Chef JP McMahon who owns the restaurants with his wife Drigín Gaffeysaid, "We are committed to showcasing local and speciality Irish foods, albeit with international interpretation.  Our mantra is ‘Three restaurants, One philosophy: Good Food, Local Suppliers and Artisan Produce’. Their supplier list reads like a who's who of the best of west-coast Irish artisan produce!

Click the Logo for more Details
Gastro Pub food at Massimo

Massimo Restaurant - part of EatGalway

"The Allen family’s Castlemine Farm in Co. Roscommon supplies us with free range pork, lamb and grass fed beef.  Irish pork, lamb and beef are also supplied by Collerans Butchers of Galway and Morgan Maguire Meats in Ballinasloe."

Click on the Logo for more Details
The food at Cava Restaurant is made for sharing

Cava Tapas Restaurant - part of EatGalway

"The Friendly Farmer (Ronan Byrne) of Athenry supplies us with free range chicken and livers, while locally sourced fresh fish is supplied by both Moycullen Seafoods and Gannet Fishmongers in Galway."

Click on the Logo for more Details

Aniar's kitchen is run by Enda McEvoy -Bridgestone Chef of the Year, 2011

Aniar Restaurant - part of EatGalway

"Smoked salmon, mackerel and tuna all come from Connemara Smokehouse of Galway.  Our respected suppliers are listed on our menus”.

Click Here for more details and the EatGalway 

If you are own an Irish Restaurant you can check to see if you fit the criteria to be considered for a JUST ASK recommendation Click HERE

A Review of some Terras Gauda wines New to the Irish Market

The Spanish Wine Group TERRAS GAUDA has launched several new wines on the Irish market and they kindly sent me a few bottles to sample. I really love my wine but I would never pretend to be a connoisseur. If it tastes good, that to me, is the most important quality. And these tasted great! 

So here is my first ever wine review. I hope you enjoy reading it, as much as I did testing for it!!

The Vineyards of the Terras Gauda estate lie in the O Rosal valley, close to the mouth of the river Miño in the A Guarda area. This is north-western Spain, only a few miles from the border with Portugal. The vineyards, which are between 50 and 150 metres above sea level, enjoy an exceptional micro-climate characterised by mild temperatures, with an annual average of 15°C, very little frost and abundant rainfall (sounds like Cavan!) The micro-climate is ideal for ripening the grapes with a high sugar content and a lower acidity level than in other parts of the Rías Baixas designation of origin area that lie further to the north.

Click here for the Terras Gauda website

La Mar 2009
First up is this wonderful La Mar 2009. Made from a mix of Caino Blanco grapes 85% which is a native variety from O Rosal area (and was virtually extinct) and Albariño grapes 15%. This distinctly unique wine is the first ever to be produced almost entirely from the indigenous Caino Blanco grape. This is a bold and determined white wine that carries itself with the dignity of someone who knows their capabilities! Initially sweet to taste, it develops a bite, that then mellows and leaves you with a ripe fruity pleasure on the tongue. There are fine smells of cut grass, mango and balsamic and even a touch of pine forest! It finishes with a ripe peachy-tasting tingle (as I reach for another glass!) Alcohol strength 12.5%.

La Prohibicion 2006
La Prohibicion 2006 is a superb red wine from the Terras Gauda stable, made from a grape mix of 60% Garnacha Tintorera and 40% Mencía. It is a fragrant, seductive wine with a fruity nose, hints of rich sunblushed cherries and wee touches of herbs & spices. We shared this over some grilled lamb cutlets and found it perfectly well balanced for red meats and yet a brave enough wine to enjoy on its own standing. It is one of the tastiest red wines I've ever had and that's the truth! Alcohol strength 14%.

Pittacum Barrica 2007 
This Pittacum Barrica 2007 is simply divine! A rich plummy coloured red, this wine is very decadent and deserves to be drank with your very best friend! Made with 100% Mencía grapes, there are tastes of raspberries and cherries and chocolate in it and you can almost feel each flavour wash separately over your tongue. And after all that, it finishes with a sort of vanilla-toffee taste that reminds me of baileys & brown bread ice-cream. Delicious! Alcohol strength 14.5%.

Terras Gauda O Rosal
The Terras Gauda O Rosal is considered the flagship wine of the winery and it certainly stood up to its reputation. Made from grapes native to the region they blend Albarino 70%, Loureira 20% and Caino Blanco 10% to create a wonderfully crisp and well-rounded white wine. Actually it is more of a greenish-yellow in colour but it is just perfect for a seafood barbecue. We could taste something that resembles that smell you get when you're peeling a ripe & juicy orange, crossed with homemade apple & cinnamon tart with honey drizzled on it! A fresh clean lip-smacking bite finished of the drink. Alcohol strength 12.5%.

Pittacum Aurea 2007
Next out of my sampling box was this tasty wee number. Pittacum Aurea 2007 is a limited production run of only 950 cases making this one of the more expensive of my lot, retailing at around the €35 mark. But again it is a very impressive red wine from the Terras Gauda group and it's also made with 100% Mencia grapes grown on the estate. Due to it's altitude location they can harvest these grapes up to a month earlier than the rest of the region and this helps give the wine its unique flavour. This wine is oak aged for 20 months. It has good fruity flavours of strawberry and plum or maybe cherry and has a light spicy edge to it also. We tasted it with Bellingham blue cheese and some of my venison pate and they worked great together. It was recommended that the wine be decanted and the extra oxygen mix certainly did help release some wonderful aromas in the wine. Definitely a wine for an extra special guest! Alcohol strength 14.5%.

Abadia de San Campio 2010
This white from Terras Gauda is called Abadia de San Campio 2010. Look out for it over the summer because this wine was simply a fruity, bright, cold, aromatic, tasty bottle of ripened and fermented 100% Albarino grapes. We sat in the garden and drank this bottle on one of the hottest days of the year so far and wished we had three more! A very bright and clear wine, it smelled lovely even as it was just popped and even better once it was poured. Maybe it's only my imagination, but I believe in pouring wine into a glass with gusto, to get more air moving through it and open up all those delicious juicy perfumes - none of this balancing it on the tips of your fingers and thumbs stuff that you see young waiters just out of college doing! This wine would be great with shellfish or crab salad or any fresh seafood probably. The little crisp edge as it washes down your throat reminded me of an apple called a Kerry Pippen that one of my aunties used to grow. We loved it. Alcohol strength 12.5%.

Quinta Sardonia 2007 
As with when you're coming up with any new recipe, it takes several times tested and tried to get the perfect balance of ingredients and flavours. The work has proved well worth it for this very adult red wine, the Quinta Sardonia 2007. Made with a variety of grapes with 52% Tinto Fino and 26% Cabernet Sauvignon along with Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec, the winery has produced a very fine mature wine that drinks well. A deep reddish-purple wine full of aromas, it tastes of blackberries and plumbs with a gorgeous black peppery feel on the lips. The wine is clarified with egg whites, in the same way you make a traditional Consommé and aged for sixteen months in oak barrels before bottling. There is a great range of flavours in this luscious red - I even got a little taste of old fashioned strong tea somewhere towards the end of my generous sips!  
It was recommended to open this wine two hours before drinking to open up the aromas, so I poured it into a decanter as I didn't think much air would get down that narrow neck! Certainly a red wine that can stand proudly among the many other excellent wines available today. Alcohol strength 15%.

And there you have it. My first ever review of some wines and I think I was very lucky to get such a superb selection to start with!

Thanks to the guys at Terras Gauda for the wine. These wines are distributed in Ireland by:
Twitter @classic_drinks
Unit 5 OC Commercial Park, Little Island, Cork.
Tel: 00 353 21451 0066

Win 2 Tickets to Food & Wine Awards 2012

Now in their 12th year, the FOOD&WINE Magazine Restaurant of the Year Awards are considered the most prestigious and authoritative culinary awards on the Irish calendar, in that they recognise and reward Ireland’s best restaurants and chefs. 

The Awards will be held in the Convention Centre, Dublin, on Sunday 19th August 2012.

Irish Wine Importer Febvre & Co. are the new Main Sponsors of this year's event. 

Speaking at the announcement of the sponsorship, Kerri Judge, Marketing Manager, Febvre & Company spoke of her delight about the sponsorship and the synergies it offered: 

“As a family owned distributor, representing Maison Louis Latour and other family-owned wineries, to be given the opportunity to sponsor the prestigious FOOD&WINE Magazine Restaurant of the Year awards makes great sense! 

"Most of the restaurants in Ireland are family run to the highest international standards and we are proud to be associated with them and with FOOD&WINE Magazine”  Kerri  added.

Voting in the FOOD&WINE Magazine/ Louis Latour Restaurant of the Year awards is NOW OPEN!

The public can vote for their favourite restaurant by completing the voting forms in the current issue of FOOD&WINE Magazine, or by completing the voting forms in their favourite restaurant.

Votes can be cast in the Categories of:
Best Restaurant (Ulster, Munster, Leinster, Connaught and Dublin) 
Best Chef (Ulster, Munster, Leinster, Connaught and Dublin)
Best Wine Experience
Best Sommelier
Best Casual Dining Experience
Best Ethnic/World Cuisine
Best Service
Best Style Award

Ross Golden-Bannon, Editor of FOOD&WINE Magazine said:“We are thrilled to have well-respected brands such as Febvre and Maison Louis Latour on board for the 2012 FOOD&WINE Magazine Restaurant of the Year Awards.  The FOOD&WINE Magazine Restaurant of the Year Awards are considered the most authoritative in the country and to be aligned with such iconic brands as Febvre, Maison Louis Latour and other quality wineries illustrates the calibre of the Awards”.

Votes can be cast in the FOOD&WINE Magazine Restaurant of the Year Awards between now and 25th June, 2012.

Win 2 Tickets to the Awards Ceremony! 
To enter you must Nominate your Favourite Restaurant & Chef in Ireland!

For further Details Contact Sarah Currey, at Harmonia in Dublin
on (01) 240 5387 or email 

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