Theatre of Food celebrates its 10th anniversary at Electric Picnic with an expanded programme of events and the addition of two new stages, a Drinks Theatre and a Workshop Theatre, at its site in the festivals Mindfield.
There will be something of a culinary nature happening in all three venues throughout the three days of the festival, with some of the most creative talents in Irish food and drink taking part.
All but two of the events are free to attend for festivalgoers. One of those is likely to be the hot ticket of the weekend, for the EPic Irish Sunday Brunch, which will be hosted by the Failte Ireland Food Champions. A reviving repast, washed down with Bloody Marys, artisan cider and juices, is promised.
The feast will feature Niall Sabongi's Klaw oysters, Brian McCarthy's breakfast baos, Hugh Maguire's smoked black pudding, sausages and bacon, Burren smoked salmon, The Boxty House boxty, veggie cassoulet and a pancake station where baker Patrick Ryan will be flipping Cuinneog buttermilk pancakes to serve with O'Neill's bacon and Highbank Orchard apple syrup.
Tickets for this (€20) go on sale at noon on Saturday, August 18th, and can be bought online at giv2go.com. Only 100 tickets will be available for this and the tempting smell of bacon frying will lure ticketholders from their slumber for an 11.30am start. The proceeds will go to Jigsaw Youth Mental Health.
The other ticketed event at Theatre of Food is a wine tasting with Fionnuala Harkin of Wines Direct on the Friday evening, for which there is a €5 fee payable at the door.
Tickets must also be booked in advance for the Banquet at Electric Picnic, a charity fundraiser in association with Tesco finest*, which is not part of the Theatre of Food line-up but will be of interest to food-loving festivalgoers.
For €120 you can ditch the stand-up, food-to-go options, and instead sit down to a five-course banquet cooked by chefs Clodagh McKenna and Derry Clarke. There are four sessions, Saturday and Sunday, lunch and dinner, and tickets can be booked at giv2go.com.
The Theatre of Food Sunday brunch will be followed by another hotly anticipated event, a fashion show of ethically-made chefs' wear for women, modelled by Darina Allen of Ballymaloe, Jess Murphy of Kai, Audrey McDonald of Cookbook Café and Caitlin Ruth of Deasy's. "For too long women's chef gear has been simply men's gear with the odd dart," says Ruth, who commissioned the range from lingerie designer Ali Wheeler.
Another not-to-be-missed event is a live fire cooking demonstration with Andy Noonan, founder of The Big Grill festival, going on all day on Saturday. Using South American techniques, Noonan and Pat Whelan of James Whelan Butchers will slow roast whole carcasses over an open fire. The meat will be carved and served to festivalgoers at 6pm – expect a full house for this one.
Samples of the dishes cooked by chefs taking part in the cookery demonstrations will also be shared with the audiences, courtesy of Doyle Collection head chef Austin Byrne and his team, who will be working behind the scenes to recreate the dishes with ingredients supplied by Odaios Foods.
Other highlights will include Clanbrassil House chef Grainne O'Keefe cooking wagyu beef with bone marrow butter; Prof Ted Dinan, author of The Psychobiotic Revolution, talking about mood food; Kevin Thornton's breadmaking class; chef Kwanghi Chan and Eva Pau of Asia Market and Duck restaurant exploring the secrets of Asian flavours; pastry chef JR Ryall on the ultimate picnic; Padraig Og Gallagher making boxty dumplings with corned beef and cabbage, and Klaw's Niall Sabongi introducing his seafood poké.
Throughout the weekend a very unusual cake, inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations, commissioned from cake artist Karen Kearney of Roses and Bows, will be on view. Kearney will also do a sugarcraft and cake design workshop on the Sunday afternoon.
Children’s events on the Sunday will include a pizza making workshop with Jack O’Keeffe, and “Sprinkles, frosting and fun”, with The Cupcake Bloke (Graham Herterich).