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TV Jamie is joining our chefs for Taste 2012

WE can't count on the summer to be hot, but we can certainly count on it to taste good thanks to Taste of Dublin 2012, which is set to take place in the Iveagh Gardens in June.

The four-day festival will feature many of Ireland's Michelin Star chefs and top TV cooks, as well as a mouth-watering selection of restaurants and produce.

The festival, now in its seventh year, is seen as the definitive Irish culinary showcase. It will include the creme de la creme of home-grown talent, such as Catherine Fulvio, Neven Maguire, Rachel Allen and Clodagh McKenna.

Visitors can also delight in samplings from the exemplars of Dublin restaurants, such as Pichet, L'Ecrivain, Chapter One and Bon Appetit.

Rachel Kelly, event director for Taste of Dublin 2012 explained to the Herald that the festival is not just an event for seasoned foodies, now that food dominates pop culture.

"If you look through the TV, it's all about food. Food is the new rock and roll. We are trying to emulate what they're doing in restaurants at home," she said.

"Besides the food, Taste is a great social event," she said. "And at the end of day, no matter how bad things are, Irish people love to socialise and get out and meet people, and restaurants are great for that."

Michelin Star chef Ross Lewis of Chapter One agrees that the restaurant culture of Ireland has changed.

"A few years ago, it would have been out of the ordinary for a 25-year-old to go out and socialise in a restaurant," he said.

"People are going to restaurants now instead of pubs, which has probably helped us to survive the recession.

"I'm not saying people don't go to pubs, they go afterwards of course. But people are including restaurants in their socialising."

As well as supporting the best of Irish, Taste of Dublin 2012 will include international talents. Jamie Oliver will officially open the festival and give a live cookery demonstration. He said he "can't wait" to come over to sample Irish talents.

"Taste of Dublin is a fabulous platform for showcasing the best in Irish produce and I can't wait to kick off the summer in true Irish style," he said.

hnews@herald.ie


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