The Celtic Cook Off is a fun and informative Cooking Show that showcases the best of West Cork produce cooked simply with each Chef’s own interpretation and ideas. The first Celtic Cook Off took place only last year in 2011 and was held as part of the A Taste of West Cork Festival.
How the Celtic Cook Off works is that there is one Chef representing each of the Celtic Territories: Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Isle of Man, Cornwall and Brittany all of whom come together for one night and compete against each other in a, ‘Ready Steady Cook’ style cook off! The chef's will cook in two groups (3 chef's in each group) and will have 30 minutes to create their masterpieces using West Cork Produce that they will choose from a list of approved West Cork Producers, within an agreed Budget. The chef's may also choose to use a ‘Wild Card’ ingredient from their own region and each competiting chef's is assisted by young aspiring Chefs from the West Cork region, whom have some experience.
The success story of The Celtic Cook 2011
The 2011 Celtic Cook Off, which was a sell-out event and attending by over 200 people, which saw high profile chef’s competing at our hotel West Cork, including the Scottish Chef of the Year, The Isle of Man Chef of the Year, an award winning Cornwall Chef and Ireland’s very own Martin Shanahan, who has his own popular Cooking TV Show on RTE One.
There was a great deal of interest from the Media and prior to the event there was extensive build up in all regional based media including photographs and editorial and preceding the event the event was covered nationally, featuring on RTE’s Nationwide Television show and Internationally on BBC Isle of Man, STV, The Scotsman Newspaper and The Edinburgh Evening News.
Such was the success of the Celtic Cook Off that following the event, one of the competing chef's Roy Brett has featured 3 West Cork Producers; Roaring Water Bay Oysters (Glenmar Shellfish), Rosscarbery Black and White Pudding and Sally Barnes’ Smoked Fish. His restaurant also now makes its own soda bread to a Richard Corrigan recipe daily and he has taken on a new member of staff at Ondine who is from West Cork and has a number of dining guests from West Cork as a result of his visit here.
3 aspiring young West Cork Chefs had the chance to act as commis for the Celtic Chefs, whom returned to their homes praising the great work of the Mercy Heights School’s Cookery competition and they were genuinely impressed with the achievements of the young people who took part.
The event was fully supported by West Cork artisan suppliers and producers, who provided a fantastic line up of stalls at the Celtic Cook Off evening and provided tasters and advice to the audience. Following the event there was extensive and highly positive feedback from the paying public, the local food producers, Fáilte Ireland, the media and all the Chefs involved and we plan to build on that success, further refining and developing the event as a key part of the Festival in future years.
The Key Objectives For Future Celtic Cook Off’s!
The Core Principles of the Celtic Cook Off as an event and all its related activities are based on: Community, Education, Local Produce and the passion for good food.
The event aims to boost Celtic Food Tourism, opening up new opportunities for both promoting artisan produce and for creating fantastic Celtic dishes so that both mutually benefit from this promotion of each other’s Regions, Restaurants, Food Producers and Food Festivals.
The event also will create opportunities for Celtic Producers to extend the export of their products where previously this was difficult to achieve to help create a sustainable Network for Celtic Food Festivals, Chefs and Producers. It also aims to open up opportunities for aspiring Young Chefs from the Celtic Territories to travel and gain new experience, helping some of those young chefs’s where possible in advancing their careers through pairing them with established Chefs.
The 2012 Celtic Cook Off
Building on the success of the 2011 Celtic Cook Off, The West Cork Hotel is proud to announce that the date for 2012 Celtic Cook Off will be: Wednesday 12 September 2012 and will again be taking place here at The West Cork Hotel in Skibbereen.
Chef's are now confirmed for the Celtic Cook Off 2012 and the line up is as follows: Jack Stein from Cornwall and Shaun Hill from Wales, Stephane Delourme from Brittany,Tony Singh from Scotland, Butch Buttery from The Isle of Man and Gary O'Hanlon from Ireland.
A light-hearted atmosphere that does not lose sight of the basic principles of the event and of the Taste of West Cork Festival, the event shall again be hosted by John McKenna, who as Master of Ceremonies for the evening, will conduct the event, talk to the Chefs regarding cooking methods, ingredients and techniques, and interact with the audience and judges.
The competition will be decided by a combination of Audience Participation (based on visual and descriptive by the Chefs) and the guest judges on the tables tasting the food. Judges for the dining tables will consist of some local competition winners, some well known faces from the locality and maybe some from further afield, and two people taken from the audience.
Amongst those well known faces on the judges tables this year will be; Roy Brett, last years Celtic Cook Off winner and Ireland's entrant from last year Martin Shanahan. They will be joined by Tim Anderson, winner of MasterChef 2011, who is Guest of Honour for the Celtic Cook Off this year and whom will also be taking part in the events involving chefs and food producers arranged as part of the whole Celtic Cook Off experience.
Wine Sponsor for the evening, Charles Searson of Searson’s Wines, who will suggest a wine with each Cook Off dish.
Developing the Process
Building on the experience of the 2011 event, and taking into account further ideas and suggestions from a wide range of interested individuals and organisations, we are proposing the following format for the 2012 Event:
- Each competing Chef to bring 1 or 2 producers from their own region with them.
- Tuesday 11 September – Introducing West Cork; lunch at Caherbeg Farm hosted by Avril Allshire of Caherbeg Pork.
- Tuesday 11 September – “A Taste of Ondine” an evening session hosted by the 2011 Celtic
- Cook Off Winner, Roy Brett, who will cook at the West Cork Hotel.
- Wednesday 12 September, 10:30 AM – Morning Producers’ Market in the Ilen Suite at the
- West Cork Hotel where both visiting and West Cork producers will showcase their produce.
- It is here that the Celtic Cook Off Chefs will choose their produce and plan their dish for the evening. Photo calls and interviews can be accommodated at this time.
- Wednesday 12 September, 12:30 PM – Workshop Lunch; producers and Chefs have a chance to experiment with all the produce and share expertise in a practical way by making dishes to feed each other and come up with ideas for dishes that they can take back to their own regions. Charles Searson will be on hand with wine suggestions.
- 3 of the Chefs will then go up to Mercy Heights to help judge the Schools Cookery
- At the same time, 3 of the Chefs will take part in Seminars at the Hotel.
- There will be a break from 3:00 – 6:00 PM during which Chefs can visit Union Hall to pick up fresh fish (if needed) and cars will be on hand if they wish to see any other producers.
- Wednesday 12 September, 7:30 PM – The Celtic Cook Off starts and runs on the same format as 2011.
The event organisers will ensure that press releases are issued to media sources and contacts so that organisations such as tourist boards and food promotion bodies are kept fully informed. But for more information about this event, please contact Neil Grant, General Manager on 00 353 (0)87 972 5275 or by Email:
About A Taste of West Cork Food Festival
Since it began in 2004, A Taste of West Cork Food Festival has grown from strength to strength and not just in terms of numbers of visitors, exhibitors and events, but also in terms of its reputation throughout the region and country. The word is spreading and the Food Festival has attracted people from all over Ireland, the UK and further afield.
The purpose of A Taste of West Cork has remained the same: we are celebrating the quality and diversity of our local restaurants, our talented and innovative chefs, the superb independent food producers and the many artisans that abound in West Cork.
The Festival is organised by a voluntary committee of local people, and is supported by the Skibbereen Business Association, with kind sponsorship from local and national organisations and suppliers.
The 2012 Festival will run from Monday 10 September to Sunday 16 September. Full details of the 2011 programme and all news updates can be found on the Festival web site at: www.atasteofwestcork.com