I don’t live in Ireland anymore so am a bit out of touch with what’s been going on in the food industry there. But having started this blog and I want to reconnect with what’s happening food-wise at home. I’ve been reading various blogs, restaurant reviews, event listings etc over the past couple of weeks. And one name keeps coming up, JP McMahon. I am officially a fan of everything he is trying to do and how he’s doing it.
The man behind Food On The Edge (https://foodontheedge.ie/ ), as well as Michelin, Starred restaurant Aniar (http://aniarrestaurant.ie) in Galway, Cava Bodega (http://www.cavarestaurant.ie/) & the Tartare Cafe & Wine Bar (https://tartaregalway.ie/) not to mention his classes; working with schools and constantly promoting food form his beloved Galway. He is a sheer force of all that is good in the Irish food industry.
He even has a look of St. Patrick, with the beard and if you hear him on the promotional videos you would be out in your wellies knee-high in the Atlantic looking for seaweed. No pulpit or giant walking sick required. His passion and love for the food of the land and sea are infections. It transports you to a calming place of nature and all its bounty that is respected when used, not ravaged as modern food production can so often do. It brings me back to gathering Carrageen Moss in Fanore Co. Clare as a child and the wonderful pudding my mother made. Or how my mother would sprinkle sugar on rose petals to eat. The pink petals were always the sweetest.
So now I’m mesmerized with what JP McMahon is doing in Ireland and how he is promoting Galway and all its bounty to the world. Of course behind every man is probably a great woman and a team. So hats off to them all. But he is their leader and they are following him, back to the land, to the sea & into the forest to forage. And its not just them, his message, his faith in all that’s good about the land is reaching global scale. F.O.T.E alone brings the Gods & Goddesses of the culinary world to Ireland. That’s no mean feat. Check out this line up (https://foodontheedge.ie/news/). I have considered selling a kidney just to be there. Breathing the same air as these guys you would be inspired.
The produce of Ireland has always been held in high regard globally. We all know the artisan food culture in Ireland has exploded over recent years too. Not because it is in fashion, its actually wonderful food ethically and consciously produced. However, what McMahon seems to have done with his band of merry helpers & followers is push it even higher. He’s taken the humble simple ingredients from soil & sea and shown what it can be. How we as a country not just as a region could sustain our food industry by learning from the old ways while nurturing our natural environment now before its too late. Education, discussion and will are all we need. This man seems to be on a mission to make it happen in a very organic natural way of bringing people together over food. So Irish in itself.
I don’t think JP McMahon would have rid Ireland of snakes like St. Patrick to get his message across. I think he would have made a delicate, humbling and exquisite dish for the locals, not the kings out of those snakes. While he sat and looked on with amusement possibly rubbing at his beard knowing he was about to flick a switch in their heads. And they would follow him, rejoice in the wealth of the land, a new awakening of possibilities all the while hailing him as the Patron Saint of Irish Food. So this weekend when all the planet goes green for Ireland. I leave the last words to the man himself and raise a glass to a great Irishman doing great things for a great country. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58B-dcrONNU&feature=youtu.be