Talented young Beech Hill House Hotel chef Jane Peaker is hoping to curry favour with foodies at a culinary competition in Cork this weekend to find Ireland’s chowder champion.
The All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off will feature 32 professional restaurant chefs, fishermen and makers of commercial chowders in competition for the coveted national title.
The historical four star Beech Hill at Ardmore, was invited to represent County Londonderry at the event which takes place in Acton’s Hotel, Kinsale on Sunday, April 19 from 2-4pm.
Local chef Jane, who studied at the North West Regional College, will be adding a special curry base as an added twist to her chowder which she hopes will clinch the honours.
Conor Donnelly, sales and marketing manager at the Beech Hill, said staff were delighted to be representing the county and were confident about their chances in the competition, given the hotel’s excellent reputation for its cuisine.
The Beech Hill House Hotel, located in the picturesque Faughan Valley, is one of more than 50 tourism businesses being supported by Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Rural Tourism Development Programme which is part funded by Invest NI and the European Regional Development Fund under its Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.
Mary Blake, Council’s tourism development officer, was keen to wish the Beech Hill every success in the project.
“The Beech Hill are demonstrating the very strong food tourism offer we have in the city under our LegenDerry Food Brand. The use of local food provenance through ‘Catch and Cook’ and ‘Plot to Plate’ is raising the profile of Derry as a must visit Food Tourism Destination of note.
“We are delighted that the Minister has announced 2016 as Year of Food and the Beech Hill are testament to the exceptional quality of food now on offer in the region. We wish Jane, Conor and team all success in Cook-Off.”
The family-run Georgian country house hotel has also again been named as one of the 100 Top Places To Stay In Ireland in the latest McKennas’ Guides 2015 compiled by travel writers John and Sally McKenna – the only establishment featured in County Londonderry and one of just five in Northern Ireland.
The Beech Hill is also renowned Irish food writer Georgina Campbell’s Hotel of the Year 2015.
This weekend’s culinary competition is being hosted by Kinsale Good Food Circle who are asking members of the public attending to vote for their favourite chowder chef in Ireland by tasting samples.
The All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off is the highlight of a two-day Family Festival that will take place on the streets of Kinsale this Saturday and Sunday. The popular annual event sees the town transformed into an open-air street market. Local and visiting food businesses will offer samples and take-home food for under five euros.
All visitors get a voting card which entitles them to sample all chowders from the individual stalls, before casting their vote.
Liam Edwards, Chairman of Kinsale Good Food Circle said: “Kinsale is a busy fishing port as well as being a key destination on the newly launched Wild Atlantic Way.
“Last year’s Cook-Off was a huge success, and we look forward to seeing even more visitors from America and Europe as well as from all over Ireland at this unique event.”
The winning chef will not only be crowned All-Ireland Chowder Champion, but will also receive a customised trophy and be invited to be a guest chef in one of Newport Rhode Island’s great restaurants as well as attending the Great Chowder Cook-Off in Kinsale’s transatlantic twin town, next summer.