Just minutes before news of the BSE crisis broke, Food Minister Simon Coveney told reporters that he believed this was a "golden age" for food and drink in Ireland.
Speaking at the launch of the Taste of Dublin Festival at the Iveagh Gardens, the minister said the last four years had been a transformational period.
And he spoke of how the recession had "partly" contributed to the resurgence of the agricultural industry in this country, which previous governments had described as a "twilight" industry.
However, Michelin star chef Kevin Thornton, of Thornton's restaurant in Dublin, said that if this was the "golden age" of Irish food, then "we need to get our act together". He said we must innovate rather than copy the UK and Europe. Meanwhile, renowned British Michelin star chef, Michel Roux Jr, waxed lyrical at the quality of Irish ingredients - including beef.