Food news with Joe McNamee
Food hits right note It’s all about chewing and choons for the upcoming August bank holiday weekend as The Menu profiles music festivals with serious food offerings on the side. Electric Picnic founder John Reynolds’ new festival, All Together Now (August 3-5), in Curraghmore House, Co Waterford, carries an exceptionally fine strand courtesy of Vanessa Clarke’s Theatre of Food, a longtime festival favourite: Paul Flynn’s Gospel Brunch accompanied by the London Gospel Community Choir; Kevin Thornton’s Food for Life, an exclusive evening dinner in a secret garden; Deisí Food Café showcasing fine Waterford fare from chefs Shane McGrath and Paula Hannigan; and in the Theatre of Food HQ, The Menu himself presents his Grub Circus, an epicurean variety show featuring almost 50 stars of the Irish food world creating food-filled mayhem, including demos, Chef’s Obstacle Course, the Kenwood Food Kwiz, and Kenwood Kids Kookoff, with Irish Michelinstarred chefs Kevin Thornton and Enda McEvoy as team leaders. Grub Circus also tackles serious issues: Meat vs. Vegan; The Food Healers (GIY, gut health, mental health, food as medicine); Food Migrations: Global Food Stories, Culture and Recipes; and tributes to the late, great Myrtle Allen and Anthony Bourdain. www.alltogethernow.ie Beat this The very wonderful Eatyard organisation packs its togs for the seaside, specifically to Beatyard (August 3-5), in Dún Laoghaire, where top noshing opportunities run alongside some exceptionally fine tunes. Edible offers include: boutique wine and cheese vendors; pizza and Prosecco, from The Big Blue Bus; the Crisp Festi- val; and a smashing selection of food trucks. Chef Danni Barry (Clenaghan’s) and Currabinny duo James Kavanagh and William Murray hit the demo stage while Kidsyard, hosted by Imaginosity, will keep little ‘uns entertained and slightly older kids can head to Studioyard. The Brewtonic Craft Beer Bar will ease parched throats singing along to The Jacksons and Orbital amongst others. (www.the-beatyard.com) Rockin’ round the table The Enniscorthy Rockin’ Food Festival (August 3-6) is a family-friendly combo of rock’n’roll, food and entertainment including: an artisan food, drink and crafts market, with over 80 vendors; High in the Sky G&T Experience: wine tasting with Irish antipasti hosted by Susan Boyle who also performs her much lauded show, A Wine Goose Chase; Bean and Goose chocolate truffle making workshop; Norman Harvest Banquet in the medieval surroundings of Enniscorthy Castle; and a cookery marquee line-up featuring chefs and producers, including Paul Hynes, Anthony O’Toole, Brid Torrades, Edward Hayden, Sally Barnes, Macamore Buffulo, Wild About and Regan Organic Farm. (www.rockinfoodfestival.ie) Today’s special The Menu fancies the current staggering growth of veganism will see a corresponding rise in the profile and popularity of vegan food producers, Moodley Manor, both in Ireland and abroad. The Menu himself, though never vegan, was formerly vegetarian for 15 years and while never really interested in meat substitutes, preferring to truly explore the unsurpassable splendour of freshly grown produce and the myriad culinary possibilities therein, he still regularly encounters newbies to the world of veganism or vegetarianism for whom the spirit is willing but the flesh (or lack thereof) is weak and much of the Moodley Manor offering seems perfectly designed to enable that transition, an absolute boon, for example, for those parents whose young teenager has suddenly decided to refuse meat. The range, made entirely from plant-based proteins and natural additions, includes ‘Chick-hun’ strips and Boss Burgers, but it was the ‘Badass Bacon’ that The Menu and No 2 Son sampled. “It doesn’t taste like bacon,” he says, “why don’t we just have bacon?” True, it doesn’t really taste like bacon but the trick is to dislodge that association and just enjoy it for what it is, a guilty pleasure, sweet tomato and soft paprika notes to the fore and a nice, chewy texture that sat well with fresh green salad leaves and mayonnaise. www.moodleymanor.com
Chef Kevin Thornton will present an exclusive evening dinner in a secret garden for ‘All Together Now’.