Killybegs-based chef Mairead Anderson will become the latest chef from the county to fly the flag for Donegal when she heads to Kinsale this weekend to represent the county at the 9th All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off.
The Galway native came to Donegal in 1996 when she attended college in Killybegs and she eventually settled here with her college romance Garry, with whom she has two children, Jamie (12) and Bethany (9).
Indeed Garry’s influence is to be found in Mairead’s winning entry, something she is quick to acknowledge.
“Seafood chowder is Garry’s recipe. Garry was a chef for 20 years and in my opinion his chowder is exactly what seafood chowder should be – done traditionally and finely tuned over the years.”
The All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off will feature professional restaurant chefs and makers of commercial chowders, each selected to represent their county, in competition for the title of All-Ireland Chowder Champion.
Mairead will be travelling to the competition confident that their chowder, made to Garry’s recipe, will be well in the running.
“Garry’s chowder is made using the stock of the finest fish like turbot and monk. We make a roux and it is made slowly and with a lot of love. It is made using only the finest ingredients, but Garry does add a secret ingredient that makes the chowder his own.”
Head of Enterprise in Donegal, Michael Tunney, took the opportunity to wish Mairead and Garry – who own the Seafood Shack in Killybegs – the very best of luck in the competition, describing them as “great ambassadors for the county.”
He added that the opportunity to attend the All-Ireland Chowder competition is just one of many benefits of being involved and active in the Food Coast in Donegal.
“Donegal Food Coast has the role of acting as a central platform for establishing Donegal as a “food county” – a place with a vibrant food culture and food economy.
There has been real momentum building across this sector and it is all about raising awareness of what we have on our county locally and what we can do with our produce. We are delighted to be in a position to assist and ensure that Donegal is represented at this prestigious national competition.”
Mairead is certainly glad of the opportunity. “We are really looking forward to representing Donegal in the 9th All Ireland chowder championship and are determined to bring more recognition to the county in our own way by taking part.”
Anyone interested in finding out more about the Food Coast in Donegal should contact Margaret Campbell at the Local Enterprise Office – firstname.lastname@example.org or 0749160735.
Local Enterprise Office Donegal is supported through co-funding from the Irish Government and the European Regional Development Fund 2014 – 2020.