Tipperary Food Producers Christmas Cookery Extravaganza Success

Tipperary Food Producers preparing for their 'Christmas Cookery Extravaganza which will take place in Clonmel, Co Tipperary on November 10  - Pat Whelan of James Whelan Butchers and Chairperson of the Tipperary Food Producers, Noreen O’Donovan from the Apple Farm, Cate McCarthy of The Cookie Jar; Daniel Traas from the Apple Farm,  Nuala Hickey of Hickey's Bakery and Gary Gubbins Red Nose Wine - check out  www.tipperaryfoodproducers.com for further information - Photo John D Kelly

Tipperary Food Producers preparing for their 'Christmas Cookery Extravaganza which will took place in Clonmel, Co Tipperary on November 10 - Pat Whelan of James Whelan Butchers and Chairperson of the Tipperary Food Producers, Noreen O’Donovan from the Apple Farm, Cate McCarthy of The Cookie Jar; Daniel Traas from the Apple Farm, Nuala Hickey of Hickey's Bakery and Gary Gubbins Red Nose Wine - check out www.tipperaryfoodproducers.com for further information - Photo John D Kelly

500 foodies joined the Tipperary Food Producers at their first unique Christmas Cookery Extravaganza in association with Bord Bia on Wednesday evening, November 10 at The Clonmel Park Hotel.

The Tipperary Food Producers formed an avenue of the Tastes of Tipperary for the festive season and it went down a storm. Canapés and wine was followed by an informative cookery demonstration by Bord Bia Chef Sheila Kelly, Sarah Baker of Cloughjordan Cookery School and Pat Whelan of James Whelan Butchers, a whole variety of delicious festive dishes were prepared using only local Tipperary produce featuring some traditional home favourites and some very creative new treats which went done superbly with the 500 strong audience.

Expert wine tips from Jane Boyce MW, a Master of Wine and an independent Wine Consultant were on offer; Jane pointed out some delicious fragrant wines to suit the variety of dishes from the cookery demonstration; her twenty eight years of experience in the Wine trade provided some very insightful snippets.

The evening was organised by the members of the Tipperary Food Producers Network who combined to showcase the very best artisan food from throughout the county resulting in an exceptional array of tastes.

Commenting on the evening success was Chairperson of the Tipperary Food Producers Network and food Producer Pat Whelan, “We are delighted with the sell out success of this evening, and it is really heartening to see the huge amount of people here this evening all supporting local produce, local producers and local jobs. The ethos of the Tipperary Food Producers Network is well and truly alive here this evening with everyone very much enjoying the very best quality and tastes on offer on our doorstep.”

The evening had an exciting digital and media element to it with the RTE ‘Ear to the Ground’ team filming the nights activities and a live Twitter panel of journalists, food writers and 4 students from the Food Connect programme discussing the merits of local produce on conversation #tippfood.

Ear to the Ground are filming the innovative ‘Food Connect’ programme which has been recently launched by the Tipperary Food Producers Network with eleven secondary schools in North and South Tipperary.

The ‘Food Connect’ project involves matching eleven schools with eleven local food producers involving Transition year students to work with a food producer on a food production project gaining experience in all aspects of business from developing the produce to sales to marketing resulting in a broader knowledge of local food production and the business sector.

Commenting on the ‘Food Connect’ Programme Pat Whelan said, “So far the students on the Food Connect programme have been hugely enthusiastic and are learning the businesses from the ground up, it is a fantastic introduction to entrepreneurship and we are committed to passing along business tips and experience to future business owners, offering them the knowledge and introducing them to skills which may enable them to create their own jobs in this economic climate.”

During the programme four students represent their group and each spend a week each in the producer’s premises learning about the business. Students use up to the minute technology while working on the ‘Food Connect’ programme reporting daily progress on a blog which is seen by all other students in their own class and more importantly the students from the other 10 schools. Students also use Facebook and Twitter to communicate about their partner producer which helps to build the profiles of all 11 producers involved online.

The eleven projects will conclude in December 2010 with a presentation by each class to a panel of judges about their findings and successes during the project. In early 2011 two perpetual trophies, one for North Tipperary and one for South Tipperary will be presented for the schools where outstanding effort is recognised.

The overall project objective brings producers and students together with the aim of increasing the producers profile within the county, encouraging more consumers to support local foods and offers the students an insight into the commercial world of artisan food production.

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