On Wednesday Fáilte Ireland (Ireland National Tourism Development Authority) announced their 16 Irish food champions and I'm so honoured to be one of them. Fáilte Ireland received over 400 nominations and I couldn't believe I was chosen.
Many moons ago, when I was studying tourism management in college in France, if someone had told me that one day I'd be a food champion for the national tourism development authority in Ireland I probably wouldn't have believed it and given a gallic shrug. I did Tourism studies in a hospitality college in the Loire Valley and was supposed to promote France as a destination after all.
Being chosen as a food champion means a lot to me, even more so as I'm not from here. I'm so honoured and even though I already consider Ireland to be my home, it makes me feel even more like I belong. But this blog post isn't about blowing my own trumpet, I just wanted to say that I feel grateful to live in a country where I feel so welcome.
All the Fáilte Ireland food champions come from different backgrounds and I'm excited to be part of this talented team. There are many chefs, publicans, a cheesemaker, a baker, a brewer and many more interesting people. You can read about them on Fáilte Ireland's website. I'm not really good at talking about myself but you'll find my food champion profile here too if you want to know a bit more about my background and why I was chosen.
John Mulcahy, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Hospitality, Food & Standards, said -
"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."
Here is the Fáilte Ireland food champion list:
Ireland's Ancient East
Anthony O’Toole (New) Culinarian Press WEXFORD (Ferns)
Claire Dalton (New) Dungarvan Brewing Co. WATERFORD (Dungarvan)
Gearóid Lynch (New) The Olde Post Inn CAVAN (Cloverhill)
Judith Boyle (New) Beer Sommelier, Publican KILDARE
Patrick Ryan (New) Firehouse Bakery WICKLOW (Delgany)
John Relihan (New) Holy smoke CORK
Kevin Ahern (New) Sage CORK (Midleton)
Olivia Duff (Existing) The Headfort Arms Hotel MEATH
Dublin, A Breath of Fresh Air
Garrett Fitzgerald (New) Brother Hubbard DUBLIN, Capel Street
Ivan Varian (New) Dalkey Food Company DUBLIN, Dalkey
Niall Sabongi (New) Klaw Restaurant DUBLIN, Temple Bar
Ketty Elisabeth (New) French Foodie in Dublin Ltd DUBLIN
Seáneen Sullivan (New) L. Mulligan Grocer Stoneybatter, DUBLIN
Pádraic Óg Gallagher (Existing) The Boxty House DUBLIN (Temple Bar)
Wild Atlantic Way
Áine Maguire (New) The Idle Wall MAYO (Westport)
Gabriel Faherty (New) Aran Islands Goats Cheese GALWAY (Aran Islands)
Chris Molloy (New) The Lemon Tree DONEGAL (Letterkenny)
Tom Flavin (New) The Strand Hotel LIMERICK
Mark Murphy (Existing) Dingle Cookery School KERRY (Dingle)
Jacinta Dalton (Existing) Dept of Culinary Arts, GMIT GALWAY
Ruth Healy (Existing) Urru Culinary Store CORK
Brid Torrades (Existing) Osta Cafe SLIGO
In my role I have to deliver a food tourism project aligned with the Dublin brand, which is something I'm very excited about as I'm already working in food tourism. In the meantime if you have any suggestions on how to help Ireland become more of a food tourism destination let me know!
Thanks to everyone who has supported me for the last few years, so many great things have happened because of this blog and that means thanks to you for reading!