I want to use this article to document what’s happening in Galway city and county. I won’t be talking about the cafe that is putting food in a microwave and charging a 70 per cent mark-up; this is about people who care about food, who may not always get it right but who never stop trying. These people are interested in developing a culinary framework in the West of Ireland and working with Bord Fáilte to develop and enhance the most important industry we have in Ireland: tourism.
There is no better way of highlighting this community than by talking about the recent ‘50 Mile Feast’ that took place in the Columban Hall on Saturday 8 October. Seven of Galway’s food operators worked together to create this unique culinary event to raise funds for Galway Simon community. The people involved were numerous, including Jamie Peaker of Builin Blasta, Seamus Sheridan, Sorcha Molloy, who not only cooked but was the key element in the organisation along with Patrick O’Reilly, Junichi Yoshiyagawa from Kappa-Ya, Jess Murphy from kai, Jp McMahon from Cava and Anair, and Paolo Brunato and Piereluigi Susana from ArdBia.
Dishes included Connemara Abalone, Castlemine braised beef cheeks,smoked Clarenbridge oyster mousette, risotto of pearl barley with Cratloe Hills sheep cheese to name a few. This was wonderful local produce presented and enhanced by some amazingly gifted chefs. The incredibly talented local interior architect Stephen Walton enhanced the hall itself with forest findings from county Mayo.
Each chef worked to plate up each other’s dishes and there was a wonderful sense of cohesiveness both on the floor and in the kitchen. The food critic from the Irish Times Catherine Cleary attended, along with a host of Galway foodies.
Increasingly it is said to me that there seems to be a food movement in Galway. I can feel it; it was particularly strong last Saturday night. There is so much going on right now, with the recent openings of Kai and Anair restaurants. Galway is uniquely positioned to be a real food destination. We have a lot to shout about and be proud of, not least the extent of our exceptional local produce, our thriving market and a strong food community who want to eat, share and grow together.
In my next column, I will interview Jp Mc Mahon, a man who feeds so many and still has time to lecture on contemporary art. I am exhausted at the thought and awed by his energy.
Finally, if you know of any food happenings locally, email firstname.lastname@example.org.