WEST Cork punched above its weight in the recent Georgina Campbell awards when it scooped all three awards for the county.
Street Food of the Year, a new category for 2018, went to Diana Dodog and Mike O’Donovan, of Courtmacsherry’s Food Depot Gourmet Street Kitchen, while Guesthouse of the Year went to Ciaran Fitzgerald, MD, and Monica Nowak, general manager, of The Old Bank House in Kinsale.
The Farmhouse of the Year title went to Agnes and Joe Hegarty of Ahakista.
Georgina said: ‘Diana Dodog became a household name when she won MasterChef Ireland in 2014 and that didn’t do any harm at all when she and Mike O’Donovan set up their innovative mobile food kitchen in West Cork. Great taste is the key to success when it comes to street food and there’s no shortage of that at The Food Depot, where customers happily queue to bag the day’s treats from a wide repertoire of dishes which may be diverse but they’re all based squarely on the best of seasonal local produce.’
The couple are shortly publishing their first cookbook and dishes like steaming West Cork chowder, O’Neill’s three-meat chilli (beef brisket, cheek and mince), cajun chicken wrap or veggie delight (a grilled halloumi buddha bowl) were singled out by Ms Campbell.
She also referenced gorgeous desserts and home bakes, and the ‘terrific’ West Cork coffee they serve. ‘No wonder The Food Depot is the in-place for weekday lunches at the West Cork Business Technology Park, and on Sundays you’ll find them nearer home, beside the beach at Courtmacsherry,’ she said.
Referring to the Old Bank House in Kinsale – a sister property of the Blue Haven Hotel – Georgina said the ‘well-managed boutique guesthouse’ in Kinsale is ‘an exceptionally convenient and pleasant place to stay’.
‘Cookies on arrival, King Koil pocket sprung beds, pillow menus, and Nespresso machines in each room are among the details that make guests feel pampered here, and there are plenty more, thanks to the hands-on attention of manager Monika Nowak,’ she said.
Hillcrest Farm in Ahakista was chosen for its award due to the fact that ‘hospitality has always come first at this immaculate, family-friendly farmhouse overlooking Dunmanus Bay where Joe and Agnes Hegarty’s guests – including walkers, who revel in the 88km Sheep’s Head Way – are welcomed with a cup of tea and home-baked scones on arrival, as they have been since 1980’.