Posts Tagged ‘Food Summer School’

When I received my invitation in mid-August to The Food Summer School being hosted by the Taste Council and Bord Bia – I, of course, was delighted, and presumed it was because we produce free-range pork!  I was wrong, which I only discovered on arrival at The Brooklodge Hotel on Tuesday last!  It was because I write this blog!

A nice compliment! 🙂

The drive to Wicklow from here took about 2 hours across all sorts of by ways and highways.  It does test my geographical knowledge when passing through villages… trying to remember school geography and which county I am in!  Bless Mrs. Sat Nav but she can be a nuisance at times!  A couple of noteworthy events on the drive –

I never knew there was a village in Ireland called Arles – which of course, triggered thoughts of Vincent Van Gogh!  However, local knowledge tells me that in Ireland it is pronounced Aar Less!

The colours of the Wicklow mountains were amazing – all purples and pinks.  I had big plans to stop on the way home to take photos, but of course, it was too late when I was leaving to do that!  Sorry!

There was a big turnout for the Summer School (I think I read somewhere that there were 180 people).  I would have guessed more!

The day was divided into three individual workshops, each having a chair and panel discussing the relevant topic:

  1. Realising the Potential of the Traditional Irish Farm
  2. The Artisan and the Education System
  3. The Artisan and Brand Ireland

Without going into the total detail, there were some highlights and lowlights for me.

The Highs

It was lovely to meet some old friends and make new friends!  I had a lovely catch up over lunch with Aoife of The Daily Spud… while we enjoyed a giggle about food photography!

pulled pork bap

Other bloggers who were there – Wendy of My Chef at Home, Keith of Bia Beag, Ollie of Oliver Moore’s Blogspot.  There were so many other people that I got to meet and chat with too, but it would be completely boring if I was to list them all!  I always find at events like this, it is so difficult to chat to everyone.  I’d rather just spend some good time with a few people, rather than race about having only half conversations!  So apologies to those I didn’t get to chat with!

Enjoying a moment at the Food Summer SchoolWendy White Kavanagh, My Chef at Home, Helen Gee, G’s Gourmet Jams and Oonagh O’Mahony, Irish Farmers Monthly enjoying a moment.

Attendees at summer school

The discussions at the workshops were enjoyable…. some interesting facts and truths were learned.

  • So many farms are operating at a loss, and are only surviving because of subsidies!
  • I thought it was wonderful that Ruth Hegarty from Eurotoques openly stated that their members need to get to grips with ‘children’s menus’ and agreed they were a disgrace!
  • There were two quotes of the day.  Darina Allen’s “the future is our past, if we just recognised it!” and from David at Glebe Brethan…”you can call me what you like, but basically I am a farmer who is just carrying on doing what my grandparents before me did!”

The Lows

  • There seemed to have been mainly cheese and fish producers in attendance!  Where were the rest of the producers?
  • Sheila from Sligo bravely brought up the subject of allowing GMO’s into the country – and I felt the panel completely skirted around giving an answer!
  • It would have been good if there had been a little bit more open discussion involving the ‘audience’.

And the major low on a personal level, was that I wasn’t able to stay on for the dinner – from the photos I’ve seen it looked amazing!

a selection of wicklow produce

I do hope this becomes an annual event, it is a good way to share knowledge.

Here’s a link to the video link.

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