Aoife McElwain previews the food on offer at Stradbally
Food plays a large part of the Electric Picnic’s line- up, with a new addition this year, writes Aoife McElwain
With performances from Chaka Khan, A Tribe Called Quest, Le Galaxie, Saint Sister, Rusangano Family, Soulé and heaps more, Electric Picnic is shaping up to be sonically delicious this year. But what will we be eating at Stradbally this September?
The site will be once again garnished with firm favourite food stalls such as spud stalwarts Home Fries, Pakistani spice merchants Kinara Kitchen and Virginia O’Gara’s raw, fermented and vegan treats at My Goodness.
For the food- loving festival- goer, The Theatre of Food at Mindfield is once again the place to set up camp. Curated by John and Sally McKenna, The Theatre of Food offers Irish food a stage of its own and offers a platform to the brightest, best and most innovative of the Irish food scene to show off their wares alongside a few international guests.
On the stage this year chefs Paul Flynn and Kevin Thornton will be sharpening their knives on stage, while Dublin 8 pizza kings Gaillot & Gray go head- to- head with their neighbours Assassination Custard.
Bakers Scéal Bakery and Patrick Ryan of Firehouse Bakery will be doing their thing with dough, and Ralph Rolle, the drummer from Chic, will be back in town to talk about his Soul Snacks Cookie Company.
Food lovers’ favourite Takashi Miyazaki of the renowned Japanese take- away in Cork will host a workshop called Love It To The Bone to highlight the potential of fish bones, using trout from Goatsbridge in Kilkenny.
Apart from cookery demonstrations, The Theatre of Food will play host to debates around food, with sustainability being a hot topic.
Irish food legend Susan Steele, the head of the Sea Fisheries Protection Agency, will host a talk called Vitamin Sea outlining the health benefits of sea water and the importance of protecting it. Steele will be back on stage with Fintan O’Toole and JP McMahon to widen the lens on food sustainability, as well as how to protect the sea.
Fake News will be a topic explored by Mindfield, and so The Theatre of Food will look at Fake Food News through a series of debates. Culinary creative Ali Dunworth and chef Hilary O’Hagan- Brennan will take a closer look at the reality of Instagram food, and Niall Toner will host a conversation with food and farming journalist and author Suzanne Campbell, food writer Dee Laffan and chef Gary O’Hanlon.
Kitchen equality will also be on the table through a conversation with Jess Murphy ( head chef at Kai, Galway), Maggie Roche ( head chef at Hugo’s, Dublin) and Darina Allen ( Ballymaloe House) led by Audrey McDonald ( The Cookbook Café, Dublin).
Something new this year is The People’s Picnic hosted by Jacinta Dalton, Olivia Duff, Patrick Ryan and Niall Sabongi, four of Fáilte Ireland’s Food Champions.
The organisers are hoping to create the first ever communal picnic at the Electric Picnic at 4.30pm on Saturday, September 2nd. Tickets, which include an artisan hamper of picnic goodies, can be booked at eventgen. ie/ the- people- s- picnic and are ¤ 20 per person. All proceeds from the event will be donated to Jigsaw, the National Centre for Youth Mental Health in Ireland.
The People’s Picnic will link live via Periscope with The People’s Feast taking place in Aarhus, Denmark, which will happen simultaneously. You can follow The People’s Picnic on Twitter @ EPpeoplespicnic.
Keep up to date with The Theatre of Food happenings online. electricpicnic. ie/ stage/ theatre- food
The Theatre of Food offers Irish food a stage of its own and a platform to the brightest, best and most innovative of the Irish food scene
PHOTOGRAPH: RUTH MEDJBER