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ISSUE 10 2019

A Perfect Storm?

With no reduction in the VAT rate, what’s next for the hospitality sector?

Let’s talk about Food

JP McMahon on this year’s Food on the Edge

Glory Awards

Celebrating the winners at this year’s Gold Medal Awards

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Eve An IF S to nt bro A you ugh CA TEX by th t tea e m

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Go to hotelandcatering for the online edition

Contents ISSUE 10 2019







The Armada Hotel in Spanish Point, Co Clare had reason to celebrate at this year’s Gold Medal Awards. Winning not just the Wedding Hotel of the Year award along with the Front of House Team award, the hotel brought the much coveted Supreme Winner award back to Miltown Malbay






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Susie Hamilton

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A PERFECT STORM Budget 2020 brought us €40m for tourism in the event of a no-deal Brexit, but no reduction in the vat rate. so what now for Ireland’s hospitality sector?

THE ARMADA REIGNS SUPREME Frank Minogue, GM at the Armada Hotel, talks about what it takes to be named Supreme Winner at the Gold Medal Awards

ROLE OF VEA SECTOR IN IRELAND Ireland’s visitor attractions are experiencing a 10% slowdown in 2019, according to an AVEA member survey

LET’S TALK ABOUT FOOD With Food on the Edge, JP McMahon has created a food-centred event unlike anything else in the country. He talks to Hotel & Catering Review about funding and the theme of this year’s event

GOLD MEDAL AWARDS 2019 Take a look at who won what at this year’s Gold Medal Awards, an event that celebrates the extraordinary achievements of the Irish hotel and catering sector over the past 12 months



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Editor Denise Maguire Creative Director: Jane Matthews Art Director: Áine Duffy

Welcome to issue 10 of Hotel & Catering Review 2019

Designer: James Moore Photography: Food on the Edge, Shane O’Neill, Ballynahinch Castle, Irish Guild of Sommeliers, Welbilt, DELI-LITES, Dunnes Stores,, Minibar Systems, Jenn-Air, Baidu, Percipia, Hodder & Stoughton, Brewer’s Publications, Penguin, Dan Dennison Stock Photography iStock Infographics: Production: Claire Kiernan Sales Director: Trish Murphy Managing Director: Gerry Tynan Chairman: Diarmaid Lennon

Published by: Ashville Media, Unit 55 Park West Road, Park West Industrial Estate, Dublin 12, D12 X9F9. Tel: (01) 432 2200 ISSN: 0332-4400 All rights reserved. Every care has been taken to ensure that the information contained in this magazine is accurate. The publishers cannot, however, accept responsibility for errors or omissions. Reproduction by any means in whole or in part without the permission of the publisher is prohibited. © Ashville Media Group 2019. All discounts, promotions and competitions contained in this magazine are run independently of Hotel & Catering Review. The promoter/advertiser is responsible for honouring the prize.



Editor’s View For this month's issue, we sat down with JP McMahon, restaurateur and founder of Food on the Edge, to talk about the two-day symposium taking place on the 21st and 22nd of October. Now in its fifth year, the event is supported by Failte Ireland and Bord Bia. The lack of government support is conspicuous, considering the government-led drive to make Ireland a food destination. The powers that be are, says JP, missing the point; there's an opportunity to expand and build upon the event which ironically has much more kudos abroad than it does at home. For more on this, turn to page 28. We also caught up with Frank Minogue, General Manager at the Armada Hotel in Spanish Point. Frank and the team were the big winners at this year's Gold Medal Awards, winning three gongs including the Supreme Winner award. Frank talks about what it means to win the overall award and what's in store for the hotel over the coming 12 months. Winners of the acclaimed Blas na hÉireann awards were also announced recently, with Green Pastures Donegal Soft Cheese taking the Supreme Champion Award and Burren Balsamics from Co. Armagh named Best Artisan Product. The criteria on which all entries are judged as well as the judging system itself are now recognised as an industry gold standard worldwide. For more on Ireland's celebrated food 'Oscars', turn to page 48. The Gold Medal Awards once again took place at the Lyrath in Kilkenny and once again, Martin King took to the podium to keep the 500-strong audience entertained. To take a look at who won what and who wore what, turn to page 33.

Editor: Denise Maguire Email: denise.maguire@

If you have any thoughts on this issue, feel free to drop me a line!

Denise Maguire | @HC_Review |


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t he cast le | t h e lodg e | t h e old s ta b l e m e w s

A rural retreat in the heart of Ireland…


estled on 1,000 acres of undulating Irish countryside, dotted with ancient woodland and glittering lakes, Castle Leslie Estate is one of the last great Irish estates still in the hands of its founding family. Steeped in history, full of character and charm, it is the ultimate Irish rural escape.

Only 80 minutes from Dublin and 60 minutes from Belfast, Castle Leslie Estate boasts a variety of accommodation and activities to suit all tastes. The Castle, at the heart of the Estate, offers authentic original interiors and old-style hospitality and is a complete respite from the world. The Lodge is the social hub of the Estate, a country house boutique hotel that brings locals and guests together in an atmosphere of conviviality and comfort. The Old Stable Mews and Village Cottages are the perfect spot for groups that want the convenience of hotel living combined with private luxury home rental.

Castle Leslie Estate offers an idyllic setting for outdoor activity and adventure. Explore the Estate on horseback, enjoy some of Ireland’s finest coarse fishing, take in a movie at our private cinema, luxuriate in a relaxing massage in the Victorian treatment rooms, exhilarate in a abundance of outdoor adventures, or just borrow a pair of wellies from our boot room and go for a stroll on our 1,000 acres – just some of the choices that await you in this hidden corner of Ireland.

Voted Ireland’s Favourite Place to Stay 2019, for the third year in a row.

An Overnight Escape to include one nights sublime accommodation, a hearty full Irish breakfast and a wonderful 5 course dinner in our 2 AA Rosette award winning Snaffles Restaurant starts from €110 per person sharing.

Castle Leslie Estate, Glaslough, Monaghan

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t: + 353 47 88 100

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News News

Your monthly round-up…

Ollie Keenan

OLLIE IS ALL-IRELAND SODEXO CHEF OF THE YEAR Ollie Keenan from Ballinode in Co Monaghan has been named Sodexo AllIreland Chef of the Year for 2019, winning gold for his sustainable themed menu. Ollie will now compete in front of a live audience at the Sodexo UK and Ireland Grand Final at the HRC Show (formerly Hotelympia) in London in March 2020. The theme of this year’s competition was ‘Celebrating Our Sustainable Future’ and the focus was on the creative use of sustainable ingredients that support the Future 50 Foods initiative. Ollie impressed the judges with his starter of wild mushroom and wild rice Asian dumpling, followed by chicken supreme with potato puree, roast baby vegetables, wilted kale and spinach, micro watercress, smoked bacon and parmesan cream and a dessert of chocolate fondant, almond crumble, poached pear and crème Chantilly.

APPOINTMENTS Four new members of staff are joining the meeting and events team at The K Club. John Costelloe has been announced as the new Director of Sales, Xavier Perche has been appointed Director of Food and Beverage, Emma Madigan is the new Sales Manager and Elaine Dunne has joined the team as Assistant Director of Sales. Trish Walsh has taken over the helm as Director of Business Development at Glenlo Abbey Hotel. Originally from Galway, Trish returns to her roots with great plans to build on the current business including room sales, events and private dining offerings at the venue.




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John Costello

Xavier Perche

Emma Madigan

Elaine Dunne

Trish Walsh

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News IRELAND’S FIRST FOREST SPA LAUNCHES Aqua Sana Longford Forest at Center Parcs has officially opened its doors. According to its owners, the new spa blends the forest environment into the spa experience, from the Scandinavianinspired Nordic Forest to the Hot Springs. The facility covers over 2,500 sq m and includes 14 treatment rooms.

BEST GIN ‘OSCAR‘ LEADS TO 25 NEW JOBS AT DRUMSHANBO DISTILLERY For the first time ever, an Irish gin brand has scooped the ‘Best Spirit Award’ at the Flaviar Awards in New York. The win for Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin has accelerated the creation of new jobs at The Shed Distillery; since the win, 10 new jobs have been added, growing employee numbers to 35 while a further 25 jobs, which are set to be added over the next 18 months, will bring the total number of employees to 60. Amidst Brexit uncertainty, Distillery founder Patrick J Rigney said the whole sector had to work harder and find creative solutions. “Brexit implications are a challenge for everybody in our sector. We are pressing ahead with investment in our €2 million Visitor Experience and new job creation, but we’re always sleeping with one eye open.”

The Shed Distillery team (l to r) Sean MacGabhann, Áine Herr, Brian Rigney and Karl McKeown

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IRELAND HAS HIGHEST SHARE OF TOURISMRELATED JOB OPENINGS IN EUROPE Data gathered by Indeed points to a buoyant jobs market in the Irish tourism industry. In a recent survey, job postings which mentioned tourism or hospitality in their titles had the highest share of total postings in Ireland, outstripping other European countries examined such as the UK, Italy and Germany. The research showed that demand for workers in the Irish tourism industry has increased by 7% in the past four years, accounting for 8,056 job postings per million in 2019, up from 6,547 job postings per million in 2016. The challenge for the sector is that despite a large increase in people searching for roles in the Irish tourism sector – up 18% in the past four years – the industry is still beset by shortages of skilled labour. The number of job postings is currently 21% higher than the number of searches and as Ireland approaches full employment, it may become increasingly difficult to fill these roles.



Limerick Strand Hotel lends a hand to UMHL Limerick Strand Hotel has offered its support to its neighbour, the Neonatal Unit at University Maternity Hospital Limerick (UMHL), by making three free car park spaces available for visiting parents near the entrance of the hotel’s car park from 10am to 4pm. The spaces are specifically for the Neonatal Unit at the Maternity Hospital, as very premature babies require regular care and consistent breast milk feeding for the first few weeks/months. “Limerick Strand is renowned for championing local charities and associations and was spurred to action on this local initiative after one of their former staff members faced a similar experience when her baby was born prematurely. We hope this service will help relieve any unnecessary stress for the families involved,” said General Manager, Stephen O’Connor.


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NEW EAT-IN SPACE AT THE DOCKSIDE DELI The Dockside Deli by Galway Bay Seafoods has launched a new casual dining “Eat In” area at Galway’s Docks. Chef at The Dockside Deli, Dara O’Neill, said: “This is such an exciting project and one I’m very proud to be a part of. With fresh fish and seafood coming straight off the fishing boats at The Docks into us to prepare and serve - you just can’t get fresher than that! Having fishermen, fishmongers and chefs working together in such close proximity and for visitors to get to experience that entire seafood experience first-hand, is something really unique.”

KLAW SUPPORTS RNLI For the month of October, the RNLI is asking people and restaurants to take part in the lifesaving charity’s annual foodie fundraiser, Fish Supper, to help save lives at sea. Niall Sabongi’s Klaw and The Seafood Café in Temple Bar will add a discretionary €2 to customer’s bills and clients of his wholesale seafood business Sustainable Seafood Ireland (SSI) will also be asked to support the life-saving, 24 hour search and rescue service. Speaking on the campaign, Niall said: ‘I am delighted to support the RNLI’s Fish Supper campaign. In my business we rely on small fishing boats around the Irish coast to bring in our fresh catch and supply restaurants with the best in Irish fish. This time of year, we are getting into rougher weather and stormy seas and it is good to know that the RNLI are there if we need them.’ Anyone can sign up online to host their own Fish

Supper for friends and family or simply join in with the raft of Fish Suppers being organised by local RNLI fundraising teams, lifeboat crew volunteers and businesses across Ireland for the month of October. Simply sign up at

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THE MORRISON REDUCES WASTE WITH REUSABLE WATER BOTTLES The Morrison Hotel has begun placing a pair of ‘JUST Water’ bottles in every guest room in an effort to reduce its plastic usage by two tonnes annually. The eco-friendly and reusable bottles can be refilled from filtered water dispensers throughout the hotel, encouraging guest to fill and carry their bottle on the move. The bottles are 100% recyclable, being mainly composed of 54% paper and 28% plant based plastic.

BIG SCHOOL COOK OFF COMPETITION IS BACK The annual Mount Charles Big School Cook Off Competition, in association with SuperValu, launched recently with top chefs in Northern Ireland including Ian Orr, Noel McMeel, Niall McKenna, Danni Barry, Andy Rea and Michael Deane calling for students interested in cooking to get involved. The competition is open to all post primary school pupils across Northern Ireland and Donegal, aged between 11 and 14. Young people in teams of two are challenged to submit a main course recipe idea that feeds two, focusing on locally sourced ingredients that can be bought on a budget of a tenner. The recipes will be shortlisted on the 22nd of November, one per county, while the winning team from each county will progress to cook their recipe at the grand finale of the competition next March, in Belfast Met’s Titanic Quarter Campus.

NO MEN ALLOWED AT NEW MAJORCA HOTEL A hotel which caters for “women only” has opened up on the Spanish island of Majorca. The Som Dona Hotel in Porto Cristo is only open to guests who are women aged 14 and over and operates a ‘no men allowed’ policy. According to the owners, the 39-room boutique hotel is a destination for women looking to “disconnect from the stress of daily life and benefit from personalised care tailored to their needs.” Each room has a Queen-sized bed, comfortable furniture and four-star service specifically designed for women’s needs.




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e n i t d s e .. . r g nI

MARCIO LAAN ON WHY VENISON IS HIS FAVOURITE AUTUMNAL PRODUCE For me, autumn is a time when we welcome in long cosy nights with delicious comfort food. Venison is the perfect base ingredient for many delicious autumn recipes, my personal favourite being a hearty stew. The main appeal of venison, apart from its great flavour and tenderness, is that it’s a healthy meat to eat – low in fat and calories plus high in protein. Venison is specific to this time of year as hunting season starts in September. A time of year when foraged foods are abundantly available. Venison has a very different flavour to beef and it works well with a lot of seasonal fruit that I wouldn’t use with beef; for example, blackberries can be foraged locally and make a perfect accompaniment to the game meat. If you are not a huge fan of the gamey flavour of venison you can play around with fruits, vegetables and even some alcohols like Guinness and cider to create a stew personalised to your unique tastes. Viewmount House is located in the heartlands of Ireland and I strongly believe in using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. When sourcing venison, we use local butcher Lanesborough Meats and for additional ingredients, I use our garden here at Viewmount House to ensure that everything is fresh and of the highest quality. Marcio Laan is Head Chef at Viewmount House, Co Longford

The sights, sounds & tastes of West Clare on the Atlantic's Edge

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Winner of Ireland's 5 Star Hotel Spa Experience

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News Aimsir

MICHELIN STARS FOR FIVE IRISH RESTAURANTS Ireland has five new Michelin-starred restaurants and seven new stars. Aimsir, at Cliff at Lyons in Co Kildare, was awarded two stars despite only opening less than six months ago. The Greenhouse in Dublin won its second star while Ireland’s new one-star restaurants include the Oak Room at Adare Manor (head chef Mike Tweedie), Variety Jones in Dublin (chef proprietor Keelan Higgs), Bastion in Kinsale (chef proprietor Paul McDonald) and the Muddlers Club in Belfast (Gareth McCaughey). In addition, two of the three annual special-category awards were claimed by Irish restaurants. Enda McEvoy’s Loam in Galway won the sustainability award for 2020 and Jurica Gojevic, head of wines and beverage at Adare Manor, took the award dedicated to that profession. Liath in Blackrock (previously Heron & Grey) is also included in the 2020 guide as a one-star.

Mullingar hotel turns 40 Bloomfield House Hotel, Mullingar, is celebrating 40 years in business. In 1979, the number of bedrooms stood at 29; that grew to 111 in 2004. In 2012, following a €6 million investment in the hotel, Bloomfield House Hotel was officially awarded fourstar status from Fáilte Ireland. The hotel has a comprehensive renovation plan in place and most recently refurbished the lobby, bar, restaurant, function rooms and ballroom. Earlier this year, an extension was added to the Leisure Club reception and a private dining room off the restaurant was increased in size. The employment figure of 35 employees at the opening has increased to the current workforce of 134.

NEW NYX HOTEL FOR DUBLIN Jurys Inn is getting ready to roll out a new Nyx Hotel in Dublin’s Portobello. The 175-room hotel will overlook the Grand Canal and will feature a night-time venue with live music and DJs. It’s due for completion towards the end of 2021. Talking to The Sunday Independent, Jason Carruthers, Managing Director of Jurys Inn and Fattal Hotels in the UK and Ireland, which operates the Nyx brand in Ireland, said: “There’s a lot of association with the local community with the Nyx brand, particularly around art and music. Typically, the ground floor of a Nyx hotel is a lot more vibrant than a Jurys Inn. So there’ll be a very, very busy bar and lounge.”

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Eileen Fleming from FG Innovation Management gives her take on what GMs need to keep in mind when it comes to running a profitable hotel spa

NEW SENSORY BEDROOM AT RADISSON BLU HOTEL & SPA, SLIGO Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Sligo is the first hotel in Ireland to introduce a state-of-the-art sensory bedroom, specially designed by the Radisson Sligo Innovation Team. The room has been created to benefit children with autism, ADHD and a variety of other disabilities. It combines a range of stimuli to help children interact using their senses, with colourful lights, soft fabrics and music helping individuals to engage in an enjoyable and non-stressful way. The room also features a mobile sensory trolley, complete with a colour command interactive panel and waterless rainbow tube, allowing children to navigate through a spectrum of colours and patterns and a range of massage rollers, ear defenders and puppets to enjoy during their stay. An Aura Projector projects a series of tropical fish and bird imagery, while fibrotic lights allow guests to enjoy the beauty of a starry night from the comfort of their bedroom.





Nineteen new rooms for The Westin The Westin Dublin has unveiled a multi-million euro redesign and expansion, utilising space that was once part of the AIB sandstone building, located on the corner of Westmoreland Street and College Street. Led by Dublin-based architecture and interior-design firm, NODA, the project includes a restyle and expansion of the hotel’s iconic Atrium Lounge. It also includes the creation of an additional space, the Library and the addition of 19 new bedrooms overlooking Trinity College and Westmoreland Street. The renovation project showcases work by a range of Irish craftspeople and suppliers including Tom Delaney, O’Donnell Furniture and Cremins Moiselle.


When you are working with the sales and marketing team to create hotel packages, use less labour intensive spa treatments which will increase overall profitability. Remember, clients will generally always book a massage so why discount a treatment that’s guaranteed to get bookings? Discount treatments that are low selling to try and encourage renewed interest in the entire spa menu and not just key services. How can you give your spa more presence around your hotel? A personalised welcome note in the guest bedroom on arrival will generate more revenue than just leaving the spa brochure and hoping someone will find it and read it. Invite hotel reception staff, breakfast staff, concierge and key personnel to try out the spa to make sure they’re insightful about what it has to offer. These are the people who communicate with guests on a regular basis and so therefore they can help promote the spa. If you don’t already, include your spa manager in the monthly P&L meeting to ensure they have a clear understanding of the costs and outgoings in the spa. This is crucial in helping them to understand the financial implications of overstaffing, overstocking etc. Remember that they may need training and guidance on this.

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Potential Irish chef Gary O’Hanlon, launches TASTE OF PLACE TRAINING PROGRAMME


enowned Irish chef, Gary O’Hanlon, has teamed up with Fáilte Ireland to call on chefs across the country to participate in a Taste of Place training programme. Fáilte Ireland has identified a growing trend, at home and internationally, of tourists seeking out locally sourced dishes and the stories behind them. The Taste of Place training programme is designed to help chefs and culinary teams tap into this trend by providing stand-out local and seasonal cuisine to tourists. The programme will arm chefs with insights into how food motivates the tourist, provide the latest tourism trends and culinary concepts and underline the business benefits of sourcing locally. The workshops will take place in the following locations: • 22 – 23rd October, Cork Institute of Technology, Cookery demonstration with Gary O’Hanlon • 5 – 6th November, Airfield Estate, Cookery demonstration with Luke Mathews • 26 – 27th November, Athlone Institute of Technology, Cookery demonstration with Gary O’Hanlon Fáilte Ireland is calling on chefs to sign up to take part in the two-day workshops this October and November by emailing

€1M BOOST INVESTMENT FOR BIRR CASTLE GARDENS Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan recently unveiled several new interactive features in the Science Centre at Birr Castle Gardens which will bring to life the scientific history of the Castle and the story of the Parsons family who lived there since 1620. The significant enhancements to the Science Centre follow Fáilte Ireland investment of €50,000 and are expected to draw 35,000 visitors to the attraction over the next five years, generating up to €1.1 million in revenue. Visitors to the Science Centre, which is managed by Birr Science and Heritage Foundation, will be able to see a hologram of Mary Rosse, astronomical instruments and photographic equipment used by the Third and Fourth Earls and Mary, Countess of Rosse, in the middle and late 1800s. Also on display will be electrical and engineering equipment originally belonging to Charles Parsons and used in his experiments as well as a large area devoted to the botanical work carried out in the Demesne. This is one of 19 new technology-driven visitor experiences to open over the coming year across Ireland’s Ancient East as part of Fáilte Ireland’s Storytelling Interpretation Grants Scheme. This scheme is designed to transform the quality of interpretation, animation and storytelling at existing heritage and visitor attractions throughout Ireland’s Ancient East.


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A group of UK tour operators with Albatross Travel listening to Jim Maher The Storyteller at Malzard’s in Stoneyford, Co Kilkenny

HAVE YOU TAKEN Fáilte Ireland’s Brexit readiness check?

F TOP UK TRAVEL OPERATORS VISIT ‘IRELAND’S ANCIENT EAST’ AHEAD OF BREXIT With the Brexit deadline looming, Fáilte Ireland recently provided a platform for one of the largest group tour operators in the UK, Albatross Travel, to learn more about Ireland’s Ancient East as they prepare to sell a new tour of the region in their 2020 itineraries. The visit by nearly 20 UK tour operators was hosted by Fáilte Ireland, as the National Tourism Development Authority, in conjunction with Tourism Ireland. Albatross Travel is a leading wholesale partner for group travel with a client base of UK and Irish coach operators who currently offer 21 tours to Ireland. They have recently added a new tour to Ireland’s Ancient East to their 2020 brochure which is circulated throughout Europe. The new Ireland’s Ancient East tour is already being well received among their clients, with potential to extend further in the years ahead.



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áilte Ireland Brexit Readiness Check is the first step for any tourism business preparing for Brexit. It takes less than 10 minutes to complete and provides a useful report to help businesses prioritise and focus on key actions. It also offers practical advice and directs businesses to the specific Fáilte Ireland supports most relevant to their business. Speaking about the Brexit supports available to businesses, Helen McDaid, Manager of Enterprise & Hospitality Supports at Fáilte Ireland said: “We run a number of development programmes that offer insights and expertise from top tourism specialists and subject experts in the areas of selling internationally, B2B pricing, contracting, business performance and competitiveness. This is practical advice businesses of all sizes can use to adapt and prepare for Brexit.”

ACT NOW... Take the

Brexit Readiness test Today! • It’s Free



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Find out more at:

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Are you throwing your money away? With food waste costing Irish businesses ₏300M a year, working to reduce food waste makes sense. To find out more about how to reduce food waste in your business, save money and increase profits, download the Less Food Waste More Profit guide from Through the National Waste Prevention Programme, a Government of Ireland initiative, the EPA is working collaboratively with businesses and government organisations to reduce food waste, and contributing to meeting Ireland’s target of 50% reduction in food waste by 2030.

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Budget 2020

A PERFECT STORM Budget 2020 brought us €40 million for tourism in the event of a no-deal Brexit, but no reduction in the VAT rate. So what now for Ireland’s hospitality sector?

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Budget 2020


hen Budget Day came around, several industry commentators suggested Pascal Donohoe might have been better off taking a duvet day. This was a Budget with no surprises. The majority of key points had already been well flagged by the media days before the Minister took to his feet in the Dail. Although it deals with a variety of themes, Budget 2020 will forever be known as the ‘Brexit Budget’, with a €1.2 billion contingency fund announced to help ease the pain for the tourism, agri-food and fisheries sectors as well as small and medium businesses. In addition, funding of €40 million for “tourism-specific measures” and further assistance if necessary was announced. No rowback on the tourism VAT hike announced in last year’s Budget was forthcoming, a decision that has been widely condemned by industry experts. Michael Lennon, President of the IHF, said the increase in VAT from 9% to 13.5% has seriously undermined Irish tourism’s international competitiveness and the ability of hotels to re-invest in their business and local economy. The government’s failure to reduce the tourism VAT rate comes on the back of the latest IHF industry survey, a body of research that paints a stark picture of Ireland’s hospitality sector. Compared to this time last year, 57% of hotels have seen a fall in overall business levels while 33% report an increase. Business levels from the UK remain very challenging for hotels, largely as a result of uncertainty around Brexit and the marked drop in the value of Sterling in recent years. Some 78% of hotels have seen a fall-off in business from Britain compared to last year



while 60% report a decrease in business from Northern Ireland. Approximately 64% of hoteliers report that the weakness in the value of Sterling has had a negative impact on business levels, while risks associated with Brexit have resulted in 73% re-examining investment plans and taking a more cautious approach for next year. While tourism business from North America and the domestic market was stronger, results for these markets were still mixed. Some 36% of hoteliers report an increase in business from North America while 45% report an increase in business from Irish domestic tourism. Commenting on the results, Michael Lennon said: “Brexit is particularly challenging in light of our heavy reliance on visitors from the UK, which is even more pronounced for regional tourism businesses. A no-deal outcome would cause enormous difficulties for the hotel sector, creating the prospect of a drop of over 10% in tourism revenues from UK visitors and a decline in Irish consumer sentiment, which would have a knock-on effect on domestic tourism activity.” Visitor numbers from the UK to Ireland and particularly to the regions, are decreasing. According to the IHF, there are 300,000 less people travelling from Northern Ireland to the South. Diversification is essential but with a weakening, unstable economy in Germany and political uncertainty in the US, the Irish tourism sector is reliant on elements that are out of its control. “Seasonality is a major factor for regional and border areas. The West of Ireland and north of Galway to Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal are only getting about a 30% slice of the international business cake at the moment. Right now, there are 300,000 less people travelling from Northern Ireland to the South and that’s a problem.” With reports of restaurants being forced to close due to the high cost of doing business and the increased VAT rate, will hotels follow suit? “I haven’t seen any hotels closing and I don’t expect to, but they’re finding it very hard to make money and grow and we need to be growing. Ireland is open for business. We have plenty of empty beds, so let’s fill them.” With no action taken on the VAT rate the government has, says Lennon, failed to recognise the essential role that competitiveness plays in the tourism sector. This is, he said, a missed opportunity to rebalance the tax take from tourism at a time when economic indicators provide significant warning of a change in outlook. “A rate of 9% VAT is the appropriate level for Ireland and would put us mid-range in a European context. This is what the government should be looking at to ensure the long-term sustainable growth of our industry. We are now in a situation where we have a higher rate of tourism VAT than 27 European countries with which we compete. Add to this the challenges around Brexit and the 27% drop in the value of Sterling in recent years and you have a perfect storm.”

“The West of Ireland and north of Galway to Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal are only getting about a 30% slice of the international business cake. Right now, there are 300,000 less people travelling from Northern Ireland to the South and that’s a problem”


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Budget 2020

“IT’S SURVIVAL MODE FROM NOW ON” RESTAURATEUR ANTHONY GRAY FROM HOOKED AND EALA BHAN IN SLIGO TALKS ABOUT SEASONALITY, THE POTENTIAL EFFECTS OF A NO-DEAL BREXIT AND THE INCREASED VAT RATE Although business has been good for Anthony Gray this past summer, a decline in visitors from Northern Ireland and the UK has had a very noticeable effect on numbers coming into Hooked and Eala Bhan. “I could count on one hand the number of visitors I had over the summer months, which is very unusual considering our proximity to Enniskillen. It’s a pretty dismal situation. Sterling fluctuations are definitely having an effect.” The increased VAT rate is, says Anthony, a result of the government’s reluctance to consider anything beyond the salubrious confines of Dublin 4. “Our politicians don’t see rural Ireland or border counties that are so reliant on seasonal business. With the kids gone back to school, you could basically pull a plug on our restaurants here in Sligo. In my opinion, Shane Ross’ VAT report was carried out on businesses in Dublin 4.” UK and NI tourists aren’t choosing regional Ireland as a destination anymore, says Anthony. “They’re staying at home and getting better value for money; why would they come to Sligo? If it’s a no deal Brexit, I would be very worried. It’s the first time ever in my life that I’ve come in and looked at the rate of Sterling every morning. We’re definitely in unchartered waters as regards the effect it will have. My belief is that Britain will go into recession and if that happens, there will a knock-on effect on us all.” A decrease in the VAT rate is an absolute must, says Anthony. “We never in a million years thought it would stay at 9% forever but to increase it to 13.5% is unsustainable. There are lots of challenges for restaurants at the moment, including the ridiculous insurance debacle that’s just bringing businesses to their knees. I know some restaurateurs who, after paying out on extortionate claims, can’t get insured in the market. The cost of doing business is so high that it’s like we’re back in 2007 territory.” Dublin’s tourism sector may be performing well but that doesn’t reflect the rest of the country. “Rural Ireland is on its knees. We need motorways, proper infrastructure and broadband; we don’t need to be consistently hit with insurance hikes, sky-high rates and a 50% hike in VAT. Although we had a good summer, I would be very concerned for the business. I think we’re going to see a lot of closures from now until April next year. I also think the government is totally against SMEs and right now, it’s survival mode for the industry.”

BUDGET 2020 THE INDUSTRY’S RESPONSE Disappointing budget for tourism industry. No change to highest tourism VAT rate across Eurozone. No increase in funding for sector unless there is a no-deal. Even at that, Gvt estimates no deal cost at €390m and yet only €40m to be allocated in support. Missed opportunity. Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, CEO, Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC) on Twitter The VAT increase is crippling for a small restaurant. Every time the VAT bill comes around it’s, ‘How are we going to pay this?’ I haven’t paid myself in two months. Kevin O’Toole, chef at restaurant Chameleon, talking to The Irish Times about the restaurant’s recent closure The effects of Brexit are current. Contingency plans are too little too late. We need help now. The Irish hospitality sector gets the cold shoulder again. @KeepVat9 is what is required to keep restaurants alive. Mark McGowan, President at the Restaurants Association of Ireland on Twitter We welcome the announcement of a separate fund of €40m for tourism, in the event of a no-deal Brexit. We hope that this fund won’t be necessary, but it demonstrates the Government’s continued commitment to Irish tourism in these extraordinary times. Niall Gibbons, CEO, Tourism Ireland Tourism will get an extra €40m. Unclear if the €40m goes directly to businesses! VAT rate increase on restaurants and tourism sector raised €420m. Our ministers have failed the sector to help struggling businesses. Adrian Cummins, Restaurants Association of Ireland on Twitter The hospitality and tourism industry could in a flash spend €40m. But look, half a loaf is better than no bread. We have a lot of homeless kids, hospital bills, there’s only a limited amount of finance there with all that’s gone on. I think we have to be realistic. The way I would look at it for our own business is, I’m concerned. I’m really concerned about the Brexit fall out and the value of Sterling. John O’Neil, owner, Hamlet Court Hotel, Co Meath talking to the Irish Independent The allocation in Budget 2020 of €40 million for the tourism industry in a no-deal Brexit scenario is a significant investment. This will allow us to intensify our work to develop and support the tourism sector while also enhancing Ireland’s appeal as a tourist and conference destination. Paul Kelly, CEO, Fáilte Ireland

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IN WITH IMS Integrated Media Solutions (IMS) is an enhanced network solutions provider for multi-user environments in the hospitality, education and commercial sectors in ireland, the uk and europe


s a company, we are committed to creating and supporting high quality communication networks that are reliable, future proof and user friendly for our customers and partners. Our engineers and project management professionals are pioneering this industry forward through our top tier solutions and service management. The IMS story begins in 2003, when company directors Leo Colgan and Shane Hartigan sought to provide the best quality solutions for the technological difficulties of today’s high-density environments. Through their personal touch and our exceptional services, the company has developed into a leader in the information and communications technology sector. The aim of the company has remained the same since the beginning, with IMS expanding into new territories in the UK and Europe and company director Denis Ahern joining the team. IMS is now working with businesses in over 40 cities in Ireland, the UK and Europe.


• Integrity - we do what is right • Integration - we believe in seamless technology integration • Innovation - we adopt and develop new technology • People - we grow and support our people and customers


Connectivity IMS is a specialist in high-capacity broadband connections via fibre and dedicated point to point wireless links. We offer an end to end broadband solution which includes the provision, distribution and support of a highquality broadband service. IMS Connectivity comes with auto-failover



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availability, separation of admin network with dedicated public IP for admin and WAN Management. WiFi Integrated Media Solutions is a specialist in creating and managing bespoke WiFi solutions for hospitality, commercial, education and managed apartment complexes. We are a Tier 1 Hospitality Partner with Ruckus Networks, a highly reputed WiFi hardware provider to deliver high capacity WiFi for high density environments. Ruckus Wireless is the market-leading provider of high-density WiFi solutions, with almost 70% of the hospitality market and 86% of the world’s luxury properties relying on Ruckus WiFi. Ruckus’ unique selling point is its adaptive antenna technology which reduces noise, increases throughput and improves performance. Integrated Media Solutions installs Ruckus Wireless access points in optimal locations throughout a

building, ensuring 100% signal and connectivity to all users. IMS provides a WiFi hotspot with all its wireless installations. IP Phone Systems IMS offer a complete telephony solution for clients including hardware, software and SIP. Our clients range from large scale hospitality to small office environments. IMS provides SIP ‘VoIP’ lines which utilise an internet connection to make outgoing and incoming calls at much cheaper rates. This removes the need for a line rental and subsequent line rental fees. This is a simple, cost effective way to meet the demand of users and management. IMS has partnered with 3CX to provide customers with a software-based, open standards IP PBX that offers complete unified communications, out of the box. 3CX allows clients to install, manage and maintain their PBX with ease whether on an appliance, hosted servers or in the cloud.


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IPTV & Casting Systems IMS offers a complete IPTV solution for hospitality, student accommodation and residential apartment complexes. Our IPTV solutions focus on highquality in-room entertainment and interactive information delivery. There is a range of customisable features available to enhance and promote the property. IMS also provides a TV casting solution which is an interactive and desirable feature to add to our TV Distribution Systems. IMS’ casting solution provides each TV with its own Chromecast device, all of which can then be controlled with an onsite central controller. Digital Signage IMS offers a complete digital signage solution for hospitality, student accommodation and residential apartment complexes. IMS Signstix digital signage is a cloud-based digital signage software platform, giving users the ability to easily create, manage and deploy digital content to any device, anywhere in the world. This allows clients to display advertisements, notifications and brand signage. Video Conferencing Video conferencing has many benefits for organisations, from reduced travel costs to increased collaboration. Integrated Media Solutions provides video conferencing solutions for the small meeting room up to the large boardroom. We supply, install and support video conferencing solutions which are easy to use and can integrate

well with existing systems. IMS partners with hardware providers Logitech and Software providers Zoom. Consultancy Services Integrated Media Solutions offers a range of consultancy services designed to assist organisations with the development and achievement of their ICT objectives. These include ICT project management, SIP consultancy, network architecture, cyber security and network and systems monitoring. Our Projects Our portfolio consists of projects throughout Ireland, The UK and Europe and includes The Choice Hotel Group, The Dalata Group, Frasers Hospitality, The Saco Property Group, The Gleneagle Group, The Hodson Bay Group, The iNua Collection, The MHL Collection, The Radisson Group, Staycity Group, Tetrarch Hospitality and The Windward Group. Recent projects include installations in Venice, Paris, Hamburg, Berlin, Geneva, London and Dublin. Irish Office 1st Floor Ashbourne Hall Ashbourne Business Park Dock Road, Limerick, V94 NPE0 T: 00353 (0)61310752 E: sales@ W: UK Office 40 Bloomsbury Way, Lower Ground Floor, London WC1A 2SE T: 0044 (0) 2033551964 E: sales@ W:

Hospitality Partner

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17/10/2019 15:21


Frank Minogue, GM at the Armada Hotel, explains to Hotel & Catering Review what it takes to be named Supreme Winner at the Gold Medal Awards

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“Winning the Wedding award reassures us that we’re doing something right and more importantly, it lets our 100 plus couples know that we’re doing something right”


he Armada Hotel in Spanish Point scooped not one but three prestigious awards at this year’s Gold Medal Awards. Ireland’s Wedding Hotel, Ireland’s Front of House Team and the overall, much coveted Supreme Winner award, went to the hotel that attributes its success to the cohesiveness of its hardworking team and a continual investment programme. “The first time we were up on stage on the night was to receive the award for Wedding Hotel, which is a pretty important one for us. We’re a prominent wedding venue here on the west coast, we do in excess of 100 weddings a year. Winning the Wedding award reassures us that we’re doing something right and more importantly, it lets our 100 plus couples know that we’re doing something right,” said Frank Minogue, General Manager at the Armada. Previous ‘Supreme Award’ winners include Mount Juliet, Adare Manor and Kelly’s Resort Hotel & Spa. “We feel privileged to be recognised among hotels of that calibre. These are venues that we look up to, we aspire to be as innovative as they are. To be recognised at an event like the Gold Medal Awards with your peers is just amazing.” The Front of House award is testament to the dedication and loyalty of the team, says Frank. “I’ve been General Manager for nine years and in that time, we’ve always

had an incredible team. Many staff members have been here since before I came. Teamwork is paramount and that’s what won it for us on the night, particularly the Supreme Award. For me, first and foremost, it’s all about the team. That would be my mantra; no matter what type of property you have or how beautiful it is, if you don’t have the right team, it can all fall apart.” The final phase of an extensive bedroom refurbishment is due to complete at the Armada Hotel in January, bringing the total room number to 111. “In 2021, we’re looking to extend the restaurant and we’re also looking at adding spa facilities to the hotel. It’ll give us another dimension and create a new focal point for the venue. We’re always looking forward; the hotel’s owner, John Burke, has invested heavily in the hotel over the past few years. He’s genuinely interested in improving the venue on an ongoing basis.” Right now, business is good at the Armada. “Weekend weddings are a substantial part of our business. The remainder of the week can be challenging at this time of the year, but we have a lot of ongoing promotions that draw in the domestic market. We’re looking forward to the next phase here at the Armada. It’s onwards and upwards!”

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rganised by Margaret Andreucetti, Food & Bev Live Sales the industry Manager with Patrick Clements, IFSA Chairman for the industry, Food & Bev Live returns to the Citywest Hotel on the 4th and 5th of February 2020. Continuing the event’s history of celebrating excellence, next year’s show will see the launch of the IFSA’s – The Irish Foodservice Supplier Awards. A first of its kind in Ireland, the IFSA’s are a brand-new awards scheme specifically aimed at highlighting product and service innovation within the foodservice industry. With six categories including best sustainable packaging product, best sustainable food product, energy efficiency our members continually bring to innovation and supplier of market each year. Categories have the year, the awards will be judged by been chosen to take into account an independent panel, with a wealth of innovation across all product sectors knowledge specific to the Industry. from catering equipment, disposables, Speaking about the launch of tableware, services and of course, the awards and the importance of actual food and beverage products. providing a two day show that delivers “For 2020 the theme of the for both exhibitors and visitors, Patrick inaugural IFSA’s will be ‘Innovation for Clements, IFSA Chairman said: “Food a Sustainable Future’, a timely focus & Bev Live is a unique event that highlighting the industry’s response caters to those owning, operating and to the very real environmental crisis working in foodservice, hospitality and which we are all facing as suppliers,” leisure establishments across Ireland Patrick added. Entries to the awards and Europe. As THE trade event for are now open and winners will be the sector in 2020, we are thrilled to announced on the 4th February, the be launching the IFSA’s at the show, first day of Food & Bev Live 2020. aimed at showcasing the wealth of Celebrating Ireland’s dynamic innovation and technology which



foodservice industry and in an increasingly competitive market, Food & Bev Live 2020 will continue the event’s rich history of celebrating excellence within the industry and will play host to world-class competitions including the National Barista Championships, the Irish Cocktail Championships and the hotly contended Chef Ireland Culinary Competitions. Ireland’s first National Pizza Championships will be launched at the show in association with the Associazione Pizzerie Italiane (API) and will see chefs from across Ireland battle it out to be crowned National Pizza Champion. Bursting with industryspecific attractions that serve up inspirational solutions for Ireland’s foodservice and hospitality sectors, Food & Bev Live is a unique opportunity for exhibitors and visitors alike to attract business from leading industry associations across the sector. Taking place on the 4th and 5th February 2020 at the Citywest Events Centre, Dublin, Food & Bev Live is the hospitality event of 2020 not to be missed! For more information on the IFSA’s or to secure your space at the event, please call EventHaus on +353 (0) 1 846 0020 or visit


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17/10/2019 15:15

Industry News


can play role in neutralising industry challenges So far this year, Ireland’s visitor attractions are experiencing a 10% slowdown The theme of this year’s AVEA (Association of Visitor Experiences and Attractions) National Conference, which was held recently in Limerick’s Thomond Park, was ‘Ireland’s VEA Sector – Vibrant, Evolving and Agile’. Speaking at the event, incoming AVEA Chairman Niall O’Callaghan, Managing Director at Shannon Heritage, talked about how 2019 hasn’t lived up to visitor expectations so far. “While the VEA sector remains positive, performance will be down by up to 10% on 2018. Clouds are gathering on the horizon for Irish tourism; Brexit, market competitiveness and more unstable geosocial and political environments in many of our key international markets. Now is the time for a close working relationship with government to realise how a championed VEA sector can play an even greater role in neutralising some of these obvious challenges. Tourism is a vital part of the national economy, creating jobs in rural Ireland where other industries are not located.” Niall also cited the increasing costs of doing business as a real concern, impacting on the competitiveness of the entire tourism industry. “The continued increase in insurance premiums are welldocumented and will damage the sectors’ ability to evolve and grow – in some cases our members have had to cancel events as insurance premiums simply make them unsustainable.” Paul Carty, current AVEA Chairman and Managing Director at Diageo Irish Brand Homes, talked about the AVEA annual survey which identified the negative impact the increased VAT rate is having on the sector. “Some members are working on far tighter margins than ever before in order to remain price competitive, as well as

concerns regarding funding for capital intensive heritage attractions given their importance as national treasures. These are real concerns that we want to work collaboratively with government to ensure a future-proofed VEA sector.” At the conference, AVEA also launched its first Responsible Tourism Initiative with the National Biodiversity Centre Director Liam Lysaght, who spoke at the event. Grainne Kelliher, CEO of Airfield estate and Vice-Chair of AVEA said: “A core initiative for 2019 was to develop a Responsible Tourism Charter to enable our members to develop or enhance their own sustainable tourism policies to ensure the long-term sustainability of the sector and protect our many heritage treasures so that future generations can continue to enjoy them. AVEA attractions are firmly rooted in Ireland’s cultural heritage and have survived countless generations; their ongoing prosperity is integral to delivering the narrative of our history.” Grainne continued: “Climate change is a key consideration for everyone and every business. We want to act now to address this challenge. It is also becoming important for visitors when choosing a holiday destination too. Many AVEA members have been actively engaged in sustainable practices – water and energy conservation, environmental protection and conservation, waste management and accessibility. We now need to show and tell our visitors how seriously we take sustainability, by raising the bar to drive the sustainability ethos amongst our AVEA members, the communities in which we are located and in the wider Irish tourism industry.”

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WHISKEY LOVERS Irish Distillers launches Midleton very rare 2019 and online members’ programme with sale of rare vintages


rish Distillers has unveiled the eagerly awaited Midleton Very Rare 2019, alongside the launch of the ‘1825 Room’, an online members’ programme for discerning whiskey lovers to delve further into the pinnacle of Irish whiskey. The 36th edition in the renowned and highly collectable range has been masterfully blended from whiskeys laid down at Midleton Distillery, Co Cork, over the past four decades. Crafted by Master Distiller Brian Nation, Midleton Very Rare 2019 combines only hand-selected single pot still and single grain Irish whiskeys of exceptional quality and rarity within the Midleton inventory. With each whiskey having been matured exclusively in lightly-charred exbourbon American oak barrels for between 13 and 34 years, 2019 marks the oldest collection of casks used to create a Midleton Very Rare. “Each year, for over 40 years, we have been setting aside very small amounts of the finest single pot still and single



grain distillates so that the Midleton Very Rare legacy can continue. I am delighted that our 2019 vintage is once again a whiskey of exceptional quality that fits beautifully into the family,” explains Brian. “This vintage features an extraordinary blend of whiskeys from the rarest casks in our collection, with the youngest whiskey in our 2019 vintage having been aged for 13 years, and the oldest dating back to 1985.” Midleton Very Rare 2019 is a whiskey of great depth and flavour that marries the spice of a pot still whiskey and the floral fragrance of grain whiskey with a layer of delightful sweetness from the finest bourbon casks. Offering ripe fruit and sugary notes that complement the charred American oak of the barrels, Midleton Very Rare 2019 is a luxurious liquid with a touch of spice that slowly fades to give way to charred oak and barley notes that linger. Bottled at 40% ABV, Midleton Very Rare 2019 is available globally from this month at the RRP of €180 in markets including Ireland, the UK, and the US.


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Q&A WITH GERARD GARLAND, GLOBAL IRISH WHISKEY AMBASSADOR, IRISH WHISKEY What’s the key to achieving the particular taste of Midleton Very Rare?

There are a number of reasons that Midleton Very Rare is a Whiskey of great depth and flavour. Firstly, it’s important to point out that each year, for over 40 years, we have been setting aside very small amounts of the finest Single Pot Still and Grain Distillates so that the Midleton Very Rare can continue its legacy. Secondly, we age these distillates in lightly charred American Bourbon Barrels. Thirdly, we marry the spice of the pot still and the floral fragrance of grain whiskey, which have been aged in lightly charred American bourbon barrels which also contribute an added layer of delicious sweetness to Midleton Very Rare.

Where do you get your barrels from?

All of the barrels used in Midleton Very Rare are made from white American oak, all grown in the eastern continental United States. The oak is then made into barrels in cooperages in Kentucky and Tennessee. The barrels are lightly charred and used to mature American Whiskey. We then ship them whole with distillery integrity to our distillery in Midleton Distillery where we fill them with the finest pot still and grain distillates.

In an increasingly crowded market, how do you make sure your whiskey stands out?

2019 is the 36th vintage year of Midleton Very Rare. It is the pinnacle of Irish whiskey. The Midleton Very Rare range has gained notability over the past 35 years for its series of rare, Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey and annual blended vintage. It was started by Barry Crockett in 1984 and he was the third generation of his family to be involved in distilling. It is the history, people, quality and tradition that you find in every bottle of Midleton Very Rare that sets it apart. To mark the release of its 2019 Midleton Very Rare vintage, Irish Distillers has launched the ‘1825 Room’, a members’ site to pay homage to Midleton Distillery’s outstanding influence on Irish distilling since its foundation in 1825. Offering exclusive content and features about Midleton Very Rare, the site – available to join now @ will also include an exclusive online store, with five rare vintages for sale from 2nd October for one month. To celebrate the launch of the 1825 Room, members will have the opportunity to purchase a bottle of the very first 1984 vintage at the price of £40 Irish punts, which equates to €50.80. In anticipation of demand being exceptionally high, purchasers will be selected through a ballot system. “The new 1825 Room gives us a unique opportunity to offer rare releases, which we have acquired over time or released from our archives, to whiskey fans and collectors around the world.” explains Brendan Buckley, International Marketing Director at Irish Distillers.

What’s the perfect dish to pair with a glass of Midleton Very Rare?

Midleton Very Rare and Bill Casey’s Shanagarry Smoked Salmon with Whiskey aioli!

Sales of whiskey increased significantly last year. What do you attribute that growth to?

The continued strong growth of Irish Whiskey has been helped by an international trend towards brown spirits, particularly whiskey. Irish Whiskey is fashionable, both at home and abroad. However, the recent rapid growth of both distilleries and global sales growth has also been driven by investment in the category by market leaders such as the makers of the Midleton Very Rare range – Irish Distillers – coupled with entrepreneurial zeal which has led to a new generation of start-up distilleries across the island of Ireland.

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18/10/2019 14:23

Food Heroes

let’s talk about


With Food on the Edge, JP McMahon has created a food-centred event unlike anything else in the country. Before the two-day symposium kicked off, JP McMahon spoke with Hotel & Catering Review about this year’s theme and why government funding is so critical




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17/10/2019 13:00

Food Heroes

WHERE DID THE IDEA FOR FOOD ON THE EDGE COME FROM? The idea came out of international events that I’d been to, like Terroir in Toronto, Cook it Raw in Norway and Mad in Denmark. There was nothing similar in Ireland that brought chefs together and was about educating and inspiring the industry. WHAT HAS THE INDUSTRY REACTION TO THE EVENT BEEN LIKE? There’s been a continuous balance of openness and opposition to it. On the openness side, there is a wonderful element of bringing chefs over to talk about food and food culture and that’s been there from the beginning. The resistance to it is still there in that people still see it as an industry event that’s closed off from the rest of the world. Some see it as this exclusive thing because you have a lot of top chefs speaking at it. We’re trying to change that perception; Food on the Edge is for everyone. It’s an event that’s trying to change food in every capacity. WHAT PROPORTION OF THE PUBLIC ATTEND? It’s predominantly an industry event, about 90-95% trade. Tickets go for between €300-€400. A lot of young chefs think that’s still too expensive but in my opinion, that’s still an affordable price and it’s giving young chefs the chance to encounter 50 different minds and put that knowledge into practice. I would love to make the tickets cheaper, but that would require more sponsorship. HOW MUCH INTEREST IN FUNDING AND “We want the SPONSORSHIP DO government to YOU GET? We have Bord Bia and Failte realise that some Ireland on board this year things are worth but really, we need the likes putting money of the Department of Agriculture on board. We behind. I think it need the big players to should be funded by recognise what we’re trying to do, which is to change bigger departments, food in Ireland. It still takes like the Department work to convince the government that it’s a of the Taoiseach worthwhile event as they which has funded work on quantity. Food on the Edge brings in 4000massive projects 5000 people and that’s not like The Gathering” enough for them. I’d love for tickets to cost about €150 to €200, but to halve the price of the ticket we would have to double the funding. Already, the event costs about €300,000 and ticket sales only amount to €100,000. So sponsorship is already €200,000. We want the government to realise that some things are worth putting money behind. I think it should be funded by bigger departments, like the Department of the Taoiseach which has funded massive projects like The Gathering. It’s a great international platform for Ireland and it has so much kudos abroad. In fact, it’s much more recognised abroad than it is at home. WHAT ARE THE COSTS INVOLVED IN THE EVENT? It’s a labour of love; people working on it are voluntary and all the chefs speak for free. Obviously we pay for their flights and accommodation but there’s no profit being made, we lose about €20,000 each year and it’s ourselves that pick up that loss. In the long term, we’ll have to think about ways to reconfigure the event if that side of it doesn’t change. We’ve gotten to year five though, which I think is amazing.

THE THEME OF THIS YEAR’S EVENT IS ‘MIGRATION’ Yes, it’s such an important topic right now in terms of people travelling all over the world. I think it’s easy to forget how food has changed due to people travelling. Our whole understanding of Italian food in Ireland is because of migration. The first restaurant I worked in was Italian, run by a chef from Naples and that has influenced my career and my love of Italian food. On a larger scale, we can’t control our food culture. We think we have an idea of what Irish food is, that it’s some sort of stable identity but it’s not. With the way migration is now, our food culture will change again in the next 50 to 60 years. We want to ask the international speakers, how has migration affected your food culture? What does it mean to be local, how has people moving from place to place defined us and shaped our food culture? We’ll also be looking at themes of waste, social gastronomy, education and kitchen culture.

HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH YOUR SPEAKER LIST? We start researching in November, right after the event ends. We might email four times as many people as what actually ends up speaking at the event. It’s a big job but as I already said, it’s a labour of love. WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE EVENT? It all depends on funding. If that doesn’t increase, I don’t know what will happen. Other food symposiums around the world are hugely funded by government and that’s a point that we’re missing. Food cultures that have grown around the world have had massive government involvement. When you look at these events, it might seem that individuals have just emerged all of a sudden but that’s never the case. These people have had a network of support. Another big problem is that decisions to invest in things like food are subject to changes in government. If we’re interested in this, that needs to change. If funding wasn’t an issue, I’d love to move the event around the island of Ireland so that we could showcase different areas and other great Irish food produce. I’d like to include more speakers from Africa, the Middle East and India to give us a more culturally diverse food community. I’d also love to launch #OpenFOTE, whereby anyone can submit an online application to speak at a future Food On The Edge event outlining what it is they’d like to speak about and why.

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“We think we have an idea of what Irish food is, that it’s some sort of stable identity but it’s not. With the way migration is now, our food culture will change again in the next 50 to 60 years”



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hen it comes to food waste, many hospitality businesses don’t think they actually waste much. But new EPA-funded research indicates that 250,000 tonnes of food waste is generated annually by commercial food businesses such as restaurants, shops and workplace canteens. The research, carried out by Clean Technology Centre, Cork IT, investigated the volumes, types and associated cost of food waste arisings in these businesses. It found that much of this waste is avoidable and estimates the value of food waste for the Irish hospitality sector alone at over €300 million. It takes a lot of resources to put food on our tables. Growing, processing and transporting food all use large amounts of energy and materials. When food is wasted, these resources are wasted too, which impacts on climate change, our local environment and business costs. To meet this environmental and financial challenge, food businesses need to start measuring the food being discarded and then take action to reduce avoidable wastage.



Not all of this food waste is avoidable. A proportion of this waste comes from peelings and off-cuts from food preparation. This ‘unavoidable’ food waste varies depending on the business type but on average, it accounts for just 25% of food waste thrown away. This means that three quarters of all food waste is food that was meant to be eaten.




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In a rapidly changing sector where the customer experience is priority, food waste can often be ignored. As a food business, any improvements that can be made to this waste has a positive impact on your bottom line. Food waste can be generated across your business. It can occur at purchasing, storage, preparation and leftovers on customers’ plates. Less food thrown away means more profit and reduced operating costs staff time and disposal costs.


Tracking food waste is the important first step to understanding what is being wasted and from where. Food is wasted in different amounts and for different reasons depending on the business. Looking at waste bills or better still, weighing your food waste at different

stages in the business, will help identify problem areas. Once the main sources of food waste have been identified in your business, consider potential actions and choose one thing to focus on. Starting with one action and building from there is a great way to encourage lasting change.


Food businesses can show their commitment to reducing food waste by signing up to Ireland’s Food Waste Charter, a national initiative led by the EPA targeting food waste in the business sector. For businesses that want to reduce their food waste or need help to get started, support is available to businesses who sign the Charter, including a food waste reduction toolkit. Further information on food waste in business and the Food Waste Charter can be found at https://

TOP TIPS TO REDUCE YOUR FOOD WASTE Measure your food waste

While it might seem tedious, logging the food that gets thrown away at the end of every day will give a clear picture of what is sold and what is thrown away. This will help identify problem areas for change.

Smart ordering

Avoid overbuying. Check your stock and only order what you need. Buy smaller portions of fresh produce and order more often.


Rotate your stock and use the first in, first out rule, making sure old stock will be used before it goes to waste. Keep a stock inventory and know

what you have in stock and what needs to be used. Keep a detailed list of the foods in all of your storage areas, including their use-by/best-before dates. Good inventory software can help track what’s used and what items often go to waste. Design menus so that fresh and perishable foods can be used in a variety of different dishes.


Reducing food waste is a collective job. Talk to your customers and let them know what you are doing to reduce food waste. Front of house staff can offer advice to customers on portion size. Train staff to reduce food waste through storing and cooking food correctly, keeping premises clean and avoiding cross-contamination.

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Legal expertise for the hotel, tourism and leisure sector


he complexities of operating a business in the hotel, tourism and leisure sector call for specialist legal advisors that offer bespoke and strategic advice. The dedicated team at Philip Lee has a wealth of industry experience. We understand the complex transactional, operational and tax requirements of our clients. Our legal experts from the hotel, tourism and leisure team advise owner managers, investors and operators from international companies to family run businesses. Our team’s experience includes advising on key legal challenges which include: • Real estate • Construction, planning and building control • Tax and succession planning • Employment and immigration • Corporate finance • EU competition and regulatory • Licensing

WE MAKE THE COMPLEX CLEAR Our partners are specialists with top tier expertise, knowledge and experience. Our Hotel, Tourism and Leisure Group can help you in the areas of: >

As a commercial, multidisciplinary firm we bolster the team with access to experts in the areas of:

> > >

• Intellectual Property • Data Privacy (GDPR) and technology • Dispute Resolution • Media and entertainment • Foreign Direct Investment Philip Lee was awarded ‘Law Firm of the Year’ at the Irish Law Awards in June 2019. Our property team was also recognised as ‘Property Law Firm of the Year’ and ‘Leinster Property Law Firm of the Year’ 2019. The firm is the exclusive Irish member of Multilaw, a consortium network of over 10,000 lawyers in 100 countries worldwide and ranked by Chambers Global 2019 as an ‘Elite’ international network of law firms. Through our network, we connect our international hotel and leisure clients to an impressive breadth of legal, policy and business resources across the globe.

> > >

Real estate Planning, construction and building control Tax and succession planning Employment and immigration EU competition and regulatory Corporate finance Licensing

Get in touch Tom Conway Anna Hickey

‘Law Firm of the Year’ Irish Law Awards 2019

Contact the team today to talk about your business.

7/8 Wilton Terrace, Dublin 2, Ireland T: +353 (0)1 237 3700 Search ‘Philip Lee’





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he good dresses and bow ties were out in force for this year’s Gold Medal Awards, held once again in the Lyrath Estate, Co Kilkenny. Martin King returned as MC and kept the 500-strong audience entertained for the duration of the event, which included a delicious three course meal and once the final award of the night was announced, a lively band that kept the party going into the early hours. The big winner of the night was the Armada Hotel in Spanish Point who scooped the coveted Supreme Winner award, along with Wedding Hotel of the Year and the Front of House Team award. Ireland’s Five Star Hotel award went to the Intercontinental Dublin, the Best Designed Hotel award went to The Dunloe Hotel and Gardens and Ireland’s Pet Friendly Hotel went to Castlemartyr Resort. The Gold Medal Awards celebrate the extraordinary achievements of the Irish hotel and catering sector over the past 12 months. They also recognise and reward the high standards of excellence that this sector strives to achieve every single day. Our judges were more than impressed by the high standards of service on display at the hotels they visited over the three month judging process. Congratulations to all our winners and indeed to all the shortlisted entries. See you all again next year!

Denise Maguire Editor





500+ entries

185+ properties visited

500+ people in the room




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ARMADA HOTEL SUPREME WINNER It wasn’t just the big SPONSORED award of the night that BY went to the Armada Hotel in Co Clare. The hotel also scooped the award for Ireland’s Wedding Hotel along with Ireland’s Front of House Team Award. Judges commented on not just the knowledge of staff at the venue but their genuine warmth in welcoming guests to the stunning hotel which sits on the Atlantic’s edge in Spanish Point. With over 130 weddings a year, the Armada Hotel is a pro when it comes to providing a unique venue for the big day; a garden space overlooking the sea is often used for outside civil ceremonies while an abundance of themed options are available to make the day extra special.

Always a competitive category, the 2019 Five Star Hotel went to the Intercontinental Dublin. Judges were impressed by an overwhelmingly positive experience, from the team of friendly staff to the delicious menus. A warm welcome from supervisor Jacqui was matched by the dishes available at the hotel, from the extensive selection of gluten free food to the fresh honey which arrived direct from a honeycomb.


THE RIVER LEE IRELAND’S FOUR STAR HOTEL The River Lee hotel boasts an enviable location. Sitting on the river and only a short scenic walk from Cork’s city centre, the River Lee Hotel was a worthy winner of this year’s Ireland’s Four Star Hotel award. Judges were blown away by the excellent service, delicious food and buzzing atmosphere on a busy Friday night.

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ECCLES HOTEL IRELAND’S THREE STAR HOTEL In what proved a hotly contested category, Eccles Hotel came out on top in the Three Star Hotel category. Judges were impressed by the beautiful dishes prepared by the head chef who grows vegetables, herbs and fruit in the hotel’s garden. The provenance of food items on the menu are clearly stated, while knowledgeable and friendly staff complete the excellent dining and guest experience.


ASHFORD CASTLE IRELAND’S FIVE STAR RESORT Described by judges as the most amazing property with the most beautiful rooms and lobby areas, Ashford Castle was the deserving winner of Ireland’s Five Star Resort 2019. Services and facilities were highly commended by judges, who were also impressed by the venue’s warm and welcoming staff. In a very competitive category, Ashford Castle was the clear and worthy winner.

CAHERNANE HOUSE HOTEL IRELAND’S COUNTRY HOUSE & GUEST HOUSE EXPERIENCE Staff members that clearly enjoy working at the hotel helped make the judges’ experience at Cahernane House an extremely positive one. Proving that the traditional Irish welcome isn’t a thing of the past, the excellent staff played a big part in Cahernane House winning this year’s Country House & Guest House Experience award. Judges were able to sit back, relax and forget they were only a few minutes away from a very busy Killarney town.

GALGORM SPA & GOLF RESORT IRELAND’S FOUR STAR RESORT Described as the perfect location to get away from it all, Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort was selected by the judges as this year’s top Four Star Resort. A winning combination of delicious food, excellent facilities and staff members eager to go the extra mile to accommodate guests were cited as the reasons for its win.





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uintessential Brands Ireland

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THE SAVOY HOTEL IRELAND’S HOTEL BREAKFAST If it’s a superior Irish breakfast you’re after, then you’re in luck at the Savoy Hotel in Co Limerick. If your tastes are a bit more refined however, the hotel’s breakfast menu also includes kippers with poached eggs hollandaise, Savoy Kedgeree, Congee and 5oz fillet mignon with potato hash and fried egg. An extensive range of juices, fruit and yoghurts also feature while local produce is at the heart of this impressive and tasty menu.


Excellent therapists that took the time to explain all procedures clearly coupled with a beautiful, state-of-the-art spa made the Europe Hotel & Resort a worthy winner of the Five Star Hotel Spa Experience Award. Judges commented on the handson, gadget-free treatment and the comprehensive range of treatments available. A clean, comfortable and relaxing environment made for an award-winning experience.

BREAFFY HOUSE RESORT IRELAND’S FAMILY FRIENDLY HOTEL Kids are kept very busy at Breaffy House Resort. An excellent kid’s club collects children from their room at 9am and keeps them entertained until the afternoon. Evening family entertainment includes movies nights, themed discos and enormously fun games. Bunk beds are also available in some of the rooms, while guests can also opt for self-catering options. A most deserving winner of this year’s Family Friendly Hotel award.

THE SPA AT THE KINGSLEY IRELAND’S FOUR STAR HOTEL SPA EXPERIENCE Described by judges as an excellent spa and one that’s definitely worthy of a return visit, the Spa at the Kingsley in Co Cork scooped the 2019 Four Star Hotel Spa Experience at this year’s awards. If relaxation is the key objective of a spa visit, then the Spa at the Kingsley fits the bill. The Spa prides itself on the natural, organic ingredients included in its extensive product line, just another reason why it’s a worthy winner. SPONSORED BY




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CONRAD DUBLIN IRELAND’S CITY HOTEL Described as a perfect location, the Conrad SPONSORED Dublin is this year’s BY recipient of the City Hotel award. Judges commented on the superb, friendly staff and how professional, observant and attentive each and every staff member was, particularly during the busy breakfast period. An attractive and restful decor and colour scheme in the hotel’s bedrooms added to an excellent experience.

RED COW MORAN HOTEL IRELAND’S BUSINESS & CONFERENCE HOTEL The Red Cow Moran Hotel has made organising successful conferences SPONSORED something of an art form. All BY facilities are top of the range while clever touches such as the hotel’s think tank centre ensures the Red Cow stands out from the crowd. A deserving winner of this year’s Business & Conference Hotel category, rooms at the hotel are also available for smaller groups for short term periods.

CASTLEMARTYR RESORT IRELAND’S PET FRIENDLY HOTEL Pets aren’t just welcome at Castlemartyr Resort, they’re practically encouraged. Six designated pet friendly rooms, featuring a dog bed and toys, mean guests can keep their pets in the room with them. All pet friendly rooms feature French doors which open onto a private walled garden so your pooch can wander in and out while you relax. On arrival, guests with pets receive a special welcome doggie gift while a pet concierge service ensures guests make the most of this special resort.

THE DUNLOE HOTEL & GARDENS IRELAND’S BEST DESIGNED HOTEL Despite having to work within the confines of the original structure, the team at Dunloe Hotel and Gardens did a stellar job of redesigning the venue. The restaurant, light fittings and art work seats invite a second look and that’s not to mention the beautiful, uninterrupted view. Judges commented on the beautifully and sensitively designed listed gardens, all contributing to a very worthy winner.

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Judges were impressed by such an impressive operation in a temporary structure. Brook Foods provided a delicious and vast range of food for the celebrated event without missing a beat, managing to uphold the quality of dishes on offer at all times. A very worthy winner of this year’s Event Caterer award. SPONSORED BY


Maldron Hotels was the deserving winner of the 2019 Hotel Group accolade at this year’s Gold Medal Awards. Offering excellent accommodation options in hotels spanning the length and breadth of the country, Maldron Hotels has it all – stylish bars, great restaurants with delicious, innovative menus and the comfiest beds. A large number of hotels also include leisure clubs and swimming pools.


SODEXO – PAYPAL IRELAND’S SITE CONTRACT CATERER Excellent management and staff helped Sodexo scoop this year’s Site Contract Caterer award for PayPal in Co Dublin. Consideration has been given to dishes, with a diverse range of food to cater for multi-ethnic staff on offer. Food presentation was described by judges as superb, with nutrition playing an important role across all the dishes provided by the caterer.


BALLYSEEDE CASTLE IRELAND’S BEST HOTEL WEBSITE Easy to navigate and brimming with special offers and exclusive deals, Ballyseede Castle’s website is a masterclass in how to create an online presence that works extremely well. The team at the venue have created an attractive online portal with all the information and options a potential guest will need, while high quality images reflect a venue at the top of its game.




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ARAMARK MAYO UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL IRELAND’S HEALTHCARE CATERER A ‘patient first’ philosophy across the entire team made Aramark the deserving winner of this year’s Healthcare Caterer award. Judges commented on Head Chef Ronan Fox and the passion he so clearly displays when it comes to creating tasty, nutritionally balanced dishes. Bespoke menus have been created for specialist wards including maternity and paediatrics while an active community engagement programme extends beyond the hospital. SPONSORED BY

A less formal affair right beside a SPONSORED formal garden all adds up to a relaxed BY experience in the Garden Room at The Merrion Hotel. Described by judges as a sublime casual dining experience, the quality of food served in this restaurant is matched only by its warm and friendly staff. Created by Executive Chef Ed Cooney and his team, the menu at the Garden Room has been designed for sharing tastes, flavours and whimsical combinations.

ASHFORD CASTLE IRELAND’S WINE EXPERIENCE Judges enjoyed an exceptional wine experience at Ashford Castle, commenting on the wine cellar complete with secret passageways which were unearthed during the most recent phase of renovations. The Wine Cellars at Ashford Castle offer private wine tastings and wonderful wine dinners. Staff are adept at using a Coravin system for tasting expensive bottles without having to take the cork out, keeping the wine fresh for longer.



IRELAND’S FINE DINING HOTEL RESTAURANT Judges described dining at the Lady Helen at Mount Juliet Estate as an extremely enjoyable experience. A team of attentive, knowledgeable staff complemented an amazing meal. When it came to flavour and texture, all courses were perfectly balanced – an amazing, award-winning experience.




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DROMOLAND CASTLE HOTEL IRELAND’S GUEST EXPERIENCE A great welcome, a relaxed atmosphere, excellent dining and a host of complementary activities made Dromoland Castle a most worthy winner of the 2019 Guest Experience award. Judges were impressed by the night-time entertainment and turndown service, while service from staff was described as seamless, sincere and genuine. SPONSORED BY

PAUL HYNES - LA CÔTE SEAFOOD RESTAURANT IRELAND’S CHEF OF THE YEAR Paul creates sublime seafood in a great restaurant in a beautiful location. Judges described the interesting and exciting dishes on offer, using the best of local seafood. Starters include salmon tartare, smoked haddock chowder and Atlantic prawn spring roll while mains include lemon sole, hake, monkfish, brill and turf n’ surf. Paul uses only the finest ingredients to create truly exceptional, delicious food.


BROOKLODGE & MACREDDIN VILLAGE IRELAND’S MENU PROVENANCE AWARD The menu at Brooklodge & Macreddin Village includes a full list of all growers/suppliers with most of the ingredients produced, sourced or foraged in the immediate area of Wicklow. Judges commented on the beautifully presented dishes, each adorned with interesting wild herbs and seasonings. Organic bread is made in-house, along with pickles, preserves and fermented vegetables incorporated in dishes.

MARK NOLAN, DROMOLAND CASTLE HOTEL OUTSTANDING SERVICE AWARD All judges agreed that Mark Nolan is an exceptional GM and a worthy winner of this year’s Outstanding Service Award, thanks to his outstanding contribution to the industry. A fantastic presence in Dromoland, Mark has climbed the hospitality ladder to claim his rightful spot at the top; from a junior manager in the old Jury’s Ballsbridge to the position he now holds, all judges were in agreement that Mark was the most deserving winner of this most coveted award.


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GOLD MEDAL AWARDS JUDGES From all of us here at the Gold Medal Awards, we would like to extend a huge thank you to our judging panel, who took time out of their busy schedules to help make these awards possible. The judges meticulously reviewed every entry, site inspected every property and thoroughly discussed each and every entrant. They undertook the near impossible task of cutting down the list to our current finalists and choosing our winners which wasn’t an easy task and required quite a few heated debates! Alex Meehan - Travel and Food Journalist Anthony Farrell - Hospitality Consultant Colin Gilligan - Lecturer in Hospitality, GMIT Donagh Davern - Lecturer, CIT and Former Hotel General Manager Eugene McSweeney - Master Chef Gail Cotter-Buckley - Lecturer in Bar Management at CIT Jeanne Quigley - Freelance Food & Travel Journalist John Caffrey - General Manager DCU Rooms, Dublin City University John Carty - Lecturer at the College of Tourism & Arts, GMIT Lucinda O’Sullivan - Food & Hospitality Critic Maria Murphy - Lecturer at the College of Tourism & Arts at GMIT Marilyn Bright - Irish Food Writers’ Guild Margaret Griffin - Food Scientist and Food Blogger Mark Howell - Account Director, Gather & Gather and former Hotel General Manager Mary O’Callaghan - Lecturer in Wine Studies, DIT Michael Vaughan - Chair of Hospitality Skills Oversight Group Niamh Boylan - Food & Wine Expert and Former Restaurateur Nicola Brady - Freelance Travel Journalist Paul O’Connor - Restaurateur and Hospitality Consultant Sybil Mulcahy - Editor of Tom Mythen - Former President of the RAI Tony Conlon - Lecturer in Food & Beverages Studies in DIT

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STARTERS Beetroot Cured Salmon, Pickled Beetroot, Lemon Gel,Saffron Crème Fraiche, Rye Bread

MAINS Sirloin of Dawn Meats Hereford Beef Colcannon, Pumpkin Puree, White Skin Onion, Watercress, Red Wine Jus or Pan Fried Goatsbridge Trout Sweet Potato Mash, Bok Choy, Lime & Coconut Sauce, Fresh Coriander & Toasted Coconut with Panache of Fresh Vegetables Broccoli, Cauliflower, Baby Carrots, Asparagus, Oregano Butter Creamed Mash Potatoes Fresh Chives

DESSERT Autumn Berry Custard Tart Crème Anglaise, Raspberry Sorbet Tea or Coffee




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“Nature’s purest tasting VODKA” WWW.DALCASSIANWINES.COM

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Books out this month....


South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations Author: Sean Brock Publisher: Artisan RRP: €42 Available: Southern food is one of the most beloved and delicious cuisines in America so who better to give us the key elements of Southern cuisine than Sean Brock, the award-winning chef and Southern-food crusader. In South, Brock shares his recipes for key components of the cuisine, from grits and fried chicken to collard greens and corn bread. Recipes can be mixed and matched to make a meal or eaten on their own. Taken together, they make up the essential elements of Southern cuisine, from fried green tomatoes and smoked baby back ribs to tomato okra stew and biscuits.

The podcast about chain restaurants. Comedians Mike Find your Mitchell and Nick next favourite Wiger review fast podcast with food/sit-down our pick of the chains and best generally argue about food/ everything. Each episode features a weekly guest, including people from the comedy world such as Scott Aukerman, Gillian Jacobs, Sarah Silverman and Ike Barinholtz. Listen on Spotify or Stitcher

Last Call: Bartenders on Their Final Drink and the Wisdom and Rituals of Closing Time Author: Brad Thomas Parsons Publisher: Ten Speed Press RRP: €31 Available:

From the James Beard award-winning author of Bitters and Amaro comes this funny and poignant exploration of the question, ‘What is the last thing you’d want to drink before you die?’, with bartender profiles, portraits and cocktail recipes. In Last Call, Brad Thomas Parsons gathers responses from a diverse range of bartenders. The resulting interviews and essays reveal a personal portrait of some of the world’s top bartenders and their favourite drinks, while over 40 cocktail recipes and stunning photography make this a keepsake for barflies and cocktail enthusiasts of all stripes.


Shelf Book

BEHIND THE DESIGN In Marriott Traveler’s ‘Behind the Design’, the pros at Marriott dive into the world of hotel design, looking at the trends and innovations that go into making hotels look the way they do. Topics cover everything from the impact of the travel industry and the design of Marvel’s blockbuster hit Black Panther to the ecofriendly design elements of the Playa Largo Resort. Listen on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher

HOSPITALITY ACADEMY Susan Pannozzo, the host of Hospitality Academy, has more than 30 years’ experience in the industry working at all levels of hotel operation. She leverages her knowledge, corporate training skills and large network of industry peers to bring relevant information to properties looking to improve their operations. Tune in as industry leaders share their secrets and get you on the right track for revenue maximisation, great guest experiences and more. Listen on Stitcher or Apple Podcasts

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The Last Word

And the

Food Oscar goes to...

Green Pastures Donegal is declared Supreme Champion while Burren Balsamics is named Best Artisan Product at this year’s Blas na hÉireann Awards

Supreme Champion award accepted by Brian McDermott on behalf of Green Pastures Donegal

This year’s Blas na hÉireann awards saw Green Pastures Donegal scoop the Supreme Champion award for its Green Pastures Donegal Soft Cheese. Having won the award in 2017, Burren Balsamics was once again declared Best Artisan Product for its range of fruit infused black balsamic vinegars. Judges were impressed with family-run business Green Pastures Donegal, who mix the tradition and craft of cheese making with modern technology to create a range of dairy items including the winning product, Green Pastures Donegal Soft Cheese. All entries to the awards are blind tested while the judging system itself is now recognised as an industry gold standard worldwide.

Commenting on the event, Artie Clifford, Chairperson and founder of Blas na hÉireann, said: “Blas na Éireann 2019 has been another exceptional year showcasing the talents and hard work of some of this country’s most innovative, forward-thinking and disciplined food entrepreneurs. The engagement from the public increases year on year too, which is always rewarding to the entire community that has come together through Blas an hÉireann over the last 12 years. These few days in Dingle at the culmination of the Blas awards process are days we all look forward to throughout the year – days of celebrating quality, connections, competition and our worthy winners.”

Susie Hamilton-Stubber, Burren Balsamics




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Bringing People Together Workspace Restaurants & Large Event Caterer

T. +353 21 485 6403 or 0818 222 210 E. 27 Northpoint Business Park, New Mallow Road, Cork T23 E899

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Profile for Ashville Media Group

Hotel and Catering issue 10 2019  

Ireland's premier hospitality magazine

Hotel and Catering issue 10 2019  

Ireland's premier hospitality magazine