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Enter the Foróige National Junior Baking Competition 2016

Foróige is the leading youth organisation in Ireland. The charity works with 54,000 young people and 5,500 adult volunteers annually, through a network of more than 600 youth clubs & cafés, 150-targeted projects and national programmes such as Citizenship, Entrepreneurship and Leadership.

ALDI are once again sponsoring this years' National Junior Baking Competition, in association with Foróige, the finals of which will take place in the Aldi Marquee at the National Ploughing Championships, and this year the theme for the baking competition is ‘Muffins of the Moment’.


The winner of the National Junior Baking Competition will win a €1,000 bursary to help them on their baking journey, as well as a trip for their local Foróige group to Delphi Adventure Centre in Co. Mayo.
In addition to this and for the first time in the National Junior Baking Competition, Aldi will be stocking the winning muffins – a huge achievement for any budding young baker!

How does the Competition work?

The qualifiers of The National Junior Baking Competition will be held nationally through youth organisation Foróige, in their 834 clubs and projects nationwide, with the regional finals taking place in late July. The National Semi Finals and Final will be held from 20th to 22nd September at the Aldi Marquee during the 2016 National Ploughing Championships in the new location of Tullamore, Co. Offaly.

County Level
The first stage of the competition will be at county level. These will be organised locally in each county to watch out for the local arrangements. There will be one winner per county, except in cases where there are more than 50 clubs in that county. In this instance, two county contestants will qualify for the Regional Final.

A county competition will be organised in each county as a stand-alone county event or will be organised as part of another event taking place in the county. Individual entrants will bring along their Muffins which they have baked themselves (see rules below) to be judged by a panel of judges.

To find your nearest Foroige Club and Contact Details Click HERE

Regional Level
There will be four regional finals - South, West, East and Midlands. Two winners from each region will qualify to compete in the semi-finals at the National Ploughing Championships in September 2016. At Regional level you will be baking on site using ingredients supplied by Aldi.

National Level and Finals
There will be two semi-final heats on 20th and 21st September. Again, semi finalists and finalists will be baking on site. The contestants placed first and second in each heat will qualify for the final on Thursday 22nd September, in the Aldi Ireland Tent at the National Ploughing Championships.

Who can enter?
The competition is open to any young person between the ages of 12 and 18 that are currently a member of a club, project (including Big Brother Big Sister), or youth service in Foróige.
The theme of the National Junior Baking Competition this year is ‘Muffins of the Moment’ and the judges are anticipating some amazing creations from the wealth of talented young bakers around the country.

The Rules:
  1. This competition is for individual entrants only.
  2. Participants must still be 18 or less on the 22nd of September 2016, the day of the final of the competition.
  3. For the county competition each competitor will bring their Muffins, made by them. Should they progress to the regional event they will be required to bake more on site.
  4. Each club or project group may submit only one entry. If more than one person in a group is interested, it is up to the club or group to decide how to choose one.
  5. Bakers must produce their goods without help from others.
  6. Ingredients must be purchased from Aldi – and each baker may spend a maximum of €20 on ingredients. Here is a link to the Aldi website where you can see all their products. 
  7. Entrants in county competitions must be available to attend and compete in the Regional finals (late July) and the National Finals (20th to 22nd September), if they get through to each.
  8. For the National Semi-Finals and Final, competitors will be obliged to use the ingredients supplied by Aldi Ireland.
  9. Competitors in the regional and national events must bring their own baking tins.
  10. The judges’ decision in all competitions is final and binding on all competitors and the fact of entering shall be deemed an acceptance of this rule.
(Immediate families of Foróige managers and employees and the directors managers and employees and the immediate families of other Promoters or the agencies or companies associated with this promotion are ineligible to enter.)

Any other enquiries should be directed to

So Get Baking and the Best of Success to all who enter!

Connect with the new 2016 Failte Ireland Food Champions

Fáilte Ireland today announced the names of 16 new emerging food champions who will represent the importance of food to tourism and visitors to Ireland. They will join six existing food champions as part of the Food Tourism Network Development programme. The group will work together with their local community to help build Ireland’s food tourism reputation, sourcing and activating ideas to encourage visitors to stop more, spend more and stay longer.

These new food champions were chosen from over 400 nominations following a detailed selection process. 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.

All those selected come from a wide variety of backgrounds and they all have different roles in the championing of Irish food. But they are united by their immense pride and their absolute conviction in Ireland’s food tourism potential. They want to shout from the rooftops that Ireland has a unique food experience; one that is honest and authentic, one that is as much about the people as it is about the product and the recipes. But they also want to educate, develop, connect the dots, to ensure that what we promise is what we deliver.

Fáilte Ireland’s new 2016 Food Champions
(front row, l to r) Jacinta Dalton, Gabriel Faherty, Olivia Duff, Ketty Elisabeth, Garrett Fitzgerald, Chris Molloy, Ruth Healy and Brid Torrades. (Back row, l to r) Kevin Ahern, Seáneen Sullivan, Claire Dalton, Tom Flavin, Judith Boyle, Ivan Varian, Aine Maguire, Pádraic Óg Gallagher, Patrick Ryan, John Relihan, Anthony O’Toole and Niall Sabongi. Photograph: Pat Moore

Each of these people has intimate knowledge of their own region and the food and food producers operating in their area. They are an essential local connection to what is happening on the ground - they are mediators, they are disseminators and they are all excellent communicators.

Failte Ireland's Food Champions are helping to tell Ireland’s Food Story.

I have listed the new Food Champions here with a Follow button to all their Twitter accounts so that you can connect with them and listen and learn about the food activities in the different regions of Ireland's Ancient East, Dublin City and County and The Wild Atlantic Way.

The 2016 Failte Ireland Food Champions on Ireland's Ancient East are:

Anthony O'Toole Anthony O’Toole (New) Culinarian Press, Ferns, WEXFORD

Claire Dalton Claire Dalton (New) Dungarvan Brewing, WATERFORD

Gearoid Lynch Gearóid Lynch (New) The Olde Post Inn, Cloverhill, CAVAN

Judith Boyle Judith Boyle (New) Beer Sommelier, Publican, KILDARE

Patrick Ryan Patrick Ryan (New) Firehouse Bakery, Delgany, WICKLOW

John Relihan John Relihan (New) Holy Smoke, CORK

Kevin Ahern Kevin Ahern (New) Sage Midleton, CORK

Olivia Duff Olivia Duff (Existing) The Headfort Arms Hotel, MEATH

The 2016 Failte Ireland Food Champions in Dublin:

Garrett Fitzgerald Garrett Fitzgerald (New) Brother Hubbard, Capel Street, DUBLIN

  Ivan Varian (New) Dalkey Food Company, Dalkey, DUBLIN

Niall Sabongi Niall Sabongi (New) Klaw Restaurant, Temple Bar, DUBLIN

Ketty Elisabeth Ketty Elisabeth (New) French Foodie in Dublin Ltd, DUBLIN

 Seáneen Sullivan (New) L. Mulligan Grocer, Stoneybatter, DUBLIN

Portrait of Padraig Og Gallagher Pádraic Óg Gallagher (Existing) The Boxty House, Temple Bar, DUBLIN

The 2016 Failte Ireland Food Champions on the Wild Atlantic Way:

Aine Maguire Áine Maguire (New) The Idle Wall, Westport, MAYO

Gabriel Flaherty Gabriel Faherty (New) Aran Islands Goats Cheese, Aran Islands,  GALWAY

Christopher Molloy Chris Molloy (New) The Lemon Tree, Letterkenny, DONEGAL

Portrait of Tom Flavin Tom Flavin (New) The Strand Hotel, LIMERICK

Mark Murphy Mark Murphy (Existing) Dingle Cookery School, Dingle, KERRY

Jacinta Dalton - Food Champion of Ireland Jacinta Dalton (Existing) Dept of Culinary Arts, GMIT, GALWAY

Portrait of Ruth Healy Ruth Healy (Existing) Urru Culinary Store, CORK

Brid Torrades - Food Champion of Ireland Brid Torrades (Existing) Osta Cafe, SLIGO

The Food Ambassadors continue to help to spread the vision and values of Irish food tourism among visitors, media, food tourism businesses, and other stakeholders. They are leaders in the food scene in Ireland and internationally. All are widely known and well regarded in Ireland’s food community and use their reputation and profile to help further develop food tourism in Ireland.

You can Follow Failte Ireland on Twitter here:  

For more details on each of the new 2016 Failte Ireland Food Champions (and details of the existing Failte Ireland Food Ambassadors) click here:

All these people are united by a strong belief in Ireland’s immense food tourism potential and their desire to help spread the word that Food Tourism is a vital part of the Future of Irish Tourism.

You can Follow me (Irish Food Guide) on Twitter here:   

I'm proud to know many of the new Food Champions and I'm looking forward to meeting up with the people that I haven't met yet, over the next year. Congrats to all selected. Having been part of the Food Champion program myself,  I know you'll definitely have an wonderful and interesting year ahead!


Could you be the 2016 World Irish Stew Champion?

Have you Entered the World Irish Stew Competition 2016 yet? Get the cook in your life to enter The World Irish Stew Championships this Saturday 18th June from 1pm at the Italian Quarter, Sligo Town.
There are categories for Professional and Non Professional cooks! Its easy to enter! 

Cook you favourite Irish Stew Recipe! The competition is open to professional and non-professional cooks. A professional cook is a cook with over two years’ experience in a professional kitchen or college. A non-professional (amateur) cook is a home cook with no professional experience or less than two years’ experience as a student.

A winner will be chosen in each class – professional and non-professional. An overall World Irish Stew Champion will then be chosen. 

The competition will take place at the Competition Tent at Tobergal Lane, Sligo 1pm – 2.30pm Saturday, 18th June 2016. The winner will be announced at 4pm at the same venue.

The Irish Stew should be brought to the venue prepared along with service plates. Two portions of Irish Stew to be plated and served – one for the judges and one for photos. There will be facilities for heating and for plating up at the competition.

Pay the entry fee of €10 which goes entirely to their nominated charity NWSimon and fill out our very simple entry form available here World Irish Stew Competition Entry Form and at the competition on the day.
It's all part of the SoSligo Food Festival which is running from 15th to the 19th June all over Sligo! For full details and the festival program see:

I'll be there as one of the judges and there will be lots going on while the judges are deliberating - including a busking competition and cookery demonstration. So get your stew up to Sligo this Saturday and you never know, You could be the World Irish Stew Champion 2016!

See you there,

Winners of the 2016 Euro-Toques Food Awards announced

The annual EirGrid Euro-Toques Food Awards took place today Monday 13th June. This year the awards were held at Ballymaloe House as part of the celebrations for the 30th anniversary of Euro-Toques Ireland, to honour its founder Myrtle Allen.

Euro-Toques members include some of Ireland’s greatest chefs, many of whom came together today to honour Mrs Allen on the 30th anniversary of this celebrated organisation. Mrs Allen also founded the Euro-Toques EirGrid Food Awards over 12 years ago to recognise and promote Ireland’s unique food producers.

The winners are nominated and selected by the members of Euro-Toques and inspected by members of the Euro-Toques Food Council. The awards are completely independent and entirely the selection of the chefs of Euro-Toques.

Euro-Toques Ireland is part of Euro-Toques International which was also founded in 1986, by Gualtiero Marchesi from Italy, Juan-Mari Arzak from Spain, Paul Bocuse from France, Cas Spijker from the Netherlands and Myrtle Allen from Ireland. Euro-Toques is a community of cooks and chefs who uphold a charter to protect and promote authentic artisan and high quality produce and high culinary standards in their kitchens. There are 16 European countries in Euro-Toques International, with a membership of over 3,000 dedicated chefs.

Euro-Toques Ireland was founded by Myrtle Allen in 1986

The awards ceremony took place in the Grainstore at Ballymaloe at 2pm today, compered by Darina Allen of Ballymaloe Cookery School. Canapés using the award winners' produce were prepared by Irish Michelin-starred chef and Euro-Toques member Enda McEvoy, of Loam in Galway.

Tonight, several award-winning Euro-Toques chefs have come together to create a celebration dinner at Ballymaloe House for Mrs Allen, including current Commissioner General Graham Neville (Residence and Restaurant Forty One), former Commissioner General Feargal O'Donnell (The Fatted Calf), and EuroToques chefs Kevin Aherne (Sage in Midelton), Rory O'Connell (Ballymaloe House) and Bryan McCarthy (Greene’s in Cork).

The Grainstore at Ballymaloe
This year’s the awards focused on the important, yet challenged, categories of raw milk cheese and free range pork, both of which have been shrinking year on year in the face of regulatory and economic barriers. 

Speaking at the awards Darina Allen said: “Perhaps no artisan product expresses the place and people that produce it as much as raw milk cheese. Each one is unique and almost certainly a labour of love by the cheesemaker, especially as they are increasingly facing challenges in today’s heavily regulated industry."
 She added, “Free range pork production is becoming more rare in Ireland. It is a challenging occupation that takes patience, skill and sensitivity to the needs of the animals in order to produce a good product. All of our winners are fine examples of how it’s done in the case of both these categories.”

Speaking about the awards, Euro-Toques Ireland Commissioner General Graham Neville said: 
“The artisan sector in Ireland has grown so much in the last 10 years, there’s almost nothing Irish artisans can’t produce at this stage. We are proud to be able to recognise their achievements and promote their huge value to our industry.”
Euro-Toques Ireland Commissioner General Graham Neville
A study by the New Economics Foundation in London found that every €14 spent at a local food business is worth €35 for the local area, compared with just €20 when the same amount is spent in a supermarket or wholesaler.

This year’s Euro-Toques Ireland Food Awards 2016 Winners are:

  • Joint award for free range pork- Fergus & Sandra Dunne, Pigs on the Green, Offaly
    and Dave & Diana Milestone, Andarl Farm, Co Mayo
  • For excellence and innovation in dairy- Aisling and Michael Flanagan, Velvet Cloud Irish Sheep's Milk Cheese, Co Mayo
  • For raw milk and raw milk cheese- James Gannon, Cloonconra Cheese, Co Roscommon (his own herd of Irish moiled cattle)
  • For excellence in aquaculture- Hugh O'Malley, Achill Oysters, Co Mayo
  • For excellence in baking and collaboration to educate- The Founders of Real Bread Ireland
  • Special Commendation for their support of Irish artisan producers- Ardkeen Quality Food Stores, Waterford

Asked about their success, Keith Bohanna, co-founder of Real Bread Ireland said: “There are only a handful of food awards that are really meaningful and the annual Euro-Toques awards, selected by a group of top chefs, are in that category. If this award encourages more bakers and chefs to start their journey into the world of real bread and sourdough then thank you."

There are currently over 3,500 small to medium sized food businesses operating in Ireland. Euro-Toques chefs work directly with the small producers and credit this produce that comes through their kitchen doors every day with the success of their award-winning restaurants.

Supporting small local food businesses benefits the local economy and Euro-Toques has been instrumental in encouraging restaurants, hotels and the general public to buy local food, from local producers. This has generated a re-discovery of pride in our Irish food and the growth of artisan produce all over Ireland.

Congratulations to all the award winners and Happy 30th Birthday Euro-Toques Ireland!


WIN 2 Tickets to 2016 Taste of Dublin with FloGas

COMPETITION CLOSED - Winner is @Ann100anna on Twitter

Dublin's unique and progressive dining scene will be celebrated during Taste of Dublin 2016, running from Thursday 16th to Sunday 19th June. Over four days, the city’s new, established and hottest restaurants will fashion together their exquisite signature dishes at the ultimate Dublin foodie festival.

You'll get to mingle with award-winning chefs, like-minded foodies and friends as you browse through the capital's premium food and drink producers and take part in the many interactive foodie features and attractions in the stunning surrounds of the Iveagh Gardens.

The Taste of Dublin Festival has become a much anticipated date in the social diary and for the last 11 years this food festival has played a vital role in progressing Dublin’s food revolution. It has always showcased the superb range of eclectic restaurants, producers and chefs that make up Dublin city’s vibrant culinary scene.

This year they are celebrating an Irish homecoming as the festival returns to the beautiful Iveagh Gardens for an unbeatable line up of events with renowned Irish Chefs from home and abroad.

Taste of Dublin's long-standing Energy Partner, FloGas, have teamed up with the award winning Dunbrody House to create the Dunbrody BBQ Experience for the first time, this year. The event will showcase the new & exclusive Flogas Gaslight cylinder. You will learn to perfect your BBQ technique with fun, interactive demos and enjoy food and craft beer from award winning chef Kevin Dundon.

Thanks to FloGas, we have 2 Tickets for Sunday Afternoon at Taste of Dublin, to give away:


LIKE FloGas on Facebook
and / or

FOLLOW FloGas on Twitter

and leave a Comment saying "I want Zack's Taste of Dublin Tickets from FloGas" to be in for a chance to WIN 2 Tickets for Sunday Afternoon at Taste of Dublin 2016!
Draw takes place on Monday 13th June.

COMPETITION CLOSED - Winner is @Ann100anna on Twitter

Best of Luck Everyone and See you There!

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