Best Restaurant - Chef Fred Desermeaux and Greene’s Restaurant, Cork
Competition was fierce but Fred and the team at Greene’s impressed us with their Chefs Platter which included five different tasters and could be paired with a choice of wine, the servers were polite, professional and maintained the standards that one would expect during normal restaurant service.
Best Dish - 12 mile plate by Kevin Aherne of Sage Restaurant, Midleton
We knew early on that the beautiful 12 mile plate would take some beating; the plate was a testament to Kevin Aherne’s passion for supporting food producers in the community in which he lives and works, as he presented the platter; Aherne (who trained under Fred Desermeaux) told me that every ingredient “bar the salt and pepper” comes from within twelve miles of his East Cork restaurant. Expect to hear much more about Sage in the future.
Best Producer - Glenilen Farm, Drimoleage, Co. Cork.
One of the busiest and best presented of all the exhibitors. The team at Glenilen could give a master class on how a small dairy producer can take their product on the road to showcase their evolving business. Before this year is over they will have travelled to nine different events including four in the UK. These guys are also supplying Team Ireland with yogurt for the duration of the Olympics.
Best Service/Hospitality - The Cornstore, Cork
The welcome, generosity and banter we had with Mags O'Connor and her team made us want to stay in the Cornstore tent all afternoon but sadly we were men on a mission. To their credit the girls at the Cornstore are persuasive and were not going to let us move on without sampling dessert and topped up our glasses to see us on our way.
Best Beverage Award- Colm McCan, Sommelier at Ballymaloe House, Co. Cork
Pouring your own Sherry is not as easy as it sounds, especially when you have to use a traditional Sherry venencia. This tricky Sherry ladle got the better of most visitors to the Ballymaloe tent but the gracious Colm was always on hand to assist and advise on his range of excellent Sherries. As expected, the Ballycotton crab pate was excellent.
Other festival highlights included: smoked pigeon from Hayfield Manor, teriyaki salmon from Fresco, featherblade beef from the Lime Tree@Springfort Hall, cold poached tuna from Oysters@Clarion Hotel, giant tempura prawns from SoHo, salt and pepper squid from Jacobs on the Mall, a delicious Thai chicken noodle soup from Isaacs, Clonakility Black Pudding burgers, delicious mini desserts from Bitesize, cooking demonstrations given by local and celebrity chefs and music provided by the Dublin Gospel Choir.
Best Producer - Glenilen Farm, from left Tadgh O'Donovan (Sales and Marketing Manager), Julie Ann Twomey (Sales and Marketing Assistant), Brendan O'Connell, Dispatch Manager
Best Beverage - Colm McCan/Ballymaloe with Hazel Allen, Ballymaloe
Best service/hospitality - The Cornstore, Cork from left: Colette O'Connor, Mags O'Connor and Kate O'Donovan
Best Dish - 12 mile platter, Kevin Aherne, Sage Midleton with Réidín (will confirm surname), Sage Midleton
Joe McNamee, Sylvia Meulmeester (Greene's), Fred Desermeaux (Head Chef, Greene's), William Barry
Photos by Joe McNamee
See also Joe's report at http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/festival-leaves-a-sweet-taste-20159...