Who are Ireland’s food champions?
Chefs, brewers, bakers, writers and publicans appointed as food ambassadors to tell visitors how to find the best Ireland has to offer
Fáilte Ireland’s new food champions (front row, l to r) Jacinta Dalton, Gabriel Faherty, Olivia Duff, Ketty Elisabeth, Garrett Fitzgerald, Chris Molloy, Ruth Healy and Brid Torrades. (Back row, l to r) Kevin Ahern, Seáneen Sullivan, Claire Dalton, Tom Flavin, Judith Boyle, Ivan Varian, Aine Maguire, Pádraic Óg Gallagher, Patrick Ryan, John Relihan, Anthony O’Toole and Niall Sabongi. Photograph: Pat Moore
Getting visitors to Ireland to “stop more, spend more and stay longer” is at the heart of a Fáilte Ireland food tourism initiative led by 16 newly appointed ‘food champions’, who join six already working in their local communities. The new appointees were chosen from more than 400 nominations made by representatives of the tourism, food and hospitality industries.
Among the new names spearheading this food tourism initiative are French woman Ketty Elizabeth, who runs Delicious Dublin Tours and writes the French Foodie in Dublin blog, and Australian-born former lawyer turned publican and restaurateur Seáneen Sullivan, who is a partner in L Mulligan Grocer in Dublin’s Stoneybatter.
Elizabeth, who is from the Loire Valley, came to Dublin to work in the travel industry in 2004. “Being from outside Ireland and being recognised as a champion for Irish food tourism is an honour. Food in Dublin is so exciting, there is so much going on. I just want to show people that food is another reason to visit Dublin.”
Sullivan is studying for a Masters in brewing and distilling, and is a partner in the Brown Paper Bag Project, which she describes as a locationless brewery producing collaborative beers. “I love Dublin fiercely and I love what is happening around food. This is a really exciting time to work on something like this. Part of the reason I love Dublin is that Dublin loves to celebrate what is special about itself. Dubliners love to share their tips, as though it is a great secret they are imparting only to you. We have started to do this with the food, started to tell the story,” she says.
The list of new food champions also includes chefs Gearóid Lynch (Old Poste Inn, Cavan), John Relihan (Holy Smoke, Cork), Kevin Ahern (Sage, Midleton), Garrett Fitzgerald (Brother Hubbard, Dublin), Niall Sabongi (Klaw, Dublin), Áine Maguire (The Idle Wall, Westport), Chris Molloy (The LemonTree, Letterkenny) and Tom Flavin (The Strand Hotel, Limerick).
The appointments were made in the counties that feature in Fáilte Ireland’s newest tourism brands – Ireland’s Ancient East, and Dublin – A Breath of Fresh Air, and in the established Wild Atlantic Way. Seven new appointments were made in the Ireland’s Ancient East catchment area, five in Dublin, and four in the Wild Atlantic Way. Existing food champions Olivia Duff, Pádraig Óg Gallagher, Mark Murphy, Jacinta Dalton, Ruth Healy and Bríd Torrades continue in their roles.
“The emerging food champions have already been working hard in their regions and can now become a part of our network, which we will support and guide as they continue to develop food tourism experiences,” said John Mulcahy, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Hospitality, Food & Standards.
The full list of 2016 Food Champions is:
Ireland’s Ancient East
Anthony O’Toole (Culinarian Press) Wexford
Gearóid Lynch (The Olde Post Inn) Cavan
Judith Boyle (Beer sommelier, publican) Kildare
Patrick Ryan (Firehouse Bakery) Wicklow
John Relihan (Holy Smoke) Cork
Kevin Ahern (Sage) Cork
Olivia Duff (The Headfort Arms Hotel) Meath
Dublin – A Breath of Fresh Air
Garrett Fitzgerald (Brother Hubbard)
Ivan Varian (Dalkey Food Company)
Niall Sabongi (Klaw)
Ketty Elizabeth (French Foodie in Dublin)
Seáneen Sullivan (L Mulligan Grocer)
Pádraic Óg Gallagher (The Boxty House)
Wild Atlantic Way
Áine Maguire (The Idle Wall) Mayo
Gabriel Faherty (Aran Islands Goat’s Cheese) Galway
Chris Molloy (The Lemon Tree) Donegal
Tom Flavin (The Strand Hotel) Limerick
Mark Murphy (Dingle Cookery School) Kerry
Jacinta Dalton (Dept Culinary Arts, GMIT) Galway
Ruth Healy (Urru Culinary Store) Cork
Bríd Torrades (Osta Cafe) Sligo