Niall Hill , executive chef at the The Butlers Pantry, which recently opened its 10th shop at 5, Castleknock Village in Dublin, has just returned from Canada, where he was researching new food trends and gathering recipe ideas for the food-to-go business, which now employs 100 people in Dublin and Wicklow.
One of the innovations Hill previously introduced to The Butler’s Pantry is plank cooking, which involves roasting and smoking food on cedar or oak planks in a closed-top barbecue. It’s a technique he first saw in Canada, and now that we have the weather for outdoor grilling, the planks are on sale in all 10 shops, priced €3.95.
You can find Hill's recipes – including one for a smoked chocolate brownie cooked by the plank method – at thebutlerspantry.ie.
Follow the French food trail
If recent events have piqued your interest in all things Francophile, you could be part of a prominent food blogger's first walking (and eating and drinking) tour of Dublin's French hotspots.
Ketty Elisabeth, originally from the Loire Valley has been living in Dublin for more than eight years, working as a consultant for airlines and travel agencies.
She started her blog in response to queries from readers on where to source good French food and wine in the capital. Dubliners may already be familiar with the spots she plans to take her clients to – Paris Bakery, Cocoa Atelier, Fallon & Byrne; Sheridans and Chez Max, Baggot Street – but what promises to be interesting is her insight into French food culture and customs.
“They are places I go to on a regular basis for French products and on the tour I’ll explain why and give my tips and recommendations. I’ll be talking about French culture and the importance of food to French life,” she says.
The three-hour tours launch on July 27th and include either breakfast or lunch. Tickets can be booked at frenchfoodieindublin.com (€35 for the breakfast option; €42 with lunch and wine).
If you're a member of any branch of Slow Food Ireland, you can join foraging experts Evan Doyle and Biddy White Lennon at the Sugarloaf Convivium's fourth annual Fraughan Sunday outing on July 28th. The location in Wicklow is kept secret to make sure a bumper harvest of the berries is available on the day, but if you a sign up in advance you'll receive directions by return. Email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org stating your mobile number plus numbers of adults and children in your group. This free-to-attend, children-welcome, bring a picnic event is typical of Slow Food activities. Membership is €50 per year. You can join on the day, if you book in advance.