Saturday 17 March 2018

Food news: Irish Food Writer's Guild Social Responsibilty Award

Italian chef Massimo Bottura working in the kitchen of his restaurant 'Osteria Francescana' in Modena, which was named the second best restaurant in the world in 2017
Italian chef Massimo Bottura working in the kitchen of his restaurant 'Osteria Francescana' in Modena, which was named the second best restaurant in the world in 2017
Taste of Cavan
Counter Culture

Katy McGuinness

For all of our seemingly endless obsession with chefs, Massimo Bottura (above) of Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy - the restaurant tops the World's 50 Best list - is one of only a handful of chefs worldwide with truly international profile and influence beyond the bubble of his industry.

During last year's Expo Milano, the chef - familiar to many from the Netflix series Chef's Table - set up a food kitchen in a Milan suburb, and invited 65 chefs from around the world to join him in an exhibition of food sustainability. Fifteen tonnes of food waste was sourced from the exhibition pavilions and turned into 10,000 meals for refugees, the homeless and the working poor.

Bottura is at it again in Rio, where he has joined forces with Gastromotiva, a local non-profit that aims to promote social change through food, to recreate his community kitchen model. Reffetorio Gastromotiva will open for dinner each day and serve those in need, using whatever surplus raw and cooked ingredients are donated to it from the Olympic Village's catering services, sponsors and local shops. Among the chefs joining Bottura are Alain Ducasse, Alex Atala and Joan Roca. Closer to home, the Irish Food Writers' Guild (IFWG) has launched its second annual Social Responsibility award. The award is for an individual, business or other organisation involved in food that is outstanding in the way that it embraces an ethos of social responsibility. The award might go to a community kitchen or garden, to a food education project, or to a food business that donates a portion of its profits back to the community. It could go to an ethical food entrepreneur, a chef or a retail business. It could go to a large-scale national project or a small project based in one community. The important considerations are that the project is well managed and transparent, and that it has a positive relationship with the community in which it operates.

Last year's winner was Bia Food Initiative (BiaFi), which acts and raises awareness on the issue of surplus food as food waste and aims to alleviate food poverty in Ireland. BiaFi facilitates the transfer of surplus food from food-related businesses to charities and provides a socially responsible, environmentally sensitive, business-friendly alternative to wasting good food.

Nominations close on Friday, August 26, and the award will be announced in October. If you would like to nominate yourself or anyone else for the award, email for an entry form. There is no entry fee.



Counter Culture

Ronan Ryan and Pamela Flood's Counter Culture has moved from the Powerscourt Centre to bigger premises a few minutes' walk away on Mercer Street, Dublin 2. There's a new menu too, but the offering remains wholesome, tasty and well-priced, clean but not faddy.


Taste of Cavan

The Taste of Cavan festival continues today at Cavan Equestrian Centre and the town's Market Square. Chef demos, 120 market stalls and plenty of family activities make this food festival one of the most popular in the country. Entry is €5 and free for under-12s.



The latest addition to the booming market for food delivery in Dublin (2, 6 and 8 only) is Piply, affiliated to one of my favourite restaurants, Brother Hubbard. Instead of offering food that makes you hate yourself the morning after, everything on the menu is wholesome and healthy.

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