Music Venue of the Year - The Cookbook Cafe
Product of the Year - Irish Artisan Charcoal Company
In 2015 every single bag of charcoal sold in Ireland was imported. And virtually every bag of that charcoal was crap. And then, in 2016, along came Colin, Laszlo and James of the Irish Artisan Charcoal Company and, overnight, our three heroes transformed the world of Irish barbecue, with their peerless, sustainable, Irish fuel. If it ain’t IACC, it ain’t worth a squib. irishcharcoal.com
Festival Event of the Year - Waterford Harvest Festival brunch at The Granary
Cafe of the Year - The Farmhouse Cafe
The Farmhouse Café is on the Longmile Road, in Dublin. If that sounds surreal, it is. There are no farms on the Longmile Road. There are no houses. There are car dealerships, trade-only outlets, big box shops, petrol stations, and lots and lots of traffic. And, mercifully, there is Susan O’Sullivan’s inspired Farmhouse Café, with its inspiring cooking. You couldn’t make it up, but we’re sure glad Ms O’Sullivan did.
Wine person of the Year - Pascal Rossignol
Ten years ago, when Pascal Rossignol first began to introduce natural wines, via his shop and wine company Le Caveau, people scoffed.
Chef of the Year - Kevin Murphy, idas
Funny how things work out.
Back in 2013, when he was putting the whumpf! into the food that made Fade Street Social the hottest ticket in town, Karl Whelan told The Irish Times that, whenever he got his own name over the door, it would be “a barbecue and blues joint”, a reflection of the fact that he is a major music head, and loves the heritage cooking of the American South.
Between 2013, and today, Mr Whelan moved on to Luna, where he put the whumpf! into the food that made John Farrell’s restaurant the talk of 2015.
Thinking back over a year of eating and drinking for a living to pick out the best bits is a daunting task, so I'll try to keep this short and free from excessive hubris!
Best meal of the year was at Heron and Grey where the balance of flavours and focused ingredient combinations left me almost breathless. Andrew Heron's wine list is in perfect harmony with Damian Grey's food and, if you are lucky enough to get a booking in 2017, do listen to Andrew's advice.
Harvest Food Festival, Waterford City, September.
The past twelve months have seen me change career twice, and cover fewer miles than years previous, but the quality of hospitality I enjoyed just keeps improving as Ireland hits its stride once again.
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