A few weeks ago I trekked up a weedy unpromising slope into a magical place. It's the NCAD Community Garden where I met a philosopher composter. Along with students Tony Lowth has built a garden where there was once a carpark, growing food from waste with compost made from the manure of Dublin carriage horses, seaweed, coffee grounds from local cafes and food waste from the fruit and veg market.
All we needed here was a chef. That's where Graham Neville from Restaurant 41 came in and he came to meet Tony in the garden. Graham got it. As I knew he would. And on Sunday November 1st you can taste the results in a bowl of soup at a very special market in Dublin's Smock Alley.
The NCAD Garden soup will be part of the Dublin Made Me Market, a day-long free market put together with Dublin 2020. It will bring under one roof the people finding and making food in the city. There will be commercial producers alongside guerilla farmers who look at even the tiny forgotten spaces as opportunities to turn the city into an abundant place. Along with that allotment soup we’ll have freshly pressed apple juice from the Falling Fruit Project, Keoghs Crisps and Dublin-roasted coffee. And the Dublin Community Gardens network will be there to help you with your nearest community garden where you can have all the fun of an allotment without the stress of having it all go to pot on your holidays.
There will be lots for children to do. Elaine Doyle will show them how to make her Secret Seed bombs. The Black Church Print Studios will be on hand to help them print the Dublin Made Me logo onto a teeshirt, bag or apron. At the Dublin Honey Project stall they can find out why Dublin One honey tastes different to Dublin Four honey.
Alongside the market there's a free talks session where stallholders will tell the stories behind their Dublin-made food. Amongst the speakers will be Tartine sourdough bread maker Thibault Peigne, Robert Moss from An Taisce will talk about the Garden City and Kaethe Burt-O'Dea will tell us about the King Sitric, a particularly Dublin spud.
After the market Smock Alley will host a ticketed event with all profits going to Trust and The Capuchin Day Centre, two Dublin homeless charities. The Appetite Talks will look at milk, the biggest food story in Ireland today. Chef-patron of The Dairy in Clapham, Robin Gill will show us some dairy magic, talk about his London restaurants and the appetite that London has for high end dairy. UCC food scientist Professor Alan Kelly will talk us through the magic of milk. There'll be gastrotypography from Mairtin Mac Con Iomaire and Kevin Thornton will talk bog butter. Chef Lilly Higgins will demo baked milk treats and historian Juliana Adelman will trace modern Irish history through cows. Farmer and writer Imen McDonnell will talk about how valuing farmers could benefit everyone. Irish Times wine writer John Wilson will reveal his daily "milk champagne" habit. Finally we'll taste Bertha's Revenge, a gin made from whey.
To finish on a high there's a dream team of chefs to cook Five Corners Feast, bringing together the cooks who've made the best food I've had the pleasure to eat in Ireland as Irish Times restaurant critic from their five corners of the country. Ox Belfast's Stephen Toman, Donegal's Derek Creagh from Harry's in Bridgend, the Dillisk Project's now Dublin-based chef Katie Sanderson, Jess Murphy from Kai Galway and Kevin Aherne from Sage in Midleton, Co Cork will each cook a dish with ingredients from their home corner. From the northwest Derek Creagh will bring Donegal beef. Jess Murphy will be bringing game from the west, a food steeped in her New Zealand childhood memories. Kevin Aherne will do sashimi Midleton style. In Dublin Katie Sanderson will be raiding her Dillisk larder of wild Atlantic ingredients and giving a root vegetable the reverence typically afforded to meat. Ireland's newest Michelin starred chef Stephen Toman will be cooking Belfast apples, as only he can. It's going to be a memorable meal.
The Dublin Made Me Market 10.30-3pm Sunday November 1st Smock Alley, Temple Bar Dublin 2
The Appetite Talks kick off at 4.30pm Sunday November 1st Smock Alley. Early bird tickets start at €125 for the talks, dinner and wines (sponsored by James Nicholson wines) until October 22. After that a full price ticket will be €150
Tickets from: theappetitetalks.squarespace.com