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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 food news blog and Wendy, on twitter as  @mychefathome, runs the food producers directory listings at

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

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". 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

Book a County Kilkenny Irish Food Tour Weekend have been building up connections with Food Producers, Restaurants, Accommodation Providers and much more, to offer guided Irish Food Tours by coach 
throughout ALL 32 COUNTIES in IRELAND

Irish Food Tour Weekends are NOW AVAILABLE!


Tours limited to only 20 guests per tour.
Guests must make their own way to Tour Starting point.

County Kilkenny Irish Food Tour
IFTKK1 - Weekend

County Kilkenny Irish Food Tour – IFTKK1 - Tour Details

Tour Starting Point: Pembroke Hotel, Patrick St Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland.


· Check in to Pembroke Hotel 2 x B&B
· Dinner at Zuni Restaurant


· Luxury Coach pickup at hotel
· Tour of Highbank Orchard & tastings
· Visit Nicholas Mosse pottery in Bennettsbridge - Tea rooms
· Lunch followed by tour and smoking demo at Goatsbridge Trout Farm
· Guided tour of Jerpoint Abbey
· Visit Glasraí & Goodies in Gowran
· Dinner in Pembroke Hotel


· Food/Blogging Photography/ tips by Suzanna Crampton
· Lunch at Kytelers Inn
· Guided tour of Kilkenny Castle

County Kilkenny Irish Food Tour – IFTKK1 Includes:
2 Nights Bed & Breakfast
2 Fabulous Dinners
2 Wonderful Lunches
2 Artisan Food Visits
1 Gourmet Artisan Food Shop Visit
1 Artisan Craft Visit
1 Foodie Workshop
2 Culture & Heritage visits
Beverages are Not Included

Included in cost: All Accommodation, Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, Coach
and all Food Producer and Heritage visits. Not included: Beverages.

For more info go to

Burren Slow Food Festival 2013 takes place This Weekend

The 7th Annual Burren Slow Food Festival takes place in Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare, on the weekend of 17-19 May.

This year’s special guest is UK-based Irish Chef Richard Corrigan, who is actively involved in the Slow Food Movement in the UK and has created the ‘Lost and Forgotten’ list of ingredients. Richard champions domestic farmers and growers that are helping to ensure we don’t lose these important parts of our heritage.

Chef Richard Corrigan is the special guest at the Burren Slow Food Festival

The Slow Food dinner will be hosted by Aidan McGrath and Kate Sweeney at The Wild Honey Inn in Lisdoonvarna on Saturday 18th May, where Chef Corrigan will join Aidan and his team in preparing a special dinner using locally sourced produce.

The Wild Honey Inn, Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare

The Festival will provide an opportunity for members of the public to sample the season’s first Burren Smoked Irish Wild Salmon in the Burren Smokehouse and taste local beer from the Roadside Tavern’s microbrewery.

There will be food sampling of many other local artisan foods, a chance to meet local producers and growers, engage with fellow foodies, and enjoy cookery demonstrations from well-known chefs including JP McMahon of Michelin Star restaurant Aniar; Jess Murphy, Kai Restaurant, Galway; Evan Doyle, Brooklodge Hotel, Macreedin Village; Peter Jackson, Hotel Doolin; John Sheedy, Sheedy’s, Lisdoonvarna; and Euro-toques Commission General and Doonbeg Lodge’s Executive Chef, Wade Murphy.

Other festival events include the Burren Food Forum with John and Sally McKenna, Seaweed foraging with Ger Talty, and the Historical Food Walk with local guide Tony Kirby.

For more details on the Burren Slow Food Festival visit


Results & Web Links to Leinster Winners of the Irish Restaurant Awards 2013

The LEINSTER Regional Final of the Santa Rita/ LIFE Magazine Irish Restaurant Awards 2013 took place in The Marker, Docklands, Dublin, on Tuesday night, 30th April. The winning top restaurants for each category in the region were named at the event.

The Irish region of Leinster covers twelve counties

The Leinster region covers the twelve counties of Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Louth, Meath, Offaly, Westmeath, Wexford, Wicklow & Dublin.

The Dublin winners will be announced at the All-Ireland Finals event where they will then compete with the winners from the Ulster, Munster, Leinster & Connaught regional finals at main event. The Irish Restaurant Awards 2013 Grand Finals will be held in The Burlington Hotel, Dublin, on 10th June.

Almost 500 restaurant owners and staff celebrated the hard work and achievements of those nominated at the Awards, which saw many well-known owners, chefs and other staff members of Leinster restaurants and hotels turn out to see if they had won one of the prestigious awards.

This year the nominations went online for the first time and they got a spectacular response from the public, nominations doubled and they received over 10,000 votes for Ireland’s favourite restaurants, chefs, gastro-pubs, hotel restaurants and customer service experiences.

In their fifth year, the Irish Restaurant Awards continue to go from strength to strength. Each year, the awards cast a spotlight on the brightest and best players on the Irish restaurant scene.

Food outlets were nominated under the categories of Best Customer Service, Best Gastro Pub, Best Casual Dining, Best Hotel Restaurant, Best Chef, Best Restaurant, Best Wine Experience, Best Kids Size Me, sponsored by Heinz, Engaging With The Gathering, sponsored by Tourism Ireland and Best Just Ask! Menu, sponsored by Bord Bia.

All Regional winners will now compete with the Dublin Winners (to be announced at the finals) for the All Ireland Titles at the Irish Restaurant Awards 2013 Grand Finals in the Burlington Hotel, Dublin on Wednesday 10th June.

There are 3 components to phase two of the process and each element is independently assessed by KPMG. They are:

1. Mystery Guest Visit (55%) This component of the awards is conducted by Prism Consulting headed by Hugo Arnold, independent food writer and consultant. All County Winners receive a mystery guest visit throughout the month of April and May.

2. National Awards Academy (35%) Our National Awards Academy is made up representatives from each of the regional judging panels and will meet in May to Judge the County Winners.

3. Menu Judging (10%) All County winners and the Dublin Shortlist in each category are asked to submit a copy of their food menu and wine list for judging.

Voting in the Industry categories commenced on April 4th. Voting in these categories is exclusive to Restaurants Association of Ireland members only, with members competing for: Best Club Restaurant, Best Seafood Experience, Best World Cuisine, Best Newcomer, Best Café, Most Innovative Restaurant, Best Restaurant Design, Best Cocktail Experience, Best Restaurant Manager, Best Cookery School, Best Supplier & Best Digital Marketing.

The winners of the Industry Categories will be announced at the All-Ireland event on 10th June, 2013. Tickets are priced at €130 for the All-Ireland Event and can be bought directly from Sinead at the Restaurants Association of Ireland on (01) 677 9901 or

And the LEINSTER Regional Awards went to:

Best Customer Service

CARLOW- Lennons at Visual
KILDARE- Fallons of Kilcullen
LAOIS- Preston House
LONGFORD- Viewmount House
LOUTH- Eastern Seaboard Bar & Grill
MEATH- Conyngham Arms
OFFALY- Kinnitty Castle
WESTMEATH- Wineport Lodge
WEXFORD- The Pigs Tale
WICKLOW- Ocean Bar & Grill

Best Gastro Pub – Sponsored by Faustino
CARLOW- Teach Dolmain
KILDARE- Hartes Bar & Grill
KILKENNY- Marble City Bar at Langtons
LAOIS- McEvoys Steak & Wine Bar
LONGFORD- Eddie Valentines
LOUTH- Fitzpatricks
MEATH- The Central
OFFALY- The Thatch Bar
WESTMEATH- The Fatted Calf
WEXFORD- Murphy’s Bar & Bistro
WICKLOW- The Roundwood Inn

Best Casual Dining – Sponsored by Joseph Drouhin
CARLOW- The Arboretum/ Rachel’s Garden Café
KILDARE- Zest Café & Restaurant
KILKENNY- Café Sol Bistro
LAOIS- Season’s Bistro
LONGFORD- Aubergine Gallery Café
LOUTH- Magees Seafood Bistro
MEATH- La Bucca
OFFALY- Emma’s Café
WESTMEATH- An Tintáin Restaurant
WEXFORD- Cistín Eile
WICKLOW- A. Caviston

Best Hotel Restaurant – Sponsored by Pallas Foods
CARLOW- Rubens Restaurant at The Step House Hotel
KILDARE- The River Room Restaurant at The K Club
KILKENNY- Lady Helen @ Mount Juliet
LAOIS- Castle Durrow
LONGFORD- VM Restaurant
LOUTH- Scholars Townhouse Hotel
MEATH- Brabazon Restaurant at Tankardstown House
OFFALY- The Charleville Restaurant at The Bridge House Hotel
WESTMEATH- Killinure Restaurant, Glasson
WEXFORD- Monart Restaurant
WICKLOW- The Strawberry Tree at Brooklodge

Best Chef – Sponsored by Tipperary Water
CARLOW- Alan Foley of The Step House Hotel
KILDARE- Josef Zammit of The Brown Bear
KILKENNY- Cormac Rowe of The Lady Helen
LAOIS- Graham Gallagher of Castle Durrow
LONGFORD- Gary O’Hanlon of VM Restaurant
LOUTH- Reuven Diaz of Eastern Seaboard Bar and Grill
MEATH- Paul McCullagh of Zucchini’s
OFFALY- Anthony Holland of Kinnitty Castle
WESTMEATH- Fergal O’Donnell of The Fatted Calf
WEXFORD- Kevin Dundon of Dunbrody House
WICKLOW- Lalit Kumar of Chakra by Jaipur

Best Restaurant – Sponsored by Santa Rita
CARLOW- Sha Roe Bistro
KILDARE- Trax Brasserie
KILKENNY- Campagne
LAOIS- The Candied Walnut
LONGFORD- The Black Olive
LOUTH- The BayTree Restaurant at Belvedere House
MEATH- Zucchinis
OFFALY- Siroccos
WESTMEATH- Thyme Restaurant
WEXFORD- Aldridge Lodge
WICKLOW- Chakra by Jaipur

Best Wine Experience - Sponsored by Thomas Barton
The K Club, Kildare

Best Kids Size Me - Sponsored by Heinz
The Olive Grove, Westmeath

Engaging with The Gathering Award – Sponsored by Tourism Ireland
Sheraton Hotel, Athlone, Westmeath

Just Ask! Award – Sponsored by Bord Bia
Sqigl Restaurant at Roches Bar, Wexford

For More information and Tickets for the Finals Event see and follow the #FoodOscars hashtag on Twitter.


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