Write an essay and you could win a week-long culinary course in Italy

Food File: A competition for food lovers and a visual feast for children in the form of a book

Would you like to win a week in Italy, studying and cooking at Slow Food's University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy, in the company of David Chang of Momofuku restaurants fame?

All you have to do to enter is write a short essay about a favourite family recipe and why it means so much to you and to those you cook it for. You can enter yourself, or nominate someone else.

The competition is being organised by Airbnb, to promote its Cooking Experiences, which are bookable events such as cooking classes and tasting sessions hosted in homes, on farms, and in small food businesses in more than 70 countries around the world.

There are more than 3,000 cooking experiences to choose from. The criteria is that they must be “authentic, local experiences in intimate settings and small groups”, with the aim of sharing understanding of culture through food.


There is also a selection of pop-up cooking experiences with local celebrities, including one with Prue Leith in London. This goes on sale on December 9th and takes place on January 29th at Leith’s, the cookery school the author and TV presenter orginally founded. Participants will cook three dishes alongside Leith, and sit down with her for lunch afterwards.

The Cooking Experiences competition entries will be judged by a panel of judges from Airbnb, Slow Food and the University of Gastronomic Sciences, and 100 winners will be chosen to attend one of four five-day courses in Italy next June and July. Travel and accommodation costs are included and  there will be workshops, fields visits and tastings. The winners’ family recipes will be made into a cookbook next year.

Entries are being accepted at airbnb.com/cooking until December 23rd.

Food for thought from Tipperary

The Tipperary Food Producers group has launched an educational children’s book, The Tipperary Food Tour, that takes young readers on a tour of 32 of the county’s artisan food producers. Along the way they learn about how food is produced, and the importance of a healthy diet.

The animated book, written by Helen Dillon and illustrated by Derry Dillon, is accompanied by a workbook. Although the narrative is Tipperary-based, the engaging story and the message it shares has applications far beyond the county.

Launching it, Con Traas, chairman of the Tipperary Food producers network and owner of The Apple Farm in Cahir, said: "The idea of the book came from the food producers themselves who wanted to instill in their own children the love for and value of great locally produced food, and they did this by storytelling."

The book is aimed at readers between the ages of seven and 12. Copies can be ordered online from tipperaryfoodproducers.ie, and the cost is €8.95, plus €4.95 post and packaging.