Friday saw the first FoodCamp take place in Ireland and right here in Kilkenny. The Ormonde Hotel was the venue, one I’ve used myself before for these kind of events having organised the first PodCamp for the country (and that venue) a few years ago. I’d signed up for my ticket a week or two ago though wound up there in a professional capacity, looking after the sound recording of the majority of the speaker sessions for the day. I’ll be reviewing the audio after the weekend and hopefully delivering some podcasts to Savour Kilkenny in a few days time.
The day was designed to bring together Irish foodies, food bloggers, local artisan producers and food industry types to share ideas, expertise and knowledge on all areas of food. Talks kicked off shortly after 10:15am, the first one I managed to catch being a joint delivery from Sally McKenna and Donal Doherty on the use of social media in relation to food business.
While the talks, a great source of inspiration for those in attendance (and a kick for me to get the food blog off the ground), were informative and all well received, the highlight for me was the lunch.
Now, I’ll hold my hands up and say that I didn’t get to bring anything along with me on the day bar a few Nature Valley bars for nibbling on during the day. In my haste to get all my recording gear together, the family red rice salad didn’t make it into the van but I’ll be sure to bring it the next time. The reason it turned out to be such a highlight was that those registering for tickets could take a free ticket while being encouraged to bring lunch enough for two. This led to a crammed buffet table at the back of the downstairs suite packed full of local and regional produce and baked goodies from those braving the kitchen from the early hours of the morning.
Duck, Spinach & Feta Puff Triangles, sausage rolls, ham, pate, noodles, rice, Highbank Apple Juice, Helvick Blonde Ale (from the Dungarvan Brewing Company), chocolates, brownies, fresh breads and much more were all on offer. Hat tip to whoever prepared and brought up the incredible amount of pork (near the left of the table), forgot to get your name.
A panel discussion continued the way after lunch looking at digging Ireland out of the recession, a discussion which provoked some great questions from the floor and a rallying cry from those involved to look at rebuilding our economy by starting locally, and through food. There was also Health Tips For Foodies, the launch of the Irish Food Bloggers Association, a talk from Philip McCabe on Honey (The oldest medicine known to mankind), a session on connecting farmers and the general public and plenty more besides.
As I’d mentioned, as soon as the recordings are complete I’ll publish the links here, via Event Media and over at SavourKilkenny.com.
The consensus by the day’s end was that the first FoodCamp was a success, doing exactly as it had intended and more. Hopefully the baton will be carried and the event will grow legs and get to Cork, Dublin, Galway or other centres. Here’s hoping too that it makes a return to the Savour Kilkenny Food Festival for 2011. Next time I’ll bring a dish.