Buffet of celebrity chefs at foodie festival


A SMORGASBORD of treats has been lined up for foodies at this year’s Taste of Dublin festival, which begins this evening in Iveagh Gardens.

The dish of the day will undoubtedly be served up by chef Jamie Oliver when he launches the four-day festival by performing his first cookery demonstration on Irish soil. Some 30,000 food fans will be hoping to have their appetites whetted by cookery demonstrations, food and drink tastings and cookery classes.

This is the festival’s seventh year, and every year up until this the organisers had tried but failed to secure an appearance by Oliver, festival director Rachel Kelly said.

The chef will give a cooking demonstration at 6.30pm in a 120- seat marquee which is open on three sides so people can watch from outside. It will also be shown on a large screen in the gardens. “He is one of the most sought-after, credible celebrity chefs globally. It was a great coup to get him,” Kelly said.

He’s not the only celebrity chef on hand this weekend. Cookery demonstrations will also be given by Jean Christophe Novelli, Valentine Warner, Neven Maguire, Catherine Fulvio, Kevin Dundon, Rachel Allen and Kevin Thornton.

Visitors will be able to buy tapas-sized dishes from 23 restaurants including Chapter One, Bon Appétit, Jaipur, Pichet, The Chop House and II Primo.

Kelly expects a lot of interest in Kanchi Dine in the Dark – a pop-up restaurant in complete darkness. Guests will be guided by their taste buds and helped by a team of visually impaired hosts. It has a capacity of 25 visitors per session and seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

Some 100 exhibitors will be offering samples of artisan food and drink, and enthusiastic cooks will be able to take part in cookery classes with Lynda Booth’s Dublin Cookery School.

The popular Chef’s Table event will be hosted by Ross Golden Bannon of Food Wine magazine. Visitors can question chefs including Derry Clarke, Kevin Thornton, Darina Allen and artisan producers such as Mary Bulfin and Prannie Rhatigan.

Clarke will also be giving barbecue masterclasses with Dundon in hopes the weather will improve.

But rain shouldn’t dampen the party, as the organisers will have 10,000 ponchos on hand to distribute free if the heavens open. The festival also has 10 extra marquees this year to provide some shelter.

Sunday has been designated Ladies’ Day with the top prize of a €2,000 Karen Millen voucher.

The event attracted 28,000 people last year. With more than 20,000 tickets already sold this year, Kelly said it looked as if that attendance would be be matched if not improved on this year.