I’ve just spent a while scanning through the tweets from the day that contained the hashtag #irishfoodies – lots of twitpics there that will give you a good idea of the day. We started off with David Owen from Bord Bia explaining about the Quality Mark and Irish pork. I thought this was going to be a welcome to the day, but it turned into a salespitch as he continued to speak. At this point I was wondering if the whole day would be like that, but the rest of it was great fun and really informative.
Lorraine Fitzmaurice from Blazing Salads who was up next, showed us a tasty soda bread made with spelt flour and a vegan Miso Pesto pasta dish. These were tasty, but I felt the miso flavour in the pesto could have been stronger and played on more. Next up was Pat Conway, a super enthusiastic butcher that showed us how the different cuts of pork are carved from the animal and how they are best prepared for cooking.
Being an idiot, I’d skipped breakfast so I was starting to get hungry at this point, and Lorraine’s tasters hadn’t helped. My resolve was soon to be put to the test as Maira Dufficy whipped up 4 different pork dishes in no time, each looking nicer than the next. We were given a copy of the recipes to take home, so no doubt we’ll being trying them out soon!
Bord Bia has a lovely set up in the demo kitchen with a controllable camera positioned over the demonstrators head so everyone can see exactly what is happening. They also have a very decent real kitchen just behind it, who were working hard all morning, not only to help clear up after the presenters, but also to cook enough versions of the demonstrated dishes to feed all 30 hungry bloggers. Lunch was delicious and everyone at my table cleared their plates.
After lunch, the rest of the day was devoted to Food Styling and Photography with Erica Ryan and Jocasta Clarke. I really enjoyed this session, especially when we were told to build up a collection of different plates so that we had plenty of choice when styling the photo to suit the food – I think that means I get to go shopping!
Overall it was a fun day and I learned a lot. While a little sale-pitchy at times, I think the organisers from Bord Bia were willing to have a two-way discussion with any bloggers that approached them, and they acknowledged their frustration that over a year after the problems were resolved, searching for “Irish Pork” brings up pages and pages of negative results – hardly the way we’d like to see it being advertised around the world!
Thanks to Donal Skehan, Bord Bia, the speakers and demonstrators for a very fun and worthwhile day.