‘We need to change the image of Irish food’ – Darina Allen

“Loads of people from other countries think we live on corn beef and cabbage. We need to change the image of Irish food.” This was the opinion of Darina Allen of Ballymaloe house, who spoke to AgriLand today at the Good Food Ireland Food Summit, part of the Web Summit which is ongoing in the RDS over the next two days.

According to Allen: “The event is a wonderful opportunity to showcase Irish Food. There are people from literally all over the world here.”

“I’ve been in and among the crowd and people here today are blown away by the food. We’re just bursting with pride because it gives us an opportunity to give people a taste of Irish food.”

Allen noted: “These are all members of Good Food Ireland exhibiting here. There all farmers, producers, chefs and so on who are standing there serving their food and getting feedback. It’s a great shop window for Ireland. This whole event was pulled off in 10 days, which is an amazing achievement for all involved.”

“The Holy Ghost is on our side too, the sun is shining. It just thrills me to see people eating Irish food. At long last the message about Irish food is going to get out.”

Allen noted there was a unique multinational attendance at the event: “That’s why it’s such a fantastic opportunity to give people a taste of what we have here in Ireland.  We can produce the best food in the world. Today is really exciting.”

Speaking about her business, she said “nobody is unaffected by the Recession,but we have been very fortunate”.

“At the cooking school at the moment we have 16 students from 13 different nationalities staying there for 12 weeks. One of the main reasons they come is because the school is in the middle of an organic farm and garden. We had a lovely summer at Ballymaloe House. A lot of people are returning to Ballymaloe after 30 and 40 years, and next year will be the 50th anniversary.”

Allen also hoped that some of the Food Summit’s guests might visit: “You never know, hopefully. It’s all grease to the mill. This is a wonderful event to get the word out there and change the image of Irish food. Both at home and abroad”.

The gourmet guru is already looking forward to next year’s event:  “We have better and bigger plans,” she said. “So I hope we’ll have even more support.”

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