Top chefs reeled in for Flavours of the Foyle

Spreya the Mermaid, who will be at the Seafood Festival this weekend.
Spreya the Mermaid, who will be at the Seafood Festival this weekend.

Londonderry will be hosting a ‘Who’s Who’ of celebrity chefs as the annual Flavours of the Foyle Festival reels in the crowds for a two-day summer seafood spectacular this weekend.

Top TV chef Paul Rankin is looking forward to sharing and celebrating some of the world’s best seafood at the event, which is expected to attract thousands of visitors to the Guildhall Square on Saturday, July 25 and Sunday, July 26.

Chefs and suppliers who are getting ready to take part in this year's Flavours of the Foyle Seafood Festival, which is due to take place at the Guildhall Square on 26&27th of July from 12noon ' 6pm.  A full outline of attending Chefs and details of the live cookery demonstrations as well as the events around the festival can be found at www.derrycity.gov.uk/seafood.  Included at the front of the images also are Mary Blake, Tourist Development Officer and Michele Shirlow, NI Good Food / Taste of Ulster.

Chefs and suppliers who are getting ready to take part in this year's Flavours of the Foyle Seafood Festival, which is due to take place at the Guildhall Square on 26&27th of July from 12noon ' 6pm. A full outline of attending Chefs and details of the live cookery demonstrations as well as the events around the festival can be found at www.derrycity.gov.uk/seafood. Included at the front of the images also are Mary Blake, Tourist Development Officer and Michele Shirlow, NI Good Food / Taste of Ulster.

The event, which promotes the wealth of local seafood and food provenance, attracts thousands of visitors and Guildhall Square will be transformed into a Theatre of Food kitchen from 12pm each day where Rankin and other top chefs, including BBC’s resident Chef Paula McIntyre and RTE’s Brian McDermott, will be demonstrating their culinary flair.

Rankin, whose live cooking demonstration takes place at 4.30pm on Saturday, said: “It’s always a pleasure to meet the local restaurateurs and producers who will be there on the day and it’s guaranteed to be great craic so don’t miss it.”

Organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council, with financial assistance from the Northern Ireland Regional Food Programme (DARD & Invest NI) and the Loughs Agency, an estimated 20,000 visitors will pour into the city to sample the finest locally sourced seafood.

The Mayor, Elisha McCallion, guaranteed a huge welcome for locals and visitors: “Flavours of the Foyle has become the prime showcase for our locally sourced seafood. Twelve live cookery stations each day will feature the region’s top chefs, offering delicious fish dishes to try and buy in the festival marquee.

“With so much happening both days at the Festival, this event is without doubt a seafood spectacular,” she said.

The Mayor said 2016 would be Northern Ireland Year of Food and the city was leading the way in terms of food tourism.

“The Flavours of the Foyle Festival is another excellent example of how well we are positioned on the international food map,” she said.

Award-winning Londonderry chef Emmett McCourt, who has been involved with the Festival since its inception five years ago, will be bringing some Asian surprises to his demonstration on Saturday at 2.30pm, when festival-goers will be able to savour such exotic delights as squid on a stick and starfish lollipops.

A host of other talented local chefs, from leading restaurants across the north west, will also be working their magic with seafood during the event, including Ian Orr, Irish Chef of the Year 2013 and Derek Creagh, Irish Chef of the Year 2015.

Local food producers taking part include Donegal Prime Fish, North Cape Seafoods, Lough Neagh Eels, Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil and Abernethy Butter.

Another highlight is the Flavours of the Foyle Seafood Trail running from July 25 to August 2 in 19 restaurants in the city.

Featuring businesses across the city and district, foodies are invited to sample the finest, freshest fish on offer as part of ‘Fish is the Dish!’ Seafood Trail.

And there is lots on offer for your small fry also, with a wide range of family friendly activities to keep the children entertained. As well as the Mayor’s Family Fun Day in the Guildhall on Saturday from 12pm to 4pm, there are sea creatures in the Loughs Agency ‘Touch Tank’, Spreya the mermaid, fishy face painting, storytelling, arts and crafts and get up close and personal with a giant but very approachable whale taking up temporary residence at the Guildhallas well as a friendly basking shark.

Flavours of the Foyle celebrates the best of all that is caught here not brought here.

For further information on festival events, visit www.flavoursofthefoyle.com.... You’ll be hooked!