The Good Food Ireland Awards in association with Kerrygold took place recently following an all-day food tourism conference in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin. An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, presented the awards, which have now become the most coveted honour in the world of food and tourism.
RTE’s Kathryn Thomas hosted the awards ceremony, which was attended by 350 guests from agri food and tourism hospitality businesses. This was a unique gathering of individuals all determined to put Ireland on the global stage for food lovers.
Margaret Jeffares, Founder of Good Food Ireland, said: “We are a committed group that want to change Ireland’s food reputation by giving the visitor one trusted guarantee for the very best food experience that builds a culinary picture of our country. Tonight the award winners have succeeded in delivering this Good Food Ireland experience to supreme levels of excellence.”
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, said: “I am delighted to present these awards, which recognise the efforts of those who are producing, retailing and cooking food to the highest quality and standard. Whether it is in restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, markets or accommodation, customers and visitors can have a truly memorable food experience because of the wonderful produce and talent we have in this country. These awards help to make Ireland synonymous with good food and this reputation is vital to supporting our €9 billion of food and drink exports and the 160,000 jobs in the agri-food industry.”
Mount Juliet, Co Kilkenny, swept the boards taking the Good Food Ireland Supreme Award sponsored by Kerrygold, the Restaurant of the Year Award, and the Outstanding Place to Stay Award. Other winners on the night included Inch House Traditional Black Pudding for Producer of the Year, and URRU Culinary Store in Bandon for Local Food Shop of the Year, while The Oarsman won the Food Lover’s Choice Award, which was voted on by the public. Newforge House, Co Armagh, won Culinary Haven of the Year and Toacana Restaurant in Dublin won the newly introduced Grow It Yourself Award.
“As proud owners of Kerrygold, we are delighted to sponsor the Good Food Ireland Awards and support the work they do in in putting Ireland on the world stage as a tourism destination for people who love great food,” said Kevin Lane, Chief Executive of Kerrygold, IDB. “This year’s winners are a shining example of what is great about the Irish food industry. They represent quality, dedication and passion – essential attributes needed to produce world-class products and services that can be enjoyed by consumers at home and abroad.”
Earlier in the day, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar TD, launched the Good Food Ireland Prepaid MasterCard, a multifunctional card, a Food Travel Passport and whole new way to experience Ireland like never before. It offers one-on-one connections with over 600 of the very best food places, culinary experts and artisan food producers and is a cherished passport where the user will immediately become part of the Good Food Ireland family.
Speaking at the launch at the Good Food Ireland Conference, Minister Varadkar said: “Good Food Ireland and its members have made a significant contribution to Ireland’s growing reputation as a great destination for food. Its members are committed to using local produce wherever possible, and providing a top-class service to visitors. This brings clear benefits to tourists, but it is also vital for the tourism industry and for sustaining and creating jobs.”