Pádraic Óg Gallagher, of Gallagher’s Boxty House in Dublin’s Temple Bar, was recognised as a champion of quality Irish food and cuisine at the weekend, when he prepared and presented a gala banquet at an important international food event in Oxford. The Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery is an annual, weekend-long conference which brings together over 200 distinguished food writers, historians, chefs, scholars and ‘foodies’ from all over the world.
This year’s gala banquet was sponsored by Tourism Ireland and prepared and cooked by Pádraic Óg and Dave Power, head chef at Gallagher’s Boxty House, together with DIT’s award-winning chef, Dr Máirtín Mac Con Iomaire. Every year the symposium has a particular theme and academic papers on that theme are presented over the weekend; and a select number of chefs are then invited to present a meal based on that theme. This year’s theme was ‘cured, fermented and smoked foods’. Being invited to present the gala banquet is a considerable honour, previously given to chefs such as Raymond Blanc.
Lawrence Bate, Head of Tourism Ireland in Great Britain, said: “Food is a vital component of the tourism experience and increasingly the island of Ireland is becoming known for the high quality of its cuisine; there is no doubt that modern Irish cuisine compares with the best in the world. Working with passionate Irish chefs like Pádraic Óg Gallagher helps us to spread the word about Ireland as a premier holiday destination with an outstanding food product. Our aim is to ensure that potential holidaymakers get to experience at first-hand the passion of local producers and chefs for sourcing, using and promoting Irish produce.”
Showcasing some of the best of our artisan produce, made by people with passion, pride, love (and maybe a just a hint of obsession!) about what they produce, the Irish banquet was a triumph for our cuisine and for Ireland as a ‘food island’. The recognition of the high standard of our cuisine and our quality food producers is growing internationally, and Pádraic Óg was delighted and honoured to be the first Irish chef invited to cook at this prestigious event.
Before the gala dinner, Pádraic Óg presented a short film featuring interviews with the various food producers from around the island of Ireland who supplied the ingredients for the special dinner. To see the film, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shQdwPSs0Zg
Preparing the corned beef and bacon for the gala dinner in Oxford are Dr Máirtín Mac Con Iomaire, award-winning chef from DIT and Pádraic Óg Gallagher of Gallagher's Boxty House.
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland t: 01 476 3493/ 087 685 9027
Notes to Editors:
• Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
• Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing approximately 200,000 people.
• Approximately 7.5 million overseas visitors came to the island of Ireland in 2009, delivering revenue of €3.5 billion.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.discoverireland.com; there are 41 different websites, providing information in 19 different languages covering every continent. In 2009 discoverireland.com attracted a record 13+ million unique visitors, a +34% increase in visits on 2008.