Food on the Edge, October 2017 

This October, My Dad’s journey with his recent award winning Smoked Black Pudding, brought him to the West of Ireland. Just outside of Galway City, Hugh and Caroline rubbed shoulders with the best in the business at the annual culinary event “Food on the Edge”.

This much-anticipated event by chef’s worldwide, provided Hugh with a platform to interact with chefs from all around the globe! Intimidation and admiration are two feelings that come to mind when I think back to sharing our story and products with the likes of Chef Ashley Palmer Watts or Chef JP McMahon, Food on the Edge event founder.

Accustom to Galway’s fine climate, the event took place over a rainy Monday and Tuesday. The day’s consisted of Irelands top artisanal food producers, just “edging” to be noticed by these prestigious chef’s. Under the umbrella of the well-renowned food distributor La Rousse, we interacted and shared food stories of different backgrounds and cultures. With La Rousse and their team of talent, backing us all the way combined with a string of other artisanal food producers, our 3 days in the foodie saturated tent was one we will not easily forget. 

Throughout the day, the chef’s and food connoisseurs of this world mingled in and out of the food market where us food producers had our product’s rearing to go. I would be a rich woman if I could sell to you in a jar, the aroma’s that filled the tent that day. Fresh Bla bread from Waterford, mouth-watering Gubbeen Cheese from West Cork, the sweetest Bacon from Tipperary and of course the smoked black pudding from Co. Meath – to name but a few.

The essence of this event however was centred around the talks given by the various chefs, discussing important topics that effect chef’s directly and then those who are left on the other side of the dinner table. These talks were filled with thought provoking messages that chef’s such as JP McMahon delivered with nothing but passion and urgency. Food education was at the heart of many of these talk’s, where Chef McMahon in particular pleaded with his audience not to forget or underestimate the “back to basics” concept. To pass the message onto our children that, food is something to be appreciated, specifically in its production and farming stages.

Hugh and Chef JP McMahon

Hugh and Chef JP McMahon

Food on the Edge, JP McMahon’s speech and all the other food producers alongside us in in that drenched tent got me thinking. We were surrounded by people who all had one thing in common. Their love and passion for food. From farm to fork, these people are obsessed with every detail of the life cycle, every story associated with its origins, every method of production and processing and every flavour node the ingredients play upon once tasted. We all got up those two mornings to stand in a rainy tent to preach, listen and talk about food. It may not seem appealing to the on looker, but for producers like Hugh at this event, it is here that our voices and stories get heard and are appreciated. As in this day and age, the space for the authentic, specialised producer is getting smaller and smaller and it is becoming harder and harder to survive.

In my next blog, I go deeper into this extremely worrying topic and discuss both the true value behind Provenance, Heritage and Artisan and the slander these terms are now receiving.

See – “lets talk heritage, provenance and artisan”

Blog Editor : Anne-Marie Maguire

Featured Producers in this post associated with La Rousse Foods.

Lough Neagh Eels
Toons Bridge Dairy
Tribal Foods

Redbank Food Company
Cocoa Atelier
Cooleeney Cheese
Crowes Farm
Firehouse bakery