Life Food News

Sunday 26 May 2019

Food news: delicious Donegal

Katy McGuinness

Chef Brian McDermott. Photo: Declan O'Doherty
Chef Brian McDermott. Photo: Declan O'Doherty
Former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh
Rachel Allen

The Taste of Donegal Food Festival takes place in Donegal Town next weekend, from August 24-26.

Amongst the chefs appearing are homegrown Irish celebrities including Catherine Fulvio of Ballyknocken House, Neven Maguire (in his capacity as ambassador of the Home Economics Teachers of Ireland) and Kevin Dundon, who works as a brand ambassador with SuperValu.

Donegal natives Gary O'Hanlon, Kwanghi Chan, and Ciaran Sweeney of the wonderful Forest & Marcy in Dublin - where his signature bacon and cabbage dish with fermented potato bread (inspired by his granny) is unmissable - are also participating.

It would have been good to see a better gender balance in the line-up, but perhaps that is something the organisers could address next year.

Chef Brian McDermott (pictured above) - who bills himself as the 'No Salt Chef' and will be a familiar face from his appearances on RTE's Today Show and as an Ulster Food Hero - is one of the mainstays of the festival and appears several times over the course of the weekend. He has recently restored and reopened The Foyle Hotel in Moville.

Kwanghi Chan, meanwhile, is another celebrity chef who is going from strength to strength with his ChanChan range of sauces and condiments. His latest collaboration with the Chopped chain of salad bars is the ChanChan Chicken Bowl, featuring the No 1 Spice Bag Seasoning and Hong Kong Street Sauce, available for a limited time. The bowl costs €7.50, with a wrap version available for €7.

Gary O'Hanlon - well-known from his appearances on The Restaurant and Operation Transformation - was the chef at Viewmount House in Longford for many years. He now works with high-end catering operator Baxter Storey.

To get the weekend off to a good start, there's a Gin Masterclass with former World Cocktail Champion, Deirdre Byrne, and distiller, Sean Hanrahan, from the Sliabh Llag distillery on August 24 at 9pm, with a firework display to follow.

The festival features family entertainment each day. Day passes are priced at €8 per adult and €1 per child, with a three-day weekend pass costing €18. See

For anyone planning to head North for a last foray before school starts, there are a number of suggested itineraries on, including North By Northwest, which focuses on the Northern Headlands region, Wild Sea and Sky, Northwest Wanderings, and Find True North, all of which incorporate suggestions for good places to eat along the way.



Cake for a good cause

Former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh

Lidl has partnered with Jigsaw, the National Centre for Youth Mental Health, to launch The Bakery - a pop-up bakery that will travel between Dublin, Limerick and Cork from Aug 31-Sep 9 selling baked goods to raise funds for the charity. See

Kildare gets cooking

Rachel Allen

The inaugural Taste of Kildare kicks off tomorrow at The K Club, with a host of Irish food producers and personalities, including Rachel Allen and Martin Shanahan. Expect demonstrations, tastings, live music, craft beer - as well as the hurling final live on the big screen.

Savour & sustain


A selection of Killowen Farm's Greek-style natural yogurt flavours are now available in sustainable, recyclable glass jars. The Wexford-based farm's 500g sharing jars are another step towards reducing their carbon footprint and are available from SuperValu stores nationwide, as well as select independent stores.

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