Feb 19, 2014
Terri Judson

Smith, Pok team up during Taste of the Beach

Smith, Pok team up during Taste of the Beach

By on February 18, 2014

Smith and Pok

The Outer Banks Restaurant Association announces the appearance of nationally known Chef Michael Smith at the 2014 Taste of the Beach event weekend, running March 13 through 16.

Smith is an award-winning chef and owner of two highly successful Kansas City restaurants, as well as appearances on the Food Network and Cooking Channel.

Along with appearances and competitive event judging, he will be participating in the Tapas Fusion Night dinner on Friday, March 14 at the Outer Banks Brewing Station.

It will be a Tapas style, multi-choice, multi-course dinner event with Brewing Station’s own award-winning beer pairings.

Smith’s co-chef will be Outer Banks’ own award-winning Chef Phongrit ‘Pok’ Choeichom. Pok is consistently one of the top-rated chefs on the Outer Banks and has recently been featured on Guy Fieri’s ‘Diners, Drive-ins and Dives’.

Smith’s newest venture is a duo of restaurants under one roof at 1900 Main Street in Kansas City’s Crossroads Art District. ‘Michael Smith’ and ‘Extra Virgin’ may share an address, but not much else.

‘Michael Smith’ is the epitome of fine dining and high class with a 500+ Wine Spectator awarded cellar, while ‘Extra Virgin’ is a trendy Mediterranean tapas restaurant with one of the city’s coolest al fresco dining areas and a spectacular bar that complements the adventurous menu.

Smith is still winning awards, with 2011 Pitch Magazine Readers Choice “Best Chef Kansas City” and now two years in a row, KC Magazine “Best Chef” 2012 and 2013.

He not only owns and operates two of Kansas City’s best restaurants, he has a busy schedule of guest chef appearances around the country and abroad and is sought after by the media as an industry spokesperson.

This kind of chef collaboration is a Taste of the Beach first. Smith and Pok, along with Brewing Station owners Eric Reese and Aubrey Davis, will also be doing an after-dinner “Meet the Chefs” reception party and Cava Celebration.

The creation of the Outer Banks Brewing Station and it’s accolade as America’s first wind-powered brew pub is an occasion on it’s own to meet and talk with this dynamic team of creatives.

The Outer Banks Restaurant Association, a non-profit organization, has been hosting the Taste of the Beach since the early 1980’s and in 2008 expanded to the current 4-day multi-event format.

Growing it from humble beginnings to become one of the most unique and loved food festivals on the East Coast.

The event was named one of the top 10 Seafood and Wine Festivals in 2010 by Coastal Living Magazine and continues to push the limits of what a food festival is all about with the creation of new events and themes each year.

Tickets to these events as well as over 70 others are available for sale now at the website www.obxtasteofthebeach.com.

All centered around St. Patrick’s Day weekend each year, the festival also highlights the Irish holiday with parties and celebrations as well as complementing the longest-standing and one of the largest parades of its kind in the nation, the Kelly’s Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

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Feb 19, 2014
Tina George

Plans for Major Orkney Food Festival Unveiled

Plans for a major Orkney food festival, aimed at celebrating and rewarding the very best of local produce, have been unveiled.


Tue, 18 Feb 2014


Orkney Food, Drink and Crafts

The festival – expected to be launched around the end of March – will run over several months, with Orkney residents and visitors to the County voting for their favourite food, drink or business, ahead of a gala awards event later this year.

Organised by Orkney Food and Drink, the festival will be supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Orkney Islands Council and the LEADER programme.

“Whilst Orkney’s food and drink already enjoys an excellent reputation, there’s always more that can be done to promote produce from the County,” said Edgar Balfour, development manager for Orkney food, drink and crafts. “There have been food festivals in the past, but we wanted to take a fresh approach and re-energise the format.

“Rather than have, say, a week-long food festival, we decided it would be more effective to run the event over a longer period, tying in with key dates on the Orkney calendar – from the Folk Festival and St Magnus Festival, to the Science Festival and the agricultural shows. Having a food and drink presence at important local events will help get the message about our wonderful produce out to as wide an audience as possible.”

Nominations for a range of food and drink awards will open at the end of next month, with people encouraged to vote for their favourite product or business, either by post or via the new Orkney Food and Drink website – www.orkneyfoodanddrink.com – which is currently under development.

“We’re particularly keen for visitors to Orkney to nominate local businesses and products for the awards and will include a voting form within a special feature in this year’s edition of tourist newspaper, The Islander. We’ll also be distributing voting forms to food and drink businesses to allow customers to give instant feedback. In addition, people will be able to vote online at our new website, even before it goes fully live.”

According to Mr Balfour, the festival will culminate in a prestigious awards ceremony at the end of the summer.

“We’re at a very early stage in the planning for the festival and the awards ceremony, but our desire is to make this an exciting, fun and valuable event, both for lovers of fine food and drink and our local producers. Ultimately, the aim is to further boost the profile of the fantastic produce we have here in Orkney and ensure the islands’ reputation for quality and variety is strengthened.”

To take part in the food festival and qualify for entry into the awards, businesses will have to be members of Orkney Food and Drink.  Further details on the food festival and awards process will be released over the coming weeks.

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Feb 19, 2014
Terri Judson

Sip and Savor Cannon Beach this March

Savor Cannon Beach

Savor Cannon Beach

Attendees enjoy wine tastings at the annual Savor Cannon Beach wine festival.

Posted: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 8:00 am

Sip and Savor Cannon Beach this March


CANNON BEACH — Wine enthusiasts from around the Northwest and across the country are headed to Cannon Beach March 6 to 9 for Savor Cannon Beach, the annual festival celebrating Pacific Northwest wines and regional cuisine. Advance tickets are on sale now.

The four-day festival includes six wine tasting events, including a wine walk featuring approximately 40 Northwest wineries pouring tastings at shops, galleries, restaurants and hotels in Cannon Beach. The Saturday wine walk includes wineries representing the major wine growing regions in Oregon and Washington, including the Willamette Valley, eastern Washington and southern Oregon. A Willamette Valley Winemakers Showcase will present several boutique producers at the Cannon Beach Community Hall during the wine walk.

Other festival wine tasting events focus on specific themes. At the Battle of the Blends, festival participants taste eight select Northwest red and white wine blends, then vote to choose the top wines. Do you know your cinsault (pronounced san-soh)? In the wine tasting event by that name, participants taste some lesser-known grape varietals grown in the Pacific Northwest with wine writer Andy Perdue, founder of Wine Press Northwest Magazine.

Savor Cannon Beach kicks off Thursday, March 6 with the Thursday Night Throwdown, where six different wine varietals go head to head in a battle. Can you tell a cabernet from a merlot? Festival participants can also test their palates in a blind tasting event titled “What Varietal Is It?” The event wraps up with a Sunday morning tasting of sparkling wines paired with brunch bites.

“Our wine tasting events are designed to be both educational and fun,” said Gary Hayes, festival director and founder. “We carefully select wines that showcase the bounty of the various Pacific Northwest wine regions, and many of the wines served are recent award winners or have received critical acclaim. The intimate size of our tasting events and our unique format makes the festival popular with serious wine enthusiasts.”

Most of the tasting events at Savor Cannon Beach are limited to 100 tickets, except for the wine walk, which includes 500 participants.

Savor Cannon Beach is not like most wine festivals, which are commonly in a trade show format. Without a single large venue in Cannon Beach to host that type of event, Savor Cannon Beach has become a community-wide celebration. Restaurants, shops, galleries and hotels host their own special tastings and other events during the festival. Free- or low-cost tastings of chocolates, olive oils, finishing salts and locally distilled spirits are among the events hosted by local businesses. Cannon Beach art galleries present special events and some feature wine and food-related art. Cannon Beach Treasure Company will host an exhibit titled “Savor the Sea,” featuring artifacts recovered from sunken and buried treasure sites including a 215-year-old British East India Company rum bottle that survived a shipwreck with its contents still intact. Two were recovered and one will be for sale.

This will be the fifth annual Savor Cannon Beach festival, though the wine walk was started several years before that as a fundraiser for the Cannon Beach Preschool and Children’s Center. The wine walk is the biggest event of the festival and the nonprofit children’s center continues to receive proceeds from ticket sales for that event.

Last year, the wine walk sold out and most of the other festival tasting events were full, so advance ticket purchases are suggested. Tickets for the event are available online at http://savorcannonbeach.com. A $119 Festival Pass offers admission to all six wine tasting events, and a $30 ticket is available for just the Saturday wine walk. Any remaining tickets for individual tasting events will be available at the door for $30 each.

© 2014 Coast Weekend. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More about Savor Cannon Beach

  • ARTICLE: Savor Cannon Beach
  • ARTICLE: Hazel Schlesinger vineyard exhibit to complement wine festival
  • ARTICLE: So much to savor
  • ARTICLE: Artists offer a savory salute to food in Cannon Beach

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014 8:00 am.

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Recommended Reading

Feb 19, 2014
Tina George

Amdavadis tap & click to eat smart

There was a time when ordering food online meant only getting pizza and ice-creams.

Now on-the-go youngsters are taking a step towards a healthy direction. So out of favour at this point are sinfully cheese dripping, calorie-filled pizzas replaced by must-eat healthy options like salads. And all this is possible with only a tap on the smartphone or a click of the mouse. More and more city youngsters are placing their orders online which has given rise to outlets that operate through phone calls or take online orders.

Food on the go
Checking the menu online and ordering a quick bite is the more trusted option for youngsters today as it saves time and the hassles. Ritam Bhatnagar, producer of Gujarati feature films and the founder of an entertainment company, says, “When I was in Mumbai, I used to order something everyday and got acquainted with the idea of ordering meals online. As a big foodie almost every second day I place an online order. For people like us, who have a busy schedule, it is convenient and saves time. Plus the packaging is so good that I can even carry it outside. The other day I ordered food and carried the parcel to Drive-In to watch a film.”

Light delights
For most people, especially working professionals, online ventures are a big boon as they can order food in their offices without having to compromise on their work. This is how a group of computer engineers came up with the idea of giving the option of healthy food (salads and health drinks), to people who keep busy. Vidhya Rana, a member of an online venture, says, “We are foodies at heart. A year back we all got together, did our research, got good chefs and checked the market. It is a new concept in Ahmedabad but the response has been good. We decided to offer healthy yet tasty options, so that people can also check their calories.”

Sweet cravings
Gujaratis are known for their sweet cravings after every meal, so desserts are always in demand. For those who don’t worry about their calories, there are a number of online patisseries that cater to all kinds of sweet cravings through online and phone orders. Chocolatier Hetal Jani says, “I started my own venture as a hobby, but I got a great response, especially during festivals. I think if you have the right kind of contacts and marketing strategy, businesses like these work. It’s not important to have a physical outlet.”

With online food joints providing a variety of options at your doorsteps, Amdavadis have all the reasons to be happy and indulge.

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Feb 19, 2014
Terri Judson

Melbourne Food & Wine Festival Picks

Melbourne Food  Wine Festival. Photo / Daniel Mahon.
Melbourne Food Wine Festival. Photo / Daniel Mahon.

This time of year sees one of our favourite food and wine festivals gearing up with a programme full of enticing workshops and presentations. The three-week-long Melbourne Food Wine Festival (February 28 to March 16) is a goldmine of inspiration for foodies – the hardest part is figuring out what sessions to attend.

With the overarching theme of “water” this year (following fire and earth the last two years) we recommend you spend some time in the Immersery Festival Kitchen, Bar and Raingarden in Queensbridge Square where local star chefs like Daniel Wilson (Huxtable, Huxtaburger) and Florent Gerardin (Silo) will be in the kitchen. The Langham Masterclass weekend (March 8-9, AU$320 day pass, $595 weekend pass) is always a highlight.

Melbourne Food  Wine Festival. Photo / Daniel Mahon.
Melbourne Food Wine Festival. Photo / Daniel Mahon.

This is where you’ll find the intense culinary sessions featuring international super-chefs. Check out Damian D’Silva (Immigrants) as he cooks “Singaporean Soul Food”, Luigi Tagliati from Italy with his session “Old School, New Guard” and “Wild West Coast” with Rodolfo Guzman from Santiago’s highly rated Borago restaurant, which, with the current trend for South American food, will be popular.

The suburbs of Melbourne and regions of Victoria play an increasing role in the festival and this year we’re picking the “Dancing with the Tides” dinners at Konjo Cafe Restaurant in Footscray (February 28, March 1, 7, 8, AU$40) to transport you to exotic northeast Africa and celebrate the life-giving waters of Ethiopia.

Or head out of the city for “Picnic in the Truffle Patch”, near the historic town of Ballarat, where you’ll get to dig around a 1000-tree trufferie, hunting, cooking and tasting truffles before relaxing with a special picnic box of truffled products (March 16, AU$90).

• For full programme check out melbournefoodandwine.com.au.


- NZ Herald

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Feb 19, 2014
Tina George

Vice Goes Into Food Business With ‘American Idol’ Producer FremantleMedia

In early April Vice will debut a yet-unnamed food vertical with “American Idol” producer FremantleMedia. The brash digital-media company also has a food-related ad network on its menu.

Vice and FremantleMedia will jointly develop and produce “hundreds of hours of content” for the property, said Vice president Andrew Creighton. That content will skew heavily toward video but also feature articles and recipes. Vice will oversee how that content is distributed digitally, including an owned-and-operated site, a YouTube channel and eventually apps. And television production company FremantleMedia will secure deals to air its content on TV in the U.S. and internationally.

Chef Anthony Bourdain on Vice show 'Munchies'

Chef Anthony Bourdain on Vice show ‘Munchies’

Chef Anthony Bourdain on Vice show 'Munchies'
Chef Anthony Bourdain on Vice show ‘Munchies’

The new food site will mark Vice’s ninth vertical, once the pending Vice News goes live in “a couple weeks,” Mr. Creighton said. Originated as a print magazine in 1994, Vice has created an extensive property portfolio across traditional and digital media. Vice’s business spans the flagship Vice.com; music, tech, art, fashion, dance and mixed martial arts sites; YouTube channels; an HBO series; and most recently a digital agency.

The food property is “a significant investment for both companies,” Mr. Creighton said, noting that 50 to 60 people will staff the site. He declined to disclose the amount of each side’s investment but said the two will split revenue with 70% going to Vice and 30% to FremantleMedia.

Much of that revenue will stem from advertising. Vice and FremantleMedia expect to have a number of advertising deals signed by the property’s April launch. “We have some key brands that want to come on board, but we can’t announce those right now,” Mr. Creighton said.

Vice will lead the property’s ad sales efforts but will team with Fremantle on “bigger brand partners.” The site will run standard fare like preroll videos and display ads. But the real money will come from more bespoke ad products like new native ads that Mr. Creighton said will roll out across Vice’s properties as well as show sponsorships that will be pitched during the MIPTV showcase event in April and Vice’s Digital Content NewFronts presentation in May.

“Also we’ll be creating an ad network, which is a content distribution and advertising network with key sites that we want to work with,” Mr. Creighton said. “We’ve already acquired some of those sites that we’re going to be working with on the ad network within the vertical.”

Additionally Vice and FremantleMedia will develop content for various national and international food festivals.

Hipster food
FremantleMedia will evaluate the digital content for TV distribution in two ways. In some cases, it will take the videos as they are and maybe make some tweaks before airing on TV networks around the world. In others, the company will take a show or idea created for the digital property and produce it separately for TV. “We’re certainly not waiting [to strike TV distribution deals]. We have some strong ideas that could quickly end up on TV,” said Keith Hindle, CEO of FremantleMedia’s digital and branded entertainment division, which was created last year.

While both Vice and FremantleMedia have relationships with 21st Century Fox — the entertainment conglomerate has invested in Vice and airs Fremantle-produced “American Idol” — the food-site partnership did not spring from the mutual relationship.

“I got drunk at a Vice upfront [presentation] two to three years ago — everyone gets drunk at a Vice upfront — and Andrew was on stage presenting to a large volume of advertisers. It was the first time I saw someone in digital media speak so eloquently to a room of advertisers,” Mr. Hindle said.

Over the last two years, the companies sought ways to work together and agreed on food. Vice isn’t entirely new to food-related content. The “food” section of Vice.com is the site’s third-largest traffic destination, Mr. Creighton said. And Vice’s online series “Munchies” has been streaming videos of famous chefs like Anthony Bourdain pigging out for three years.

Vice decided to spin food off into its own channel because “no one is really looking at why the food explosion happened [among Vice's primary audience of 18- to 32-year-olds]. I think there’s a gaping hole that needs to be filled with programming for this audience,” Mr. Creighton said.

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Feb 19, 2014
Terri Judson

Morgan’s in the Desert Chef Jimmy Schmidt Has a Good Beef

Major proponent of sustainable food movement

Wagyu beef has great marbling, flavor and texture because of a vegetarian-based diet, says Jimmy Schmidt, executive chef at Morgan’s in the Desert.

Photo Courtesy of Morgan’s in the Desert


Jimmy Schmidt’s resume looks something like this:

Food scientist and innovator, celebrated chef, restaurateur, author, entrepreneur and founder of the renowned Chefs Collaborative.

He continues to drive the sustainable food movement forward across the nation.

The desert is fortunate to have the legendary Schmidt every other week during season as executive chef at Morgan’s in the Desert, La Quinta Resort Club. Schmidt and the talented Chef de Cuisine Brian Recor are busy creating peak harvest food festivals year-round and wine dinners through May that bring the farm-to-table experience to ever increasing heights.

These days, Schmidt is very big on American Wagyu beef, a Japanese breed of cattle known for its superior taste and texture that is humanely raised. He is also a proponent of sustainably and organically produced wines.

He brings two of his trusted resources for American Wagyu beef and award winning sustainable wines to a celebratory dinner, $95 per person, at Morgan’s on Feb. 28: Joseph Decuis American Wagyu beef, founded by Pete, Alice, and Tim Eshelman in Roanoke, Ind.; and Neyers Vineyards, founded by Bruce and Barbara Neyers, in the heart of Napa Valley. The Eshelmans and Neyers will be on hand for the event.

Happy Beef

“These are full blood Wagyu, a Japanese breed, raised in a happy and humane environment,” says Schmidt.  “The meat (pictured at right) has great marbling, flavor and texture because of a vegetarian-based diet.”

Schmidt says that traditional American beef cuts use only 21 percent prime steak and 65 percent end up as ground beef.
“But with Wagyu, the lesser cuts – shoulder, leg, neck — are much more individually made, cuts that reveal the muscle,” he says. “The Denver cut, for example, near the tenderloin, is a marbled, beautiful steak.  With 34 different cuts, it’s affordable and better for the customer to have interesting cuts.”

Healthy Soil, Healthy Grapes

The Neyers found that a sustainable system of infused nitrogen into the soil, biomass, and beneficial insects makes healthy soil and good health is passed to the grapes. Like a healthy human immune system, the vines are able to withstand bacteria, fungus, mildew, pests and extreme weather.  Plus allowing wild native yeast during the wine’s fermentation, part of an all-organic approach, creates an even more complex wine.

FoodShed Exchange

When he’s not at Morgan’s, Schmidt devotes time to his latest project, the FoodShed Exchange, an online frame work of farmers, fisherman, foragers and ranchers connected to specialty food purveyors and chefs who source and use their products.

Using modern technology, farmers can post instantly from an iPad when their food is at peak harvest, send the information to FoodShed Exchange where purveyors and chefs can immediately buy the freshest possible product. FoodShed Exchange is a virtual portal into a real time marketplace that promises to streamline the harvest, purchase and delivery between farmer and chef. 

Morgan’s in the Desert’s Food and Wine Festivals continue all year long and feature foods at their peak season. Next is the Smoked Salmon Festival, March 17-30, followed by the Asparagus Festival, April 1-13.

Morgan’s in the Desert, La Quinta Resort Club, 49499 Eisenhower Drive, La Quinta, (760) 564-7600.

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Feb 19, 2014
Kim Rivers

Food-truck operators in Baltimore oppose proposed city regulations

Food truck operators packed into Baltimore City Council chambers on Tuesday to testify on an administration bill that would change the way food trucks operate in the city. The food-truck vendors told the Judiciary Committee they are concerned about new parking restrictions and other provisions in the bill, which would turn over turn over the supervision of food trucks to the city’s department of general services.

But they said their biggest concern was that the legislation was just too vague.

Christopher Cherry, who operates the Charm City Gourmet food truck, said the proposed rules don’t have enough details about the bill’s proposal for new food zones.

“It’s a mystery box,” Cherry said after the hearing.

The committee, in the end, agreed with the food-truck operators about the bill’s vagueness, and decided not to decide.

“This legislation is very generic in scope,” said Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke. “It doesn’t get at the devil in the details.”

After more than two hours of discussion and testimony, the committee’s chairman, James Kraft, announced that the hearing would reconvene on March 4, after interested parties have time to send in written testimony and suggest amendments to the legislation.

Under the proposed rules, trucks would only be able to operate in city-designated food-truck zones. The current rules allow trucks to park and serve food downtown, with certain restrictions, at any legal parking space.

No owner of a of brick-and-mortar businesses testified at the hearing. But Mackenzie Paul, who is in charge of retail development for the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, which advised the bill’s writers about the location of food-truck zones, did testify in support of the bill.

After the meeting, Downtown Partnership president Kirby Fowler addressed the issue.

“We want to make sure the brick-and-mortar businesses survive and thrive. But great cities are embracing food truck culture as a way of creating a more active street-level,” Fowler said, adding that the proposed bill will provide a level playing field for food businesses. “Brick-and-mortar businesses have to pay property taxes and other fees. They’re at a disadvantage when it comes to food trucks.”

Fowler said his organization did recommend less rigid rules than the current bill under review. “We don’t need to solve every problem at this level,” Fowler said. “We want to insure that’s flexibility in adopting regulations that respond to condition on the field.”

Clarke said she was concerned that some of the new food-truck zones might end up too close to brick-and-mortar businesses: Current rules, which have been in effect since 2011 as part of pilot program, prohibit trucks from operating within 300 feet of brick-and-mortar restaurants.

After the meeting adjourned, the food truck operators said they would begin taking their campaign against the new legislation to their patrons. They said the new rules were addressing problems that didn’t exist.

“There is no problem,” said Tom Looney, co-owner of the Gypsy Queen food truck.

Anne-Marie Langdon, who co-owns Gypsy Queen food with Looney, says she has established good relations with the brick-and-mortar businesses in Hampden, where her truck makes regular visits. Langdon said that she has even joined the neighborhood’s merchants association.

Chad Gauss, the co-owner of The Food Market in Hampden, said he didn’t see an unlevel playing field as long as food truck owners had the proper permits.

“Every business is different,” Gauss said.

But Gauss said he liked the idea of dedicated food zones, and he’d be happy to see food trucks move from their regular parking space in Hampden, on Elm Street, several blocks down to Falls Road, where they could help attract activity to Roosevelt Park, an under-used neighborhood facility.

“We got good feedback from [some] business folk who hadn’t had an opportunity to weigh in on the legislation,” committee chairman James Kraft said. “Had they not come today, we probably would have voted the bill out [of committee].”

Kraft said the committee would vote on March 11 on whether to move the legislation to the full council.

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Feb 19, 2014
Tina George

Bantry woman at helm of new food company



BANTRY woman Karen Coakley has been lauded for her involvement in the Kenmare Food Carnival. Inspired by its success to date, Karen and her friend, Derick McMahon – who has also been a mainstay of the popular Kerry festival –have decided to start their own business.

Karen said: ‘The time we spent working on Kenmare Food Carnival, bringing it all together, taught us a lot. We made many valuable contacts during our two years together from national and regional reporters to food writers, chefs, foodies and food producers.’

Karen explained that both she and Derick are very active on social media and that they found this to be a huge driving force.

‘We have found great networking opportunities on Twitter, which is jam-packed with foodies and journalists all eager to hear what’s happening in the country in terms of food and festivals,’ she said, ‘and we are rather pleased that all of this will be put to good use with the launch of our new business, Kenmare Foodies.’

Karen and Derick became good friends whilst working on the carnival, but they also developed a strong sense of focus because they understood the level of dedication it required to bring an event of this magnitude together.


Karen is a mother of four boys, whilst Derick, who is a native of Killarney, is head chef at the renowned Avoca Cafe at Moll’s Gap. Both of them are busy, very busy, and they realise that is not easy starting a business in these times. But, as Karen said: ‘The tighter household budgets have become, the more people are determined to return to home cooking and learning how to cook economically.’

One aspect of the newly formed company, Kenmare Foodies, will be to give demonstrations, which ties in with the fact that there has, of late, been an upsurge in the number of food festivals and events being held throughout the country.

As part of their new business, Karen and Derick will also be offering a consultancy service to food festivals. The duo are willing to meet with people to troubleshoot and advise on all aspects of running a food festival from planning, programming, grant application to websites and publicity. They might even come up with some novel event ideas!

On the corporate side, Karen told The Southern Star: ‘We will be looking to organise one-day events for companies where we can use our expertise and networking abilities to publicise their client’s events.’

After two years of volunteering on a festival, Karen said: ‘We are extremely excited to be embarking on our new initiative, Kenmare Foodies, which really began last year when we started a blog about food and family life, and shared our favourite recipes.

‘It was born,’ she said, ‘out of a sense of the fun we have together and the fact that food is a passion for us. In fact, you could say it has been a driving force for us – something that was reflected in the fact that the blog was nominated for an award last year.’

Now, Karen and Derick feel it is time to use their knowledge and experience to offer their services in terms of food and events consultancy, cookery demonstrations and PR.


So far, they have demoed at food festivals, such as the Harvest Offaly Food Festival, where the feedback was brilliant, and have been approached by a few Kerry schools to do fundraising demos.

In the meantime, they are working on a few new projects, including events such as the Kush Mussel Cook-Off for the Ardgroom-based company, Kush Mussels, last year. The event saw tweeters and food bloggers from around the country submit recipes to be judged and then two finalists had to cook off in Kenmare.

Karen said: ‘This was a great way for a food company to raise their profile on social media.’ Karen and Derick are also guest bloggers on the Ring of Kerry website, where they submit a blog post every month.

Follow them on twitter @kenmarefoodies or http:www.facebook.com/kenmarefoodies or email info@kenmarefoodies.com.

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Feb 19, 2014
Terri Judson

Vancouver, Seattle beckon with stellar wine festivals

This is the time of year I like to mention a couple of regional wine festivals that readers frequently ask about and I’m happy to recommend as standout events.

Each of these close-to-home wine tastings gives you an opportunity to meet and chat with scores of winemakers and distributors while getting a great cross-sample of wines from Washington and around the world.

First up is the Vancouver International Wine Festival, a weeklong celebration from Feb. 24 to March 2 in Vancouver, B.C., that features a variety of seminars, lunches, dinners and tastings.

While some of the events have been on sale for several weeks and are already sold out, my favorite, the International Festival Tasting – which runs from 7 to 10 p.m. Feb. 27 and 28 and from 3 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m. March 1 – still has tickets available.

Although some people may view this as borderline wine-tasting overload, I tend to enjoy the fun, yet informative atmosphere and the diverse, chatty crowds that are always on hand and never disappoint.

An amazing 178 wineries from 14 countries have been selected to participate at the international tasting, with France as the theme country and the global focus on Champagne and sparkling wines. Book a hotel room, take in as much as you can, and enjoy some great wines in one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

For complete event information and tickets, go to playhousewinefest.com.

Not to be outdone, Washington wines take center stage during Taste Washington, set for March 29 and 30 at CenturyLink Field Event Center in Seattle. More than 200 Washington wineries are scheduled to be on hand at the gastronomic extravaganza.

I love this event, not only for the wines but also for the incredible food samples available from dozens of Seattle-area restaurants.

If you go with the expectation of having a nosh or two, pairing it with stellar Washington wines and meeting with some of the region’s top winemakers, then I’ll give you the closest thing to a personal guarantee that you will not come away disappointed.

General admission tickets get you in the door from 2 to 5 p.m. and can be purchased for a single day for $80 or both days for $125. VIP tickets, at $145 for one day or $185 for both, allow you a 1 p.m. start time and include exclusive tasting-lounge access and a swag bag.

There are also a number of interesting seminars available both days from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. that include topics ranging from Washington old vine wines to blending to the art of pairing food and wine.

For a complete list of wineries, vineyards, restaurants and exhibitors, along with ticket information, go to tastewashington.org.

Dan Radil is a wine enthusiast who lives in Bellingham. Reach him at danthewineguy.com.

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