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Food oscars

If you failed to rise to the challenge that was last Monday's Valentine's Day, if you were the person who arrived home with a last-minute purchase of a box of choccies or a bunch of wilting carnations you picked up at petrol station, then read on. Herein lies your saviour.

Take our voucher below and, courtesy of LIFE magazine, wine and dine your loved one to within an inch of her life in one of Ireland's top restaurants, and all at a 20 per cent discount. So, if she's a been quietly simmering all week because you thought a pair of crotchless knickers were a funny idea, or if you're still smarting from where the edible G-string hit you in the face, let us offer you the solution, with a far more tasteful way of showing your love: celebrate, instead, with discount dining in some of Ireland's top eating establishments.

Our fantastic Dine Out Voucher offers 20 per cent off food, and selected Santa Rita wines, in more than 100 of Ireland's top restaurants, including The Side Door restaurant in Cavan, Milano in Ennis, Co Clare and Galway, Eco Douglas restaurant in Cork, Bay Food and Wine in Clontarf, Dublin, and the Indian Prince in Portlaoise, Co Laois.

It's all in honour of the return of the food event of the year; the Santa Rita/LIFE Magazine Irish Restaurant Awards, the Oscars of the food world, back this year and bigger than ever.

Eating could possibly be the way to steer our country out of the mess it's in. The latest research from Bord Bia has revealed that almost half the population eats out at least once a month. Food and drink exports may well be Ireland's salvation; amazingly, exports of food and drink grew by 11 per cent last year, and things are only set to get better, with almost all of these companies expecting to see further increases in their exports this year.

To give you some food for thought, check out our recipes on page 40, where the winner of Best Celebrity Chef in last year's Santa Rita/LIFE Magazine Irish Restaurant Awards, Neven Maguire, of MacNean House in Co Cavan, shows you how to serve up a fresh, three-course dinner for spring.

Entertaining, hosting, feeding others. It's what we're good at, what we love doing. And, all over the country, people with a passion for food are conveying this love to others, and running small but sustainable businesses producing high-quality foods. We want to identify these people and hear their stories.

This year, LIFE magazine's own special award, as voted for exclusively by our readers, will be for Ireland's Local Food Hero. You can nominate your Local Food Hero using the coupon on the opposite page. Your nomination can be anyone from your granny, to your local butcher, baker, a farmer, or your local cafe owner; basically anyone who has inspired you personally where food is concerned.

You will also automatically be entered to win a fabulous three-day trip for two to Bordeaux. One winner will also be chosen each week over the next three weeks to win a VIP trip to the Santa Rita/LIFE magazine Irish Restaurant Awards, which includes two tickets, overnight accommodation in the Burlington and a five-star meal prepared by last year's award-winning chefs.

This is also your chance to be a part of the awards themselves by filling in the nomination form on the page opposite. This form allows you to be part of Ireland's most celebrated and comprehensive restaurant awards.

Taking part is easy; just select the category that most appeals to you -- Best Chef, Best Customer Service, Best Casual Dining, Best Gastropub, Best Hotel Restaurant and Best Restaurant -- and then make your nomination. There is only one nomination per form in those categories, but you can also nominate the LIFE magazine Local Food Hero.

On Sunday, April 24, we will announce the shortlist of six finalists as selected by the LIFE magazine judging panel, and LIFE readers can vote for their favourite. The winner will be crowned Ireland's Local Food Hero.


The Santa Rita/LIFE magazine Irish Restaurant Awards are the largest and most coveted awards in the Irish restaurant industry. This year's awards will be presented on May 25, 2011, at the Burlington Hotel, Dublin. This year's event will see Danny Millar of Balloo House, Garrett Byrne of Campagne, Seamus Commons of Knockranny House, and Paul Flynn of The Tannery prepare a sumptuous meal for 800 guests at the glittering black-tie event -- a fantastic celebration of all that is great in the Irish restaurant industry.

Sunday Indo Life Magazine