Thursday 26 April 2018

Five Irish producers amaze at prestigious awards

Take a look at the wonderful producers honoured at the annual EirGrid Euro Toques Awards for their outstanding products...

Ballyhoura Mushrooms
Mick Healy of Wild Irish Game has been in the business for over 20 years
Wade Murphy, Toby Simmonds, Mick Healy, Marjorie O’Malley, Mark Cribben, Ed Hick and Evan Doyle.
Ed Hicks of J Hicks and Sons
Marjorie and Kieran O'Malley of Achill Island Sea Salt, Keel, Achill Island, Co.Mayo. Pic: Michael McLaughlin
Patricia Murphy

Patricia Murphy

Five Irish producers were awarded a top honour at the EirGrid Euro-Toques Awards, where their products were recognised as the best in the country.

Over 150 of Ireland’s top chefs voted for the exotic farm and dairy products ahead of the 18th annual ceremony which took place in Dublin’s Residence Club yesterday.

The artisan products were judged on their taste and flavour, quality of ingredients, integrity of production and their commitment to using wholesome natural ingredients.

 “All five winners are true champions of Irish produce and deserved recipients of these coveted awards,” said Euro Toques Commissioner General Wade Murphy.

“All of these winners have been innovative in preserving traditional techniques and bringing their products to market, ensuring that quality traditional farming and produce does not just survive, but it thrives,” he said.

Take a closer look at the producers honoured at the prestigious awards ceremony.

Wade Murphy, Toby Simmonds, Mick Healy, Marjorie O’Malley, Mark Cribben, Ed Hick and Evan Doyle.

Toby Simmonds and Johnny Lynch

Toonsbridge Dairy in Co. Cork


One might not expect to lay eyes on water buffalo in Co. Cork, but in 2009 Real Olive Company owner Tony Simmonds joined forces with his friend and local famrer Johnny Lynch and cooked up a plan to produce great quality and authentic mozzarella. It wasn’t long before 31 water buffalo were on the boat from Italy heading towards Cork. Last year, they joined forces with Franco Picciulo, who strung from a family of cheesemakers, to help perfect the process to much success.

“The last six months have been really great for us. We have a bit more of an idea about the whole thing than we did at the start,” laughed Toby Simmonds speaking of yesterday’s awards.

“We’re striving towards making the best quality product we can.”

Ed Hick

J Hick & Sons

ed hick.jpg
Ed Hicks of J Hicks and Sons

A fourth generation butcher, J. Hick and Sons was commended at yesterday’s ceremony for their stunning curing and smoking techniques including those used in creating stunning venison, which is both vault cured and smoked by Ed. Hick.

The butcher has worked hard to keep hold of the traditional methods used by the business since the start making his products a step above the rest.

Lucy Deegan and Mark Cribben

Ballyhoura Mushrooms

Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms

Food scientist Mark Cribben and microbiologist Lucy Deegan became sick of the poor quality mushrooms available in their local supermarkets and kicked off their unique business on the Ballyhoura Mountian in Co. Cork.

Now, they supply restaurants throughout the country with a wide variety of mushrooms including shiitake, oyster, eryngii and velvet pioppinos. Because the mushroom spores are inoculated in various local woods, different species of trees, light variation and levels of carbon all make for different distinct flavours.

“I got home from the awards at 11pm last night and it was straight back into the hamster wheel, picking mushrooms and arranging deliveries,” said Mark.

“There’s no rest for the wicked and we’re more than thrilled to get the recogniton,” he said.

Kieran, Marjorie and Sean O’Malley

Achill Island Sea Salt

Achill Sea Salt1.jpg
Marjorie and Kieran O'Malley of Achill Island Sea Salt, Keel, Achill Island, Co.Mayo

Founded in 2013, this spanking new business revived the old tradition of salt production on Achill Island by producing sea salt from the Atlantic waters of Keel Bay.

The family kitchen was the hub of the business at the beginning with the family lugging up buckets of water and implementing traditional methods of evaporation to get the right product.

Now, they have relocated to a pilot plant in Keel in order to increase production due to the high demand from chefs around the country.

Mick Healy

Wild Irish Game LTD

Mick Healy of Wild Irish Game has been in the business for over 20 years

Since 1997, Mick Healy has been processing all species of wild game and has long been a favourite of restauranteurs and chefs around the country. Wild Game Ltd offers the widest selection of quality game in the country supplying the likes of pheasant, mallard, teal, snipe, partridge, rabbit, venison and Sika deer from their Wicklow base.

“We’re very pleased to get recognition from the industry after all these years. I set up this business over 20 years ago and it became a full time job 17 years ago so we’re delighted with the award,” said Mick.


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