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Fish & Chips Masterclass on 3rd March in Killybegs, Ireland's Biggest Fishing Town

Two of Failte Ireland's Donegal Food Champions, Hugh O'Donnell & Mary McGettigan, are hosting
a Fish & Chips Masterclass at the LYIT School of Tourism in Killybegs, with the hope that they can help improve the quality of this signature dish along the Wild Atlantic Way!

This will be a great opportunity to learn and develop your offering as a Fish & Chip business to ensure are making the most of the experience for you and your customer, or for those not in business, to learn how to perfect that perfect crispy battered Fish & Chips!

The Masterclass will be delivered by John & Ciara Shine of Shine's Killybegs Tuna fame. John comes from a family tradition of catching fresh fish as a fisherman and also a family steeped in the the fish & chip business. He has also been very successful in setting up Shine's Irish Tuna, cooked basque style and sold in jars with olive oil. 

Ciara has herself been brought up in the family business, did a masterclass with the guild of British Friers, graduated with an Honours Degree in Business and is currently on the Acorn Programme for young female entrepreneurs in rural Ireland.

Failte Ireland developed the Food Champions program to find key people around the country that are instrumental in promoting the food offerings in  their local area and their county. Donegal is lucky to have 3 Failte Ireland Food Champions (I'm the other one but I broke both my wrists last month and can't help out with the Fish & Chips Masterclass). Hugh O'Donnell runs the famous Kitty Kelly's Restaurant near Killybegs and Mary McGettigan is the founder and organiser of A Taste of Donegal Food Festival.

The Masterclass is also supported by the Donegal Local Enterprise's Food Coast initiative which was set up to increase awareness in Donegal Food and to assist in the development of new food businesses in County Donegal.

The Fish & Chips Masterclass runs from 10am - 1pm on Thursday 3rd March, 2016 (which includes lunch) and costs €50 per person. Places are limited and filling up fast so to book a place or find out more email Mary McGettigan at


Ireland's 14 entries in the 2016 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards

The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards were founded in 1995 by Edouard Cointreau, who was born into the families of Cointreau Liqueur on his dad's side and Cognac's Frapin and Remy Martin on his mum's side. His family has had vineyards since 1270 so he should know a thing or two about food and drink!

The objectives of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards are:

  • To reward and honour those who "cook with words".
  • To help readers find the best out of the 26,000 food and wine books produced every year.
  • To help publishers with international rights to translate and distribute food and wine books.
  • To help book retailers find the 50 food and wine books that each year should be offered to clients.
  • To create an opportunity to access the major markets in English, Chinese, German, Spanish or French for books originated in other languages.
  • To increase knowledge and respect for food and wine culture.

Édouard Cointreau, founder of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 

The awards also focus on self-published books and digital media, as founder Edouard Cointreau recognises this as the fastest growing segment in publishing. It is free competition and open to publishers in all languages and countries. The Gourmand Awards celebrate global cookbook and wine book publishing and feature many world-renowned chefs each year.

The 2016 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards will take place in Yantai, China, on the 29th of May. This year there are 14 entries shortlisted from the island of Ireland and those on the Cookbooks and Food Culture Shortlist 2016 are:

Woman Chef Author
Karen Austin for The Lettercollum Cookbook
(published by Onstream)

Special Cookbook Award
Chef Interrupted, Trevis L. Gleason 
(published by Coffee Town Press)

TV Cookbook (in English)
Clodagh’s Irish Kitchen, Clodagh McKenna
(published by Kyle Books)

Cookbook Publisher
Gill MacMillan

Cookbook of the Year
Sea Gastronomy, Michael O’Meara 
(published by Artisan House)

Online Food Magazine
The Taste -

Best Cooking App
Glutenfree Ireland App (Northern Ireland based)

Culinary Travel
NI Good Food - (Northern Ireland)

Lifestyle – Institutions, Health & Nutrition
Operation Transformation 2015 (produced by RTE)

Fish & Seafood Cookbook
Sea Gastronomy, Michael O’ Meara
(published by Artisan House)

Vegetarian Cookbook
The Lettercollum Cookbook, Karen Austin 
(published by Onstream)

Cheese and Milk Cookbook
The Sheridan’s Guide to Cheese 
(published by Transworld Ireland)

Meat Cookbook
A Bird in the Hand, Diana Henry (Northern Ireland)
(published by Mitchell Beazley)

Not for Profit Cookbook
The Dublin Cookbook for Temple Street Hospital 
(produced by Concept Marketing )

Isn't it excellent to see so many fabulous Irish food publications on the world stage of Gastronomy! The very best of success to all shortlisted! The 2016 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards will take place in Yantai, China on the 29th of May. For the full world cookbook shortlist visit their website here.


Enter your Irish Food & Beverage Tourism Experience in the 2016 World Food Trekking Awards

The recently launched 2016 Food-Trekking Awards, organised by the World Food Travel Association (based in the USA) is the world's first global competition for recognition of excellence in food and beverage experiences for travellers and Ireland has as much of a chance of winning as anywhere else in the world!

Eating and drinking are a crucial part of any traveller experience. Put simply, one hundred percent of visitors to any destination, local or international, must eat and drink! Food and drink represents the largest component of visitor expenditure in Ireland and exceeds the average spent on ‘bed and board’.

Travellers are always seeking the next great food and beverage businesses, destinations or experience and guests to Ireland can return home with memories of a plain old burger and coffee, or they can return with memories of fantastic local Irish food and drink experiences. People just need help identifying and even recognising those experiences. In addition to travelling across country or the world to eat or drink, we can also be food travellers in our own town, city or region.

Over the last ten years we, here in Ireland, have rediscovered a pride in our Irish food product and are now being recognised all over the world for our excellent Irish Food. We are slowly but surely eliminating the Google perception that Irish food is only bacon and cabbage, potatoes and Guinness! Far from it!

As drinking beverages is generally an implied and associated activity of eating and therefore the term is used to cover all aspects of  food and drink tourism. (Internationally, the term “Food Tourism” is now used as opposed to "culinary tourism" which tended to be interpreted as an eating only experience.)

Since the launch of the Failte Ireland National Food Tourism Implementation Framework in 2011, much time, money and energy has been put into developing assistance for food/beverage producers, unique hospitality providers and food service providers to help them tell their food story. Failte Ireland now have a complete and concise section of their website dedicated to helping develop Food Tourism in Ireland.

I believe that Food Tourism is a vital part of the future of Irish Tourism so much that I started a business called Irish Food Tours Ltd. that helps food producers and food service providers get connected with those looking to explore our Irish Food Tourism. Anyone running a business that offers guests an opportunity to eat and/or drink quality products or to see an excellent food product being grown or made on-site has the potential to be a world class Food Tourism business here in Ireland.

The  World Food Travel Association judges are looking for the world's best travel destinations with exceptional food and drink tourism opportunities. Why is your destination the best? Do you offer an outstanding food and drink culture for visitors and locals to enjoy? Do you hold any gastronomic events or do you have simply the best farmers markets? All organisations with a mandate of promoting a destination's food and drink are also invited to apply.

Categories in the 2016 World Food Trekking Awards include:

  • Best food or beverage destination
  • Best wine experience
  • Best beer experience
  • Best food or beverage tour operations
  • Best food-service experience for travellers

Reviewing the applications for the competition is an international panel of judges:

Steven Shomler, Journalist, Author, Radio Host (Portland, Oregon, USA)
Gabriela Ibarra, destination marketer formerly with Visit Mexico (Guadalajara, Mexico)
Livio Colapinto, Owner, Zest Food Tours (Italy)
Benjamin Brown, Journalist and cruise industry expert (Las Vegas/Los Angeles, USA)
Stephan Berrouet Durand, Chef, founder of Haitian Culinary Alliance, author (Haiti/New York City) 

There will be one grand prize, a second, and third prize for each category (only 15 international winners).
In addition to a physical prize, winners will also gain tremendous global recognition for an entire year and the visibility potential for your business and the destination area is huge, so Enter your Business today and lets get Ireland really noticed on the World Food Tourism Map!

The Closing Date for entry is 1st March 2016 and Winners to be announced on April 1.

To Enter your Food Tourism Business go to:

Best of Success to all involved!

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