Kilkenny’s Mount Juliet swept the board at Ireland’s food Oscars, with the venue taking the three top prizes at the Good Food Ireland awards.
The Kilkenny estate took the top award of the night — the Supreme Award — as well as Restaurant of the Year and the Outstanding Place to Stay award at the prestigious annual event in Dublin.
The ceremony was attended by more than 350 guests from the agri-food and tourism industry.
Other winners last night included: Inch House Traditional Black Pudding for Producer of the Year; URRU Culinary Store in Bandon, Co Cork, for Local Food Shop of the Year; The Oarsman won the Food Lover’s Choice award — this award was voted on by the public; Newforge House, Co Armagh won Culinary Haven of the Year; and Toscana Restaurant in Dublin won the newly introduced Grow It Yourself award.
Speaking at the ceremony, Taoiseach Enda Kenny highlighted the importance of the food and tourism industries to Ireland’s economic recovery.
“Whether it is in restaurants, cafés, bars, shops, markets or accommodation, customers and visitors can have a truly memorable food experience because of the wonderful produce and talent we have in this country.
“These awards help to make Ireland synonymous with good food and this reputation is vital to supporting our €9bn of food and drink exports and the 160,000 jobs in the agri-food industry.”
Founder of Good Food Ireland, Margaret Jeffares, said the awards were aimed at showing tourists that Irish cuisine can compete with any other country.
“We are a committed group that want to change Ireland’s food reputation by giving the visitor one trusted guarantee for the very best food experience that builds a culinary picture of our country... the award winners have succeeded in delivering this Good Food Ireland experience to supreme levels of excellence,” Ms Jeffares said.
Earlier in the day, Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar launched the Good Food Ireland prepaid MasterCard. The multifunctional gift card offers one-on-one connections with more than 600 of the very best food places, culinary experts, and artisan food producers.
“Good Food Ireland and its members have made a significant contribution to Ireland’s growing reputation as a great destination for food. Its members are committed to using local produce wherever possible, and providing a top-class service to visitors. This brings clear benefits to tourists, but it’s also vital for the tourism industry and for sustaining and creating jobs,” said Mr Varadkar.
Good Food Ireland Supreme Award of the Year 2013
The highest accolade to the outstanding award winner of the evening. The winner excels in every aspect of the Good Food Ireland experience in delivering the very best of culinary culture, bringing people together through food.
WINNER: Mount Juliet, Co Kilkenny
Good Food Ireland Restaurant of the Year 2013
WINNER: Lady Helen Restaurant, Mount Juliet, Co Kilkenny
Best Use of Irish Language Award
WINNER: Country Choice, Nenagh, Co Tipperary
WINNER: Newforge House, Co Armagh
Food Innovation Excellence Award
WINNER: Sage Restaurant, Midleton, Co Cork
WINNER: URRU Culinary Store, Bandon, Co Cork
Grow It Yourself Award
WINNER: Toscana Restaurant, Dublin
Innovative Cookery Course
WINNER: Aniar Restaurant, Galway
International Cuisine Award
WINNER: Ananda Restaurant, Dublin
Outstanding Place To Stay
WINNER: Mount Juliet, Co Kilkenny
Producer of the Year
WINNER: North — Glastry Farm Ice Cream; South — Milleens Cheese, Co Cork; East — Wild About, Co Wexford; West — Inch House Traditional Black Pudding, Co Tipperary
Pub of The Year
WINNER: Harte’s Bar and Grill, Kildare
Cafe of the Year
WINNER: Kalbo’s, Skibbereen, Co Cork
WINNER: Fishy Fishy Cafe, Kinsale. Highly Commended: QC’s Seafood Restaurant, Bar and Townhouse
Casual Dining Award
WINNER: An Port Mór, Westport, Co Mayo
Food Lover Choice Award
WINNER: The Oarsman, Co Leitrim
Ambassador of the Year
WINNER: Rory O’Connell, Ballymaloe Cookery School, for his exemplary contribution to assisting with the Good Food Ireland Food Summit in partnership with the Web Summit.