THE MENU

Food news with Joe McNamee

Irish Examiner - Weekend - - Food - Send food news/events/ prod­ucts to the­menu@ex­am­iner.ie

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

Pic­ture: Roger Kenny

Chef Kevin Thorn­ton will present an exclusive evening din­ner in a se­cret gar­den for ‘All To­gether Now’.

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