That first column in January is usually where Mystic Menu pulls out its edible crystal ball to predict the future of the food world for the coming year, an increasingly difficult task as Covid still stalks the world, continuing to wreak particular havoc with the hospitality sector.
Last January, he predicted that the overwhelming public response to Covid, which has flocked in droves to support Irish premium food producers, especially small producers integrated into our local communities, would increasingly become a buying habit for Irish consumers. , and he hasn’t seen anything in the past 12 months to contradict that notion.
He also noted that restaurants and hotel companies that have embraced innovation and change as a necessary response to the challenges of the pandemic would fare best and this has also turned out to be the case, with many now producing also products for retail shelves to complement their internal offerings.
The menu predicts a big year ahead for Kristin Jensen, Ireland’s most respected cookbook publisher, who launched a kickstarter campaign last year to raise capital to build her own food publishing brand. , Blasta Books.
However, as an editor with over two decades of experience, she is well versed in the logistical challenges and costs of bringing the traditional cookbook (typically over 250 pages) to market, which means publishing opportunities are very limited.
Wanting to focus on under-represented voices and areas of Irish food culture, Kristin opted for an alternate format: a bright, almost pop-art design, A5 size, 72 pages, 30 recipes, no infill; each version, part of a series, that Irish readers could each buy to build a colorful collection on the shelves.
The first, Taco, by Lily Ramirez-Foran of Picado Mexican, Dublin, shares Lily’s passion and knowledge for Mexican cuisine, as she offers the authentic flavors of Mexico, from real corn tortillas to smoked chili peppers, assorted. at the best of Irish produce.
It’s been a long time in the ‘remake’, beset by construction delays and then the impact of the pandemic, but it looks like the luxury five-star Cashel Palace hotel in Co Tipperary will finally reopen on March 1 after a massive project reconstruction financed by JP Magnier. It will be managed by that legend of Irish hospitality, the much loved Adriaan Bartels, who has overseen the launches of Sheen Falls and The Cliff House in Ardmore, also ensuring their in-house restaurants achieve Michelin stars.
Bartels and chef Stephen Hayes (who ran the kitchen at Mikey Ryan’s neighboring gastropub) both insist that Michelin is not in their plans for CP kitchens, but The Menu believes that what promises to be being one of Ireland’s healthiest hotels is about to cause a stir at home and abroad, and will indeed serve excellent food.
A recent trip to Limerick presented the menu well at The Salt Project food truck owned and operated by Caomhán de Brí, a young chef with substantial experience already under his belt, including time at Gordon Ramsay’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Maze. , five years as head of development for the catering company, ISS, in Dublin, and several months working alongside Kwanghi Chan to help Chan launch his Asian street food truck, Bites by Kwanghi, featured in Battle of the Food Trucks by RTÉ.
The menu’s unique sample of Gubbeen’s delicious chorizo potato croquettes and Irish steamed roast chicken meatballs was more than enough to mark Caomhán as a chef to watch and when he finally pulls his trailer out of the kitchen. road and settles into its gloriously located new brick and mortar venue, The Salt Project, in Co Sligo, later this year, featuring fine dining, boutique accommodation, a wellness center and sumptuous views, The Menu believes that we will see the birth of a very promising new addition to the Irish portfolio in the West.
The impact of Covid on the hospitality industry has had a very obvious impact on the operation of the prestigious Michelin Guide.
The menu wouldn’t be surprised to find several Cork restaurants in the city and county calculation currently riding a wave of creativity, talent and innovation in the kitchen, and names to watch out for include: The Glass Curtain in Cork city, Cush in Ballycotton, Dunmore House Hotel outside Clonakilty and Sage Midleton, under the direction of new chef Darren Kennedy, although the latter is only beginning his tenure in the kitchen of East Cork, having run the very wonderful St Francis Provisions in Kinsale.
We’re a long way from being out of the woods, however, and 2022 could prove to be very heartbreaking for hospitality as the fiscal reality of the pandemic hits home, especially when state supports are cut entirely. There will be closures and businesses will be lost, so it is up to all of us to do our best to continue to support the sector in difficult times, just as they once provided us with some of our best social executives in the best times. of yesteryear.
Last year, Mystic Menu’s most fervent prediction for 2021 – when the next vaccine seemed to promise full release – was that we could all enjoy the unhindered and unmasked company of family and friends on a wild New Year’s Eve in knees. Older and wiser we now know different and restrictions still prevail, but it’s not as bad as last year, so enjoy your smaller, safer gatherings and raise your glass to a brighter future.