Monday 17 June 2019

Food news: Do you dream of becoming a food writer?

Katy McGuinness

Glin Castle in Co Limerick
Glin Castle in Co Limerick
Margaret's Eggs
Cava Bodega
Cafe Rua at New Antrim St. in Castlebar

Imen McDonnell and Cliodhna Prendergast are the women behind the highly-regarded Lens and Larder workshops, which focus on food-styling and photography.

The pair are hosting their first Literature and Larder event, with food writers and award-winning authors James Beard, Diana Henry and Elissa Altman, from April 13 to 16 at Glin Castle in Co Limerick.

This intimate retreat will have a primary focus on the art of food writing, and workshop participants will take an in-depth look at recipe development, food as memoir/essay, creative writing and food journalism, as well as touching on podcasting/broadcasting. (Diana Henry's new series of podcasts has so far featured interviews with Yotam Ottolenghi, Rick Stein, Tom Kerridge and Ruby Tandoh, and they are all well worth a listen.)

Though based in the UK, Diana Henry is Irish, and the author of some of the most popular cookbooks of recent years, including Simple and A Bird in the Hand. Her new book, How To Eat a Peach, is out shortly and we have an exclusive interview with her in Weekend magazine next week. Altman is best known for her memoir, Poor Man's Feast.

Each guest will participate in group and one-to-one discussions focused on strengthening food-writing skills and exploring individual food writing goals. On a practical level, participants will gain insider information on the craft of creative food writing, how to write and pitch freelance food stories, and how to grow their platform as a professional food writer. The workshop will also cover the business side of food publishing with New York literary agent Sharon Bowers, and examine cookbook editorial with Ireland's top cookbook editor, Kristin Jensen.

As well as the quality of the instruction, the location is an undoubted draw, and there is always the possibility of bumping into actor Dominic West, who happens to be married to Catherine Fitzgerald, whose family owns the castle.

Guests will take up residence in the castle for three nights, and all meals are included. There will be a drinks reception, three full Irish breakfasts, two lunches and three dinners, including wine and cocktails. As one might expect, the food will be locally sourced using artisan ingredients, and vegetarians will be catered for. Diana promises that there will also be regular trips to the pub. The cost of the course is €2,499 per person, and bookings can be made by emailing



Cafe Rua at New Antrim St. in Castlebar

Cafe Rua at New Antrim Street in Castlebar, Co Mayo has a new spring menu and is open for dinner every Friday. Booking is advised - (094) 9286072, There's also a Wild Garlic Weekend from April 12 to 14.


Margaret's Eggs

Margaret Farrelly is Ireland's largest producer of free-range eggs, and her happy hens have the freedom to roam and forage in the fresh air - Neven is a fan. There's a full range of whole eggs, as well as liquid eggs and whites for those who can't be bothered cracking shells.


Cava Bodega

JP McMahon and Drigin Gaffey's Cava Bodega restaurant in Galway is 10 in May, and there's a full programme of events and giveaways in the run-up, culminating in a grand prize of a holiday for two to Spain. Follow @CavaTapasBar on Facebook and @cavagalway on Twitter for details.

Irish Independent

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