Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine

Luminaries of food and wine world just can’t say no to Darina Allen


This photograph of Thomasina Miers, former Ballymaloe Cookery School student, MasterChef UK winner and restaurateur/chef behind Wahaca, the Mexican restaurant chain in London, sums up the spirit of yesterday’s opening day at Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine. Just weeks after the birth of her second daughter, Miers travelled to Co Cork to be part of the event - just another of the many luminaries of the food and wine firmament worldwide who said they’d had a call from Darina Allen asking them to participate, and just couldn’t say no. “The event is costing us €200,000 to put on; if it just breaks even we’ll be happy,” Allen said, while remarking that while people had been slow to book, the attendance was heartening.

David Thompson, the world renowned authority on Thai food, is today’s big draw in the demonstration kitchen, but there are debates, discussions, fringe events - and lots of excellent eating opportunities - scattered throughout Ballymaloe House hotel and the Cookery School.

Thomasina Miers will be on stage too, joining fellow Ballymaloe certificate course graduates Rachel Allen and Stevie Parle [of Dock Kitchen in London] in a demo in the kitchen where they were once students. Other well known names taking part today include wine writer Jancis Robinson, cookbook author Claudia Roden and writer Matthew Fort. The festival continues until Monday. See