Good Food Ireland launched its inaugural “Hall of Fame” at a high profile event “Good Food Ireland - A Celebration” hosted by the WebSummit, on Thursday, November 6th 2014 in Herbert Park, Dublin. It was attended by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, T.D., Rowley Leigh, acclaimed UK Chef and Journalist and 1500 international media and guests who experienced a Good Food Ireland Showcase Dinner and met the people behind the food.
3 honourees were inducted into the Good Food Ireland Hall of Fame that honours people for their consistent, sometimes behind the scenes, beyond the call contribution and dedication to good Irish food and tourism at home and abroad. It also recognises the next generation, those who have influenced, inspired or effected change amongst Ireland’s youth and those who will take forward with diligence a unanimous love of Irish food and hospitality.
Myrtle Allen has been a monumental influence in Irish Food. To say she created what we now commonly refer to as ‘Irish food culture’ is an understatement. Without her no-nonsense, down to earth approach to local produce, the food movement of the last four decades plus, would not have happened. She lives and breathes the Good Food Ireland code of practice, and is living proof that support of local farmers, fishermen and producers really works. Born in 1924 in Tivoli, on the boundaries of Cork city, Myrtle married Ivan Allen, a farmer from East Cork, in 1943. A marriage not just in the conventional sense, but in the joining of two people who worked together to create an empire. The couple bought Ballymaloe House as a family home, with land which Ivan farmed. It was a traditional set up. Ivan worked outdoors and Myrtle looked after the house and children. With boundless produce at her disposal, the prospect of learning to cook professionally was inviting. In 1962 she became cookery writer for the Irish Farmer’s Journal. Two years later, she turned the formal dining room of Ballymaloe House into a restaurant, and advertised in the Cork Examiner. Working with the produce of the farm, meats from neighbouring farms and fish from nearby Ballycotton, Myrtle created a menu which offered simple Irish country house fare. It changed daily to reflect availability and season, which back then was a brand new way of presenting Irish foods. As the first cheesemakers of West Cork began production, Ballymaloe gave them a platform for their cheeses. Milleens was first presented to the public on the menu at Ballymaloe House. Myrtle has continued to introduce new producers via the restaurant. Her intention was and always has been to support small producers ‘to keep them in business’. This was the ethos which Ballymaloe was founded upon, and lives by to this day. To offer a taste of the locality to all house guests and diners in the restaurant. Myrtle is a founder of Eurotoques, author of best selling cookery books, TV chef, writer, winner of numerous awards for the restaurant and her massive contribution to Irish food, and still an avid campaigner for Irish produce. The years have taken nothing from the determination, fire and passion of this lady. She is still in residence at the house, often to be seen welcoming guests. Ballymaloe House was a family home, and is now still a family run business, a proud member of Good Food Ireland, where good food lies at the heart of hospitality. We would like to welcome Myrtle Allen to be inducted into our inaugural Good Food Ireland Hall of Fame.
Here we salute one of the brightest young brains in Irish entrepreneurship. Paddy Cosgrave has packed a serious amount of achievements into the fairly short time span of his career. He has decades yet before him in the professional arena. If the last few years are anything to go by, his continuing success is surely guaranteed. Since gradutation from Trinity College Dublin, he has become one of the leading lights in event management and organisation. Paddy founded Web Summit in 2009. Its successful first year led to partnership with co-founders David Kelly and Daire Hickey in 2010, to create a bigger and better event which built on that initial interest and excitement. The result is a technology conference which Bloomberg called ‘Davos for Geeks’. Web Summit 2013 attracted over 10,000 attendes from 97 countries. When Paddy met Margaret Jeffares on a farm visit just ten days before that event - he knew immediately that two visionaries had collided. The pair spoke at length. Sparks flew. One intellectual brain met another and a gem of an idea was created. The partnership with Web Summit and Good Food Ireland was born. Good Food Ireland members from all over the island of Ireland travelled to Dublin in early November, to feed the international delegates, special guests, speakers and media. This year’s speaker list glows with some of the biggest names in global technology. Good Food Ireland now has it’s own Food Summit, with Food Technology Stage and speakers from the world of food, and has fed thousands of hungry delegates between talks and lectures. Along with laying on some hugely impressive evening showcases. Paddy’s skills are many and varied, all of which he has used to the full in Web Summit. But perhaps his most important strong point is the ability to spot like minded people who have that spark of enthusiasm, creativity, entrepreneurial streak and imagination to form an idea, and have the intellectual capacity and business minded follow through to make it work. That certainly happened when he met Margaret Jeffares. He saw and embraced the Good Food Ireland concept in an instant, and was only too willing to incorporate it in his much anticipated event programme.
As a strong supporter of the undergraduate and scholarships programme of Ireland, Paddy co-founded The Undergraduates Awards of Ireland in 2009, and sits on the board. He is also a board member of the Higher Education Authority, which is involved with statutory planning and policy development for higher education and research in Ireland. UK magazine Wired has named him in their top 100 people in tech. He is a guest speaker at many technology conferences all over the world. We are thrilled to be partnered with Paddy Cosgrave and Web Summit and delighted to induct him into our inaugural Good Food Ireland Hall of Fame.
Since it’s launch in 2007, Redmond O’Donoghue has shown complete faith in and commitment to the Good Food Ireland brand. His enthusiasm and advice has been immeasurable . In early 2007, approached by Margaret Jeffares, Redmond was invited to become Chairman of Good Food Ireland. He saw immediately the vision and determination of it’s founder, and knew Good Food Ireland was to become the benchmark brand for leading food tourism in Ireland. He jumped at the chance to work with Margaret and her team, and has been a steadast and visionary ally, who completely grasped the concept of linking good quality Irish ingredients and produce with reputable establishments in the hospitality industry, to drive food tourism at home and abroad. Redmond has embraced this role, to which he brings his trademark people skills, vision, never ending energy, and supreme professionalism. He has said at many conferences and Approved Member gatherings that Good Food Ireland is a brand which ‘you either get, or you don’t.’ He has certainly ‘got it’ and has helped to spread that word on many occasions as our Chairman.
A consummate professional, Redmond has conducted his career at the highest levels. Educated in Waterford at Waterpark College, before attending UCD and Harvard Business School in USA. His seventeen years with the Ford Motor Company in Ireland, Bristol and Madrid, formed the foundation of what was to be a glittering career. In 1985, he returned to Waterford to join Waterford Crystal, eventually rising to become CEO from 1996 to 2000, then going on to lead the whole Waterford Wedgewood Group until his retirement in 2005. Alongside the demanding duties in one of Ireland’s top companies, he was also Chairman of The Marketing Insitute. As a respected businessman, he was a member of the National Executive of the IBEC (Irish Business Employer’s Confederation) from 2003 to 2012, and a Board Member of Greencore plc until 2010. Having been Chairman of the old Bord Failte in the late 1990’s, his extensive experience was put to good use as Chairman of Failte Ireland for over 5 years until 2013, to further tourism development in Ireland. He has more than played his part in increasing tourist opportunities within the country as a whole, as well as making a mammoth contribution to tourism in his beloved region of the South East. Additionally, he played a major role in higher education in the South East, as Chairman of Waterford Institute of Technology from 2003 to 2011. In his role as Chairman of Good Food Ireland, he has gone far and beyond the call of duty to send out the Irish food message, and been an unwavering source of support and advice all along the way. We are delighted to welcome Redmond O’Donoghue to be inducted into our inaugural Good Food Ireland Hall of Fame.