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Irish Food Writing Award Winners 2021

 The inaugural Irish Food Writing Awards were held this evening (Wednesday 10th November) in Fallon and Byrne in Dublin city centre, with a later reception hosted by the Merrion Hotel in their Cellar Bar. 

Over 200 entries across 16 categories were received from Irish food and drink journalists, writers, bloggers and photographers from throughout the island of Ireland. Nine of twenty seven international judges (which included Rene Redzepi from Noma in Copenhagen, food broadcaster Jay Rayner and Tom Parker Bowles) attended the awards event, travelling to Ireland with the support of Tourism Ireland.

Irish Food Writing Awards founder, journalist Suzanne Campbell, said “this is the inaugural awards for journalists and food writers in Ireland to award and push for high standards in food writing and food media. We were overwhelmed with the amount of entries, the quality of the international writers who wanted to be involved as judges and our sponsor companies without which the awards wouldn’t have happened. Myself and a colleague Paul O’Connor set this up just this year; it’s a non-profit enterprise, and seeing the joy on peoples’ faces tonight at the awards was worth all the planning and changes we had to make because of the pandemic. It has been a tough eighteen months for the food sector and for journalists so this is a lovely way to acknowledge the hard work of writers and food media”


Irish Food Writing Award Winners


Food Podcast Award winner – Spice Bags Podcast from Dee Laffan, Mei Chin and Blanca Valencia

This award is sponsored by Safco Fine Foods and judged by BBC radio broadcaster on food and drinks Nigel Barden.


Writing on Sustainability in Irish Food Award – winner: Michelle Darmody for work in The Examiner

This award is sponsored by the National Dairy Council. The work submitted for this really important award was judged by Rene Redzepi, chef and founder of Noma restaurant in Copenhagen and Sustainability food and travel writer Catherine Mack


Restaurant Writing Award – winner: Joe McNamee for work in The Examiner

This award is sponsored by Fallon and Byrne. Judged by Tom Parker Bowles and Xanthe Clay.


Food Photography Award

This award was sponsored by Hussey Veg and this award has two categories both of which were judged by Conde Nast photographer Joann Pai.

Professional category winner – Al Higgins

Amateur category winner – Rosie Morgan


Online Writing Award winner – Caroline Hennessy for

This award is kindly sponsored by Pestle + Mortar. UK food broadcaster Andy Clarke judged these entries and was looking at not just blogs but also twitter, instagram and how the writers used social media platforms


Writing on Irish Food Producers Award winner: Katy McGuinness for work in the Irish Independent

This award is sponsored by Aldi Ireland who work with small Irish food producers through their Grow with Aldi programme. The judges on this category were Mark Hix and German based food writer Christie Dietz


Investigative Writing on Food Award winner: Niall Sargeant for work published in

This award is sponsored by Drummond House Garlic. These entries were judged by UK food journalist Joanna Blythman


Emerging Voice in Irish Food Writing Award winner: Maeve L’Estrange for work published in the Dublin Inquirer

This is a really important category as it is to reward newer voices in Irish writing on food and drink. We teamed up with the members of the Irish Food Writers Guild on this award who judged it


Cookery Writing Award winner: Lilly Higgins for work in the Irish Times

Sponsored by Ardkeen Grocer - The judges of this award were Trish Deseine and French Elle Magazine writer Esterelle Payany 


Wine Writing Award winner: Aoife Carrigy – The Irish Independent

Sponsored by Whelehans Wines and judged by Fiona Beckett and Marie-Dominique Bradford of Trois Fois Vins in Paris


Spirits Writing Award winner: Oisin Davis for work published in Food and Wine Magazine

This award was sponsored by Powerscourt Distillery and judged by food and drink writers Colman Andrews from New York and Rachel McCormack from Scotland


Beer Writing Award winner: Breandan Kearney for work published on Good Beer Hunting

The aim of this award is to encourage and popularise more writing on beer in Ireland. It is sponsored by Bru Brewery and was judged by drinks writers Robb Walsh and Richard Croasdale from UK beer magazine “Ferment”.


Food Writing Award winner – Corinna Hardgrave

This award is sponsored by Bord Bia and was judged by American food author Adrian Miller and British author and food writer Sophie Grigson


Writing on International Cuisines in Ireland winner Mei Chin for work in The Irish Times and The Times (UK) newspapers

Sponsored by the Irish Curry Awards and judged by British food writer Anjula Devi


Magazine or Food Supplement Award winner: Food and Wine Magazine

This award is sponsored by Invest NI was judged by UK food writers Charlotte Pike and Claire Finney


Outstanding Achievement in food and drink writing award.

This award was presented posthumously to wine writer and broadcaster Tomás Clancy. It was accepted by his wife Claire Kearney and sons Tomas and Liam Clancy

Sponsored by James Whelan Butchers


Cookbook of The Year Award winner: “FX Buckley the Dublin Steakhouse” by Katy McGuinness and Stephen Buckley

Sponsored by Gather &Gather and judged by Jay Rayner and Dr Annie Gray of BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet


The awards, established by Suzanne Campbell with Paul O’Connor, are kindly sponsored by The National Dairy Council, James Whelan Butchers, Aldi Ireland, Whelehans Wines, Pestle + Mortar Sauces, Bord Bia, Brú Brewery, Drummond House Farm, Safco Fine Foods, Invest Northern Ireland, Powerscourt Distillery, Gather & Gather, Hussey’s Fruit and Vegetables, The Irish Curry Awards, Ardkeen Quality Food Store and Fallon & Byrne. Also kindly supported by Tourism Ireland and hotel partner The Merrion Hotel. 

The Irish Food Writing Awards were established to recognise and celebrate the high quality of food and drink writing from throughout the island of Ireland, across print, broadcast and online.

I was a Finalist, no win tonight! But it was great to meet up with good food people again! 

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