Clonakilty serves up free feast of rescued food

Cork town hosts free Sunday lunch in bid to promote awareness of food waste

Michelin Star chef Richy Virishwamy, who runs an award-winning bistro in Clonakilty and is head chef at the four star Inchydoney Lodge and Spa joined Adam Medcalf in rustling up a cracking meal using produce donated by Scally’s Supervalu and Harte’s Spar in Clonakilty. Photograph: Paddy Whelan

Michelin Star chef Richy Virishwamy, who runs an award-winning bistro in Clonakilty and is head chef at the four star Inchydoney Lodge and Spa joined Adam Medcalf in rustling up a cracking meal using produce donated by Scally’s Supervalu and Harte’s Spar in Clonakilty. Photograph: Paddy Whelan

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A mish-mash of ingredients – including yoghurt, green beans, tomatoes, carrots, onions and coriander – were whipped into a “rescued food feast” in Clonakilty at the weekend and the results served up free to 100 diners.

Cooking since 8am, two top local chefs used the ingredients to create a giant Mauritian Biryani that “smelled and tasted amazing”.

For dessert, everyone was treated to bread and butter pudding.

The Cork town famed for its black pudding hosted the free feast in bid to promote awareness of food waste.

Two of west Cork’s top chefs laid on the free Sunday lunch of ‘rescued’ food items in Clonakilty at O’Donovan’s Hotel. Products deemed no longer suitable for shelf sale at two local supermarkets served as ingredients for the free lunch for up to 100 diners.

Michelin Star chef and RTÉ Today Show resident Richy Virishwamy, who runs an award-winning bistro in Clonakilty and head chef at the four star Inchydoney Lodge and Spa, and Adam Medcalf rustled up a cracking meal using produce donated by Scally’s Supervalu and Harte’s Spar.

Diners were treated to some clever tips on how to use up and store fresh produce and save cash by cutting down on food waste.

Clonakilty resident Isobel Towse (22), a University College Cork graduate of International Development and Food Policy, helped organise the community event. Originally from Sherkin Island, Ms Twose hopes to drive home the message of cutting out food waste by bringing the concept to a local platform.

She said west Cork, known for its wealth of top food produce, was the perfect location.

“We have had major events like this in Dublin and Cork city but we wanted to do one in a small town. It’s a community lead event that aims to highlight food waste at a local level,” she said.

A global waste documentary featuring Jeremy Irons, titled Trashed was screened at Sunday’s event. Oscar winner Irons spends much of his free time in west Cork having renovated Kilcoe Castle outside Skibbereen.

Harte’s Spar owner Ger Harte donated ingredients approaching sell by-dates. The goods were delivered to the chefs on Saturday morning.

“Anything we had that was not 100 per cent shelf quality, not ideal for sale, we donated, along with any other ingredients the chefs require to make a meal of it,” he said.

“We already try to re-use as much rescued food as possible, disfigured or bruised fruit or vegetables for example are chopped up and used on display for garnishing,” he said.

The rescued food feast involved multiple groups including Clonakilty Tidy Towns, Sustainable Clonakilty, the local Grow It Yourself movement, Clonakilty Branch Out and was supported by Voice of the Irish Concern for the Environment (VOICE) and StopFoodWaste.ie.

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