IQFA Food Hero winner!

This post is long overdue, but back in October 2019 I was awarded the inaugural Food Hero award from the IQFAs (Irish Quality Food and Drink Awards), sponsored by Aldi Ireland. Needless to say I was absolutely delighted!

The 2019 Irish Quality Food and Drink Awards took place on Thursday 24 October at The Clayton Hotel on Burlington Road, Dublin. Hector O’hEochagáin was MC for the event. The evening was a huge success with food producers and retailers being recognised for their hard work.

Here I am pictured with John Curtin, Group Buying Director, Aldi Ireland and Hector O’hEochagáin.

Recent Roundup

So many restaurants, just not enough time to report them all fully I’m afraid. I hope these photos give you a taste (!) to bring you up to date. It has been a very busy year so far working with more great food producers, visiting new restaurants and cafés, judging baking competitions….such activity in the food community, brilliant!

Finals of the Co. Leitrim Aldi / Foiróige baking competition – the cake won, so light, flavoursome, a great bake as they say – no soggy bottoms!

Lunch in The Oarsman, Carrick On Shannon – Atlantic Hake with a side of the best mashed potato I’ve had anywhere for ages. Thanks Conor Maher for the suggestion!

Duck starter and Sea Bass main course in The Cottage, Jamestown, Co.Leitrim

Beer Battered cod & chips in The Clubhouse Bar, Dromahair, Co.Leitrim – on my doorstep!

If you haven’t been to the Sweet Beat Café yet in Sligo -why not?! Its just fantastic – tell Carolanne I sent you 😉

Wonderful marshmallow from Donegal, made by Artisan food producer Linda McClean of Mallow Mia! Brilliant for gifts or wedding favours.

KC Peaches, Dame St., Dublin – toasted brown bread with mashed avocado (very tasty even though it wasn’t actually mashed!). Food good though service was a little slow considering the only other person there was only having coffee!

Baba Ganousch in Luna Restaurant, Dromahair, Co.Leitrim – the village is growing its fab food status with Bernadette O’Shea’s incredible food.

Great to see new places opening on O’Connell St., Sligo – Knox is the place to try if you’re in town. Love the style and decor, food good too!

Dromahair monthly(ish) Culinary Challenge Club – Mexican night!

There’s more to come – and I promise to post a lot more regularly from now on. If you’ve been anywhere great or awful, let me know and I’ll check it out!
Bye for now,
Oonagh

Irish Quality Food & Drink Awards announce 2014 finalists!

I was delighted to have been invited to be a judge at this year’s IQFA Awards. I spent two days in Dublin with a range of really interesting people judging everything from Christmas puddings, mince pies, frozen desserts, ice cream, chocolates, gluten free sausages, bread, butter, spreads, cakes, cheeses and yogurts. Phew!! It was great! Such a range excellent of foods, so many wonderful producers and the quality was fantastic!

And so, following a huge wave of entries and 8 days of tough judging, the shortlisted products for the Irish Quality Food and Drink Awards have been announced today. Check out the shortlisted producers here.

The 180 shortlisted food and drink products in 50 categories were whittled down from 606 entries and are now in with a chance to win one of the prestigious awards in a glittering ceremony hosted by TV Chef and author Catherine Fulvio on 11th September in the Round Room, Mansion House, Dublin.

This year for the first time a panel of judges from Musgrave Retail Partners chose finalists for the Small Producer of the Year Award – designed to celebrate artisanal foods and drink in Ireland and sponsored by SuperValu. The winner will be offered a prestigious listing in SuperValu stores. Finalists are:

• Chicken Liver Paté with Garlic & Brandy – On The Pig’s Back c/o La Charcuterie Irlandaise Ltd

• Scotts Irish Cider – Big Hand Brewing Company Ltd

• Sweet BBQ Pulled Pork – Jack & Keith Molloy Bros. Ltd

Organiser, Helen Lyons, is thrilled with the success of the awards so far and said the judging was a “fantastic 8 days which brought together some of the very best food and drink on sale in Ireland and many of the Nation’s top foodies”.

The Irish Quality Food Awards set out to recognise excellence in product development for food and drink producers, retailers and catering companies in Ireland only, with Q Awards being awarded across 50 different categories. The Overall Gold Q is awarded to the one product that stands out among all the other entries and is chosen from the winners of the main categories, representing the very best of the best.

The awards are open to all retailers, food producers, wholesalers and food service operators across Northern and Southern Ireland. They are a unique collaboration between Food and Hospitality Ireland and the UK Quality Food and Drink Awards (now in its 33rd year) and sponsored by top UK packaging manufacturer, Benson Group as well as Invest Northern Ireland and MLS Labelling & Printing Systems.

All excess food from the judging was given to The Capuchin Centre for Homeless People, which provides warm food each day and more than 1800 food hampers a week to vulnerable people in Dublin, and FareShare. Learn more about The Capuchin Centre for Homeless People www.capuchindaycentre.ie.

Glenisk & Cloughjordan House Launch National ‘Chef Star’ Competition for Secondary School Students

Glenisk, Ireland’s award winning organic dairy, has teamed up with Cloughjordan House & Cookery School to launch the ‘Chef Star’ competition in a bid to find Ireland’s best student chef!

The competition was launched by Sarah Baker of Cloughjordan House to home economics teachers at the national ATHE conference in Athlone, Co. Westmeath and is live now.

The nationwide search for Ireland’s next Donal Skeehan/Rachel Allen is designed to get the proverbial creative juices flowing, and encourage students to become more confident in the kitchen. ..before they leave the nest!

Students interested in submitting their own recipe have until 31st March 2014, and can simply visit the Glenisk Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/GleniskOrganic where they will be prompted to upload their recipe using a Glenisk product, along with an image of the culinary creation and a few lines on why they should win ‘Chef Star’.

The successful candidate will win an Apple IPad, enabling them to create and document many more delicious recipes to come, as well as winning a €500 voucher for their respective school to spend on equipment for the Home Economics room.

Cloughjordan is home to Sarah Baker’s award winning cookery school, and offers a range of exciting and inspiring courses for Transition Year and HE students. These dynamic courses offer students the chance to learn valuable cooking skills and develop a deeper understanding of where our food comes from.

Further information on all Glenisk products is available at www.glenisk.com  or you can become a fan of thewww.facebook.com/GleniskOrganic page to be in with a chance to win prizes and keep up with the organic conversation, or follow @Glenisk daily updates.