I wrote this guest blog post today for my good friends and colleagues in MCSquared so that they could share with their friends and clients some of the fun of Savour Kilkenny. I thought some of my regular reviewers at home and abroad might also enjoy an insight into a special Irish food festival and the power of local volunteering.
What makes a good food festival great? Well take one of Ireland’s most beautiful cities, a community well versed in getting behind a shared passion and an engaging approach from the volunteer organisers that gets young and old, professional chefs and amateur cooks, local producers and consumers all involved in a weekend of fun and good food. Invite in some celebrity chefs, a few respected food critics and lots of enthusiastic food producers and bloggers. Throw in excellent dinners prepared by the best local chefs and a dash of beautiful Autumn weather on an October bank holiday weekend and you have all the makings of a fun and entertaining event.
After a sublime meal on Thursday night in 3 AA rosette The Lady Helen restaurant at Mount Juliet to launch the 2012 Festival, I spoke at Foodcamp at Savour Kilkenny about Shananigans Blog early the next morning.
The aim of my talk was to convince the audience that it is possible to make authentic Chinese food with the best of Irish ingredients. A slow-cooked Chinese stew made with Irish produced wagyu beef, from James Whelan Butchers’ herd in Garrentemple, Co. Tipperary , simmering on the hotplate in the background, helped lure the punters in. I enjoyed telling the story of the blog and of the fun I have had experimenting with using products as diverse as Flahavan’s Porridge Oats from the Love Irish Foodbrand and Irish artisan beers in regional Chinese cuisine.
No sooner had the session finished than I was whisked off to KCLR to The Sue Nunn Show. There I waited in turn to be interviewed after a wonderful bunch of young students who had been through a foodie boot camp with celebrity chefs Anne Neary and Edward Hayden and were to sell their produce in the Young Food Producers Market on The Parade the next day. Their confidence and enthusiasm was inspiring. It seems that every young Kilkenny person aspires to be a chef or play for Kilkenny.
It was only slightly daunting to have my wagyu stew “stolen” and tasted live on radio by Chef Anne Neary as soon as my back was turned.
Continue reading Savouring Savour Kilkenny