00:00 Saturday 20 August 2011 

Exciting Celtic Cook-off during A Taste of West Cork festival

AN exciting, high-profile cooking competition will form part of this year's 'A Taste of West Cork Festival' (September 10th to 18th) in Skibbereen.

On Wednesday, September 14th, the inaugural 'Celtic Cook-Off' will take place at Skibbereen's West Cork Hotel, which has invited accomplished chefs from the five Celtic territories (Scotland, Isle of Man, Ireland, Cornwall, Wales and Brittany) to participate in a 'cook off' in front of a local audience, whilst also aiming to impress a panel of judges. The winner of the inaugural Celtic Cook Off will be decided by a combination of audience and judges' votes.

The event will be a celebration of the wonderful produce that emanates from the West Cork region and, in addition will be a great experience for three young aspiring West Cork chefs, who will be on hand to help the chefs as their commis.

Neil Grant, the West Cork Hotel's general manager, said: 'I want the event to be about the wonderful local produce from this region. All the chefs who have decided to join us are united in a passion for food and they all recognise West Cork as one of the premier food producing regions of the world.

'It is such an honour for us to have these fantastic chefs from the Celtic territories join us. We've asked them to bring a wild card ingredient from their own wonderful regions too, so we are expecting some exciting and varied dishes!'

The line-up includes Kinsale's Martin Shanahan of Fishy Fishy fame as the Irish entry and, though the theme will not be solely seafood-based, there will be two other chefs involved who made their name through great seafood cooking, Roy Brett of Ondine restaurant in Edinburgh and Arty Williams of The Cove in Maenporth in Cornwall.

The Isle of Man will be represented by a champion of local produce in John Dixon and the Welsh entrant is Kevin Williams, one of the leading lights in the Welsh Culinary Association.

All the chefs are passionate about local seasonal produce and were lured by the opportunity to work with some of the best local produce that West Cork has to offer.

When told of the opportunity, Arty Williams said that he had 'always wanted to visit West Cork' and John Dixon said that it was an opportunity that was 'too good to miss out on.'

Neil Grant went on to say: 'I'd like to express thanks to the Fastnet Line who will bring over the Welsh entry and thanks to the support of the artisans of West Cork and the tourism bodies of the other regions - we have been blown away by the level of local and international support.

'We're also thrilled to have John McKenna of the Bridgestone Guide as our master of ceremonies for the evening,' he added.

The evening promises to be fantastic and whether you're into cooking or eating food, you don't want to miss out!'

Where and when

The 'Celtic Cook-Off' at The West Cork Hotel, Skibbereen, Wednesday, September 14th; doors open at 7pm.

Tickets: €10 are available at the West Cork Hotel reception from Monday, August 22nd.

The ticket price includes a glass of Prosecco on arrival and there will be an unrivalled artisan presence showcasing their produce and giving complimentary samples of their beautiful food.

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