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Amateur Cookery Competition to find Irelands Best Fish Dish

To celebrate its brand new All You Can Eat Everything offer on Bill Pay Three Mobile is running a Cookery Competition to find Ireland’s Best Home Cook Fish Dish!

Irish Home Cooks and Amateur chefs and are being challenged to battle it out in the kitchen to have their fishy creation judged by a panel of foodies including Masterchef UK star John Torode and have their dish crowned, Ireland’s Best Fish Dish.

Three Mobile is asking Seafood Fanatics across the country to submit their tasty entries to by Thursday July 11th. Entries must include the recipe and supporting imagery of the finished dish. They will be judged on technique, ingredients, creativity and presentation by top Irish foodies Ross Golden-Bannon and Andrew Rudd. 

Ross Golden Bannon & Andrew Rudd will be the Irish Judges 

Masterchef UK star John Torode will judge the Finals

The chosen two finalists will then go head-to-head in a once-in-a-lifetime cook-off event in Dublin’s Medley Restaurant and have their dishes judged by Torode and his Irish foodie panellists!

The winner of the competition will be treated to the ultimate foodies weekend away for two in the stunning Cliff House Hotel with dinner at its famed Michelin star restaurant under Executive Chef Martin Kajuiter and they'll also win a brand new Samsung Galaxy S4 handset.

Executive Chef at Cliff House Hotel Martin Kajuiter with Head Chef Kwanghi Chan
I'd enter my yummy Baked Oyster Dish but being a professional chef, I can't enter :(

Speaking of the competition, John Torode said: "I'm delighted to be travelling over to Ireland to help find Ireland's Best Fish Dish. I have heard many stories about the quality of fish in Irish restaurants that I look forward to seeing a high standard of entry from the amateur chefs across the country, seeking to create their perfect dish. I have always expected a high level of cooking and this competition will be no different."

About The Competition

The Competition is open to:

· Amateur chefs and food lovers across the Republic of Ireland

Each entry must consist of:

· One full recipe including how step-by-step instruction as to how the dish is cooked
· A picture of the finished dish
· Entries must be submitted by 23.59 on Thursday, July 11th 2012 to:

Each entry must include:

Name, Home County, Contact phone/email, Social media names (if applicable)

Recipe Criteria:

· Entrants must use local produce (all Irish ingredients)
· All recipes must be primarily fish dishes (Surf n’Turf not accepted)
· All recipes must demonstrate creative use of ingredients
· Presentation (in picture format) must be owned by entrant and showcase the finished dish
· Preparation and cooking time for the dish must be completed within one hour (this will be applicable in the live final)

So get cooking and send in your entries to Today!


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Irish Woman Bernadette Byrne Receives Top French Culinary Award

Bernadette Byrne, a Meat Marketing Specialist for France, Belgium and Luxembourg at Bordbia, the Irish Food Board, has received a Top French Culinary Award for her work.

Bernadette, originally from Kildare, was recently awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre Mondia by the L’Académie Culinaire de France, the French Culinary Academy. This is one of the highest honours available from the oldest association of culinary and pastry chefs in the world!

Gérard Dupont, President of the French Culinary Academy,
presenting Bernadette with her award at a ceremony in Paris

Bernadette is the first Irish person to receive this accolade, which is mainly as a result of her work with Bord Bia’s Paris office and in particular, the promotion of Irish beef in the French market. 

Bernadette was instrumental in Irish Beef being selected as the key ingredient for the 2013 Bocuse d’Or, by the organisers of the prestigious French culinary competition. 

Irish grass fed Beef is considered by most to be the best Beef in the world today

L’Académie Culinaire de France was created in 1883 by Joseph Favre and today the Academy has 900 members representing 27 nations. This particular award was created to honour those who through their work strive for the recognition and development of agricultural food products. 

Chef Ross Lewis, Chapter One, Bernadette Byrne, Bord Bia, Paris
with Florent Suplisson launching the 2013 Bocuse d’Or

Bernadette has been living in France since 1981, where she started working for the Irish Livestock and Meat Board and then with Bord Bia, since its inception in 1994, based in the Paris office.

For more visit Bordbia's website at 


Failte Ireland names it's new Food Tourism Ambassadors

Fáilte Ireland today announced the names of the eight new food tourism ambassadors that have been selected to represent Ireland and join the Food Tourism Network Development programme.

This followed a very well subscribed selection process after the tourism authority had sought nominations for emerging food champions with a resounding passion and belief in Irish food who actively influence and shape the future of Irish cuisine and food tourism in their region.

The focus for the initiative in 2013 is on individuals located along the Wild Atlantic Way - Ireland's first long-distance touring route, stretching along the coast from Donegal to West Cork. 

The 2013 Failte Ireland Food Champions are:

Hugh O’Donnell, Kitty Kellys & Hughies Bar, Killybegs – DONEGAL
Deborah Evers, Clareville House Kitchen Gardens, Ballyvaughan - CLARE
Jacinta Dalton, Dept Culinary Arts, GMIT - GALWAY
Martin Bealin, Global Village Restaurant, Dingle - KERRY
Mary McGettigan, A Taste of Donegal Food Festival, Donegal Town - DONEGAL
Benoit Lorge, Lorge Chocolatier, Kenmare – KERRY
Zack Gallagher, Irish Food Tours, Donegal Town – DONEGAL
Ross Quinn, Vasco Restaurant, Fanore - CLARE

(See detailed individual Profiles below)

Speaking today, Helen McDaid Fáilte Ireland’s Food Tourism Manager said - “We received nominations for many able ‘would be ambassadors’ from along the Wild Atlantic Way route – many thanks to both the nominees and nominators for the interest that they have shown. Our focus continues to be on ‘emerging’ food champions who have been working hard in their regions and can now become a part of this network which will support and guide them as they continue to develop food tourism experiences.

Helen McDaid, Food Tourism Manager at Failte Ireland

“Last year’s programme was a great success with many of the champions going on to do great work for food tourism in their areas. The focus this year is on our new project the Wild Atlantic Way and how we can further develop the visitor experience by promoting our local and regional food experiences.” 

As they embark on their role as Fáilte Ireland Food Champions, the group will now travel on a food tourism benchmarking trip to Norway to see first-hand a real-life linkage between a driving route and food tourism – this trip will provide great insight and learning opportunities for our industry here in Ireland. 

The group will have the opportunity to meet with the people behind a range of food businesses in Norway who are utilising food tourism as part of their development and business generation strategy. 

Looking further ahead, Ms McDaid commented - “Once the group returns home the focus will be on working together with their local communities to help build Ireland’s food tourism reputation and encourage visitors to stop, spend and stay longer on the Wild Atlantic Way. 

“Working together and developing networks and relationships within their localities will help to develop engaging food experiences to truly utilise food tourism as a workable economic development strategy.”

Fáilte Ireland, the national tourism development authority, was established in 2003 to guide and promote tourism as a leading indigenous component of the Irish economy. The tourism and hospitality industry employs an estimated 185,000 people and generates almost €5.7 billion in revenue a year. 

Meet the Failte Ireland Food Champions 2013 

• Hugh O’Donnell, Kitty Kellys & Hughies Bar, Killybegs – DONEGAL 

In addition to his own businesses, Hugh was involved with the Donegal Good Food Taverns and launched and ran the Killybegs Seafood festivals. He represented Donegal in the Tyrone/Donegal Good Food initiative which produced The Little Black Recipe Book and several cross border food fairs. He has served as chair and vice chair of Tir Boghaine, a rural development company for the last 5 years and currently sits on the steering team of the Donegal Good Food initiative. 

• Deborah Evers, Clareville House Kitchen Gardens, Ballyvaughan – CLARE 

Deborah is a food producer with a range of preserves called Burren Kitchen Garden. She is secretary of the local farmers market, member of the marketing committee of the Burren Ecotourism Network as was on the co-ordinating committee for the Burren Food Trail & Burren Weekly Food Series which was launched in April, 2013. 

• Jacinta Dalton, Dept Culinary Arts, GMIT – GALWAY 

A lecturer at GMIT, Jacinta has a strong industry background with which she maintains close links. She co-founded The Foodie Forum now in its second year and has been actively involved in many food festivals. Jacinta was also selected by Galway County Council for an educational visit to France with the objective of promoting Galway and the local food products available. 

• Martin Bealin, Global Village Restaurant, Dingle – KERRY 

Martin is a chef who runs and manages his own restaurant. He sources local goods, grows all his own vegetables and promotes local artisan producers. He was one of the founding members of the Dingle Food & Wine Festival and of Blas na hEireann, the national food awards. 

• Mary McGettigan, A Taste of Donegal Food Festival, Donegal Town – DONEGAL 

Mary has been instrumental in setting up the Taste of Donegal Food Festival and using food tourism as a way to increase visitors to Donegal Town and the surrounding area. She has collaborated with a number of community groups in the area and has worked hard to attract a wide range of artisan food producers to this event. This event has now been recognised as one of the must attend events in the North West. 

• Benoit Lorge, Lorge Chocolatier, Kenmare – KERRY 

A pastry chef by trade, Benoit set up Lorge Chocolatier and has developed the business to include factory demos, chocolate courses and a traditional chocolate shop. Benoit has also been very involved in the establishment of the Kenmare Food Carnival, a 2013 Bonane Gathering event and he works closely with community groups in his region. 

• Zack Gallagher, Irish Food Tours, Donegal Town – DONEGAL 

Zack has been writing a food-news website,, since 2007. Over the last few years he has built networks and created links between a wide range of producers, farms, sea fishing enterprises and the very best food providers who specialise in modern Irish cuisine and use of local produce. He has now created ‘Irish Food Tours’ with an aim to provide a complete food tourism experience for inbound tour operators. 

• Ross Quinn, Vasco Restaurant, Fanore - CLARE 

Ross, owner and sole chef, brings a fresh, locally sourced, adventurous cuisine to a small village. Locals and tourists enjoy the freshly caught fish, his own organically grown vegetables, foraged foods, meat and cheeses. He has established working relationships with B&Bs and a range of other businesses in the area to offer 'eco adventure' packages combining users of surfing and climbing schools and walking guides with accommodation and food. 

The Wild Atlantic Way 
The Wild Atlantic Way is Ireland’s first long-distance driving route. Stretching from the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal to Kinsale in County Cork, the route will offer visitors an opportunity to truly discover the West Coast. Following a comprehensive public consultation process, the 2,500km route has been finalised and includes 156 discovery points along the way. 

At this stage the route comprises of a main spine but in time, a series of looped itineraries will be created to further develop the experience for visitors. Along with the relevant local authorities and other stakeholders, Fáilte Ireland has been working on the Wild Atlantic Way for the past year with significant progress to date in terms of route identification and an overall brand. Over the next year the focus will be on preparing a signage plan for the route along with ensuring the discovery points are visitor-ready. 

In addition, the tourism authority will be working with tourism businesses along the route environs to help them deliver and package their Wild Atlantic Way experiences. A series of workshops will take place focussing on the main target markets of Great Britain, France, Germany and the USA. A marketing strategy for the overseas promotion of the project will be rolled out in time for the launch of the route in March 2014.

Visit the Failte Ireland website at

The President of the United States Loves Irish Food

Great to see US President Barack Obama showing his Support for Irish Food!
Welcome to Ireland, Mr President & Family.

RAI Irish Restaurant Awards 2013 National Finals - Full Results

The Regional and All Ireland Winners of the Irish Restaurant Awards were announced at a ceremony which was held in the Burlington Hotel Dublin on Monday 10th June 2013.

I was invited up by Adrian Cummins, CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, to do a spot of guest Tweeting for the night and you can check all the Tweets from the night here on the #FoodOscars hashtag.

These annual Restaurant Association of Ireland (RAI) Awards celebrate all aspects of the Industry from Chefs and Restaurants to Food Producers, Local Food Heroes and Cookery Schools. Nominations for the awards are made by readers of the Sunday Independent LIFE Magazine and by members of the Restaurants Association of Ireland.

The Irish Restaurant Awards recognizes achievement and excellence in the Restaurant and Hospitality Industry throughout the Island of Ireland. The  event is organised by The Restaurants Association of Ireland and are sponsored by Santa Rita/Sunday Independent LIFE Magazine & others. The awards are the most prestigious and most coveted awards in the Irish Restaurant Industry's calendar.

County winners were announced at a number of Regional Events in the run up to this main event.  
Guests at the main event were treated to a five course menu prepared
by the winning Chefs in each of the five regions from last year.

There are 3 components to the final phase of the judging process to determine the Winners.

1. Mystery Guest Visit (35%) - This component of the awards was conducted by Prism Consulting headed by Hugo Arnold, independent food writer and consultant ( All County Winners received a mystery guest visit throughout the month of April.

2. National Awards Academy (55%) -The National Awards Academy were made up by representatives from each of the regional judging panels and they met during May to Judge the County Winners.

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

Our host for the evening was Brendan O'Connor, TV Presenter of The Saturday Night Show on RTÉ1. Brendan is also the editor of the Sunday Independent newspaper's LIFE Magazine.

And the 2013 Winners of the RAI Awards 2013 
in each of the following categories are:

This category recognises the dining experience which best offers outstanding value, excellent food, appropriate service, genuine hospitality and an appropriate overall dining experience.

ULSTER - Coast Restaurant
MUNSTER - Sol y Sombra
LEINSTER - An Tintáin Restaurant
Best Casual Dining in Ireland: Saba, Dublin

This category will recognise a hotel restaurant that demonstrates the very best in a dining experience as evidenced by attention to detail, a well-structured, balanced and appropriate menu, exemplary customer service and enjoyable and suitable atmosphere.

Goes to the gastro pub with an impressive food aspect, genuine and demonstrable hospitality and an outstanding, relevant and complementary drinks offering.
ULSTER - The Brewer’s House
MUNSTER - The Derg Inn
LEINSTER - Harte’s Bar
CONNAUGHT - Eat @ Massimo
DUBLIN - The Purty Kitchen
ALL-IRELAND WINNER - The Brewer’s House, Donaghmore, Co. Tyrone

The Chef who most impresses in their approach, design and execution of dishes and who is clearly pushing at culinary boundaries in Ireland.
ULSTER - Neven Maguire
MUNSTER - Paul Flynn
LEINSTER - Gary O’Hanlon
CONNAUGHT - Phillipe Farineau
DUBLIN - Sunil Ghai
ALL-IRELAND WINNER - Sunil Ghai, Ananda, Dundrum, Co. Dublin


This goes to the restaurant offering a balanced and appropriate wine list, an interesting range of producers and which strives for excellence in the service of wine.

Best Wine Experience Ireland - Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, Dublin

Best Restaurant 2013
This goes to the restaurant offering a balanced and appropriate wine list, an interesting range of producers and which strives for excellence in the service of wine.
ULSTER - Browns, Co. Derry
MUNSTER - The Tannery, Dungarvan
LEINSTER - Thyme, Athlone
CONNAUGHT - Aniar, Galway
DUBLIN - Ananda, Dundrum
ALL-IRELAND WINNER - The Tannery, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford

Chef Paul Flynn and his wife Marie of the Tannery, Dungarvan, Co Waterford
who won the Best Restaurant in Ireland 2013
Best Kids Size Me 2013

This award goes to the restaurant who aims to ensure children have access to healthier food options when dining out by making child size portions of appropriate adult meals available as an alternative to ordering from the standard children's menu.
Best Kid Size Me Menu Ireland - Sol Rio, Westport, Co. Mayo

Best Customer Service 2013

This award recognises the establishment that demonstrably goes above and beyond a normal level of service and does it consistently and in an appropriate manner.
ULSTER - The Olde Post Inn, Cavan
MUNSTER - Ballygarry House Hotel, Kerry
LEINSTER - Harte’s Bar & Grill, Kildare
CONNAUGHT - Eat @ Massimo, Galway
DUBLIN - The Purty Kitchen, Monkstown
ALL-IRELAND WINNER - Renvyle House Hotel, Galway

Local Food Hero 2013 

And the Winner of the Life Magazine Local Food Hero 2013 is
Glenilen Farm, Drimoleague, Co. Cork

Just Ask! Restaurant 2013

And the Winner of the Bord Bia Just Ask Restaurant 2013 is
Sargasso, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal

Best Energy Management sponsored by CALOR: The Brasserie, Leopardstown, Dublin

Best Restaurant Design sponsored by BUNZ
L: Kai Café Restaurant, Galway

Best Cocktail Experience sponsored by MOJITO
: The Exchequer, Dublin

Best Digital Marketing sponsored by QT Comment
s: The Happy Pear, Co. Wicklow

Best Cafe sponsored by UNITED COFFEE:
Idaho Cafe, Cork

Best Newcomer sponsored by DINERS CLUB: OX Restaurant, Belfast

Best World Cuisine sponsored by TIGER BEER: 
Chameleon, Dublin 

Great Seafood Experience sponsored by WRIGHTS:
Fishy Fishy Café, Kinsale, Co. Cork

Best Restaurant Manager sponsored by CHAMPAGNE PANNIER: 
Declan Maxwell, Chapter One, Dublin

Best Cookery School sponsored by AVONMORE:
Dublin Cookery School, Blackrock, Dublin

Best Private Dining & Club Restaurant sponsored by TOTAL PRODUCE: 
Restaurant Forty-One, Dublin

Best Emerging Irish Cuisine sponsored by FAILTE IRELAND:
Aniar, Galway

Sustainable Restaurant of the Year sponsored by UNILEVER: 
Castlemurray House Hotel, Donegal



And the Winner is: 
The Sheraton, Athlone, Co. Westmeath

The Irish Restaurant Awards 2013 were independently supervised by:

For more details on the event see:
Congrats to everyone that got through to the National Finals, thanks to Adrian Cummins and all at the Restaurants Association of Ireland for inviting me to be a Guest Tweeter for the Night. Well done & more success to all our Irish Restaurants for the coming year! 

And The Real Winner is..... Irish Food!

Irish restaurant critic Ross Golden-Bannon launches Pop-Up Artisan Eatery

A new Irish Pop-Up Restaurant, The Guerrilla Gourmet Club, was launched last week in Dublin, by Irish restaurant critic Ross Golden-Bannon with Robert Lee Mulcahy. The menu has been created with Chef Gareth Mullins, executive chef at the 5 Star Marker Hotel in Dublin. The pair have joined forces with the prestigious Stephen's Green Hibernian Club, who will host the event on the summer solstice, Friday 21 June at 7:00pm.

Based on the Irish tradition of the Meitheal, which is gaelic for "a community working together", each dinner uses well known artisan food producers (with national and international profiles) to support fledging artisan food businesses that are only starting out. The Guerrilla Gourmet Club also aims to introduce food fans to cross-border and cross county produce.

Ross Golden-Bannon who will host the Guerilla Club

Acting as a curator for renowned and little-known artisans, The Guerrilla Gourmet Club aims to raise the profile of the smaller producers. "For too long we've focused on the big, international firms arriving in Ireland, ignoring the vital role small native businesses play in keeping local economies flourishing," said Ross. “Their terroir is as much the local economy as it is the local soil. The Guerrilla Gourmet Club events will amplify this message to a wider audience with a dinner of sensational flavours."  

Ross Golden-Bannon is widely known in the Irish Food scene as he has been the Restaurant Critic at The Sunday Business Post since 2001. He was appointed editor of FOOD&WINE Magazine in May 2008 and he is the author of the ebook How to Write About Food. He was elected to membership of the Irish Food Writers' Guild in 2006.

His partner in this venture, Robert Lee Mulcahy, is an entrepreneur, enterprise development adviser, food industry specialist and past President of The European Catering Association.

Gareth Mullins, executive chef at the 5 Star Marker Hotel

The Guerrilla Gourmet Club

Waterford Blaa bread and The Marker’s brown Soda 
with Glenilen country butter and Donegal Dulisk butter.

Timoleague black pudding sausage rolls with whipped crozier blue,
 red wine reduction & Dungarvan stout
Toonsbridge mozzarella with Newgrange rapeseed oil & Lusk Apple balsamic.

Slow Roasted Silverhill duck with a raw vegetable salad,
Pat Clark’s coriander cress & hoi sin vingerette.

Dennis Vaughan Liscannor crab with cucumber, horseradish, Burren Smokehouse smoked salmon and Goatsbridge trout caviar Castletownbere Scallop ceviche.


The critic's choice - Ross Golden-Bannon
Eight hour cooked shoulder of Connemara Hill lamb with heritage carrots and Lannléire honey, Green Saffron Spices and Orpens' Cider glaze with traditional Cavan dumpling boxty served with a Green Saffron spiced aioli, served en famille.


The chef's choice - Gareth Mullins
Connemara Hill lamb cutlet with mint mousse, champ puree, shallot and tomato tian, Comber Early Potato (New PGI status) with Cuinneog butter, fresh garden vegetables, served with style.

Created on the day from just-harvested crops of fruit

Irish Cheese Selections with Sheridans Oatcakes

Ponaire Coffees & The Marker's Chocolates

Tickets for the first Guerrilla Gourmet Club, on Friday 21 June, are €75 
and include wine & tasting beers. 

To book tickets visit:




Our Irish Food Tour to Kilkenny is NOW ALSO AVAILABLE as a ONE DAY TOUR! 


The Wild Atlantic Way is the world's Longest Coastal Route