News: Food On The Edge 2017
Time to get the diaries out and book a room, because the first speakers for the third Food on the Edge symposium, held in Galway from October 9-10, have been announced.
This year's star turns include Magnus Nilsson of Fäviken in Åre, Sweden, and - whatever one thinks about the wisdom of assessing chefs based on gender - the 2017 World's Best Female Chef, Ana Ros (pictured above).
Ros owns the Hisa Franko restaurant in Slovenia, and will be joined at FOTE by the 2016 World's Best Female Chef, Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn in San Francisco. The preliminary line-up indicates that efforts have been made to secure more women speakers than in previous years, which can only be a good thing.
Nilsson is the authority on Nordic cuisine (he wrote the encyclopaedic Nordic Cookbook), which is why there is never any shortage of visitors prepared to make the trains-planes-and- automobiles journey to his remote restaurant, located more than 500km north of Stockholm.
JP McMahon, the Michelin-starred chef of Aniar in Galway, says that Ireland has "great lessons to learn from the Nordic countries" in terms of their food culture and food story. McMahon is at the forefront of a movement to establish a distinctive Irish food culture that will have an impact on tourism in Ireland and is a champion of local artisan producers, whose products are integrated into the ever-changing menus at Aniar.
One of the most popular features of FOTE is a daily lunchtime showcase that allows Irish artisan producers to introduce their food products to chefs, many of them Michelin-starred, from all over the world.
The theme of the 2017 symposium is 'Action and Reaction', prompted by recurring themes at the previous symposia. Kitchen culture, gender balance and the responsibilities of chefs in society are discussions that keep recurring, and it will be interesting to see whether this year's gathering will generate something concrete beyond the hand-wringing and heart- searching that's been evident in previous years.
For anyone involved in food in Ireland, FOTE has become essential, not least because there's plenty of craic and good food involved, and it's never any hardship to spend a few days in Galway, where there are so many great places to eat. Wise delegates will make sure to book their tables at Galway's hotspots - Aniar, Loam and Kai - well in advance. See foodontheedge.ie
Finnish-born Kirsti O'Kelly is the woman behind the Silver Darlings range of boneless wild Atlantic herring that are salt-cured, pickled and marinated and available in a range of different flavours. An all-natural Irish artisan product - and utterly delicious - its Nordic sensibility is right on trend. silverdarlings.ie
Outlaw of the seas
Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Cornwall is the only fish restaurant in the world with two Michelin stars. The recipes in Outlaw's new book, Home Kitchen, including mussels and clams with wine, are - thankfully - more achievable in the domestic kitchen. Published by Quadrille, £20, out on April 6.
Go for tacos
On Stoney Street, beside London's buzzing Borough Market, Sam and Eddie Hart have opened El Pastor, a noisy, no-bookings, good-value taquería that makes its tacos from scratch in house each day. Don't miss the beef short rib. tacoselpastor.co.uk