Food File: The weekly food news round-up

Breadmaking in Dublin, getting ready for Listowel Food Fair, another culinary school for Kilkenny and €11,000 for Dublin Simon Community

Kilkenny's learning curve
Kilkenny city and county could become the country's seat of learning for culinary arts, with the addition of yet another cookery school, this time in the heart of the city.

Husband and wife Neil and Mary McEvoy are both chefs but have different specialisations – he is a former restaurant chef while she makes and decorates beautiful cakes and patisserie. Their Kilkenny Cookery School is located beside Mary's recently relocated A Slice of Heaven cafe on Friary Street, where parents can have a cup of coffee and a slice of cake while watching their children taking part in a class next door, via a portal linking the two premises. Among a varied programme, Neil's One Chicken, Five Recipes class (May 23rd, €65) stands out as something new. See the programme at

Bread winners
Keith Bohanna is bringing his "meet the producers" series of talks to the capital, having run them previously at Highbank Orchard apple farm in Kilkenny. Run in conjunction with Vanessa and Tim Greenwood whose Cooks Academy cookery school at 19 South William Street is the new venue, the series kicks off this Monday, April 27th.

First up is a session with three breadmakers, William Despard of Bretzel Bakery, Thibault Peigne of Tartine and Eoin Cluskey of Firehouse Bakery, who will explain what's behind the Real Bread Ireland campaign. They will also be sharing their expertise and taking questions, so if you want to join the growing band of home bread bakers, this is a good place to start. The talk will run from 6-8pm, costs €15 to attend and can be booked at


Get competitive in the Kingdom
Listowel Food Fair, which claims to be Ireland's longest running food festival, is on from June 18th-21st. As well as the usual opportunities to try different food, this festival offers some interesting competitive elements, such as the all-Ireland food photography competition, an amateur recipe competition, and a drive to find the best new artisan product, won last year by the Wild Irish Foragers and Preservers for their wild dandelion preserve. An unusual event at this year's festival is a tribute to Kathy Buckley (above), who was born in the town, and who cooked for three US presidents – Coolidge, Hoover and Roosevelt – as head cook at the White House. Her culinary talent was discovered by financier JP Morgan when he was holidaying in Waterville, and she went to cook for him in the US, before moving to the White House. Historian Vincent Carmody is a relative and has compiled an archive of memorabilia of her time at the White House, including recipes, photographs and menus, and will present them at the tribute. See

Charity donation
Restaurateur Olivier Meisonnave has donated  €11,000 to the Dublin Simon Community. Over a period of 12 months Meisonnave personally donated €2 per table of diners at his Dublin restaurant Dax to the charity. A cheque was presented recently to representatives of the charity.

Dax staff also visited high-support housing in Dublin and cooked barbecues for the residents, and hosted a gala fundraising dinner at the restaurant.