Top Irish Chefs Add Flavor To St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations in Boston and New York City

April / May 2006

Six of Ireland’s best-known chefs traveled to the United States this St. Patrick’s Day season to showcase New Irish Cuisine, an innovative style of Irish cooking which is making Ireland a fashionable hotspot in culinary circles.

The Irish delegation, representing Ireland’s four provinces, included Kevin Dundon, Dunbrody House hotel and Cookery School in Wexford; Darina Alien, Ballymaloe House and Cookery School in Cork: Richard Hart. Glenlo Abbey hotel, Galway; David McCann, Dromoland Castle, County Clare; Neven Maguire, MacNean’s Bistro. County Cavan: and Noel McMeel of Castle Leslie in County Monaghan.

The culinary tour in Boston and New York City was developed by Tourism Ireland and the Boston Irish Tourism Association as a way to promote travel to Ireland while introducing a sophisticated slant on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in America. Other sponsors included American Airlines and Tourism Massachusetts.

“Ireland is enjoying a culinary renaissance at the moment, and March is the perfect month to convey this exciting trend to the American public.” said Joe Byrne, Executive Vice President. United States and Canada. Tourism Ireland. “We want Americans who are thinking about an Irish vacation this year to know they can expect to find rich culture, vibrant nightlife and scenic beauty as well as excellent cuisine.”

The Irish chefs participated in several high-profile cooking events in Boston and New York in upscale hotels and restaurants, as well as media appearances, book signings, college lectures and a trip to the famous New England Flower Show.

The marquee event of the tour was the Gaelic Gourmet Gala on March 15 at Boston’s swank hotel Commonwealth, owned by hoteliers Frank Keefe and Terry Guiney. The six Irish chefs teamed up with seven leading Boston chefs. Michael Schlow, Barbara Lynch, Ken Oringer, Marc Orfaly. Jasper White and Seth and Angela Raynor. Five hundred people attended the gala affair, including leaders from Boston’s tourism, hospitality and the Irish communities. The event benefited Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration, where the late Noel Cullen, Ireland’s master chef, was a beloved faculty member.

“Chef Cullen taught and inspired hundreds of culinary students for over a decade, and this is a chance to honor his memory.” said James Stamas, Dean of BU’s Hospitality School. Boston University has an international student exchange program with Dublin City University and boasts an important collection of modern Irish literature in its library.

During the week. Chef Dundon joined Parker Restaurant Chef Gerry Tice to prepare a five-course gourmet dinner at Boston’s famous Omni Parker House hotel. He then prepared a lavish meal at the new Jurys Boston hotel, cooking alongside Chef Matthew King at the hotel’s Stanhope Grille. Dundon also guest lectured to a class of BU international culinary students. Chef McCann was a special guest at the New England Flower Show, which featured an Irish Garden display. In New York City, Chef Maguire presided at the prestigious James Beard House, and Chef Alien appeared on QVC television.

Tourism Massachusetts, which markets the state internationally, is working with organizers to schedule a reciprocal tour of Boston chefs to Ireland, said agency president William H. MacDougall.

“Massachusetts and Ireland share so much history and heritage, it’s exciting that they’re sharing their culinary achievements as well,” MacDougall said. “With the new American Airlines route from Boston to Shannon, we can easily envision an Ireland-Massachusetts culinary network taking shape.”

According to the National Retail Foundation. 84.5 million Americans celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Organizers hope the culinary tour will encourage Americans to enjoy St Patrick’s Day in a way that reflects contemporary Irish and IrishAmerican tastes. For more information, visit here. ♦

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