To say Jill Barber was locally born and bred is certainly not an exaggeration. Born less than a mile from Drumcliffe where she runs the Tea House, she was baptised, confirmed and married in lovely St. Columba’s Church next door. Her family has lived in Carney for generations, farming their land near the wild Atlantic shore. Jill recalls her late father Jim, with a cup of tea in hand, at Drumcliffe Tea House remarking that he was sitting in the exact spot where he tethered the horse and trap while the family attended the Sunday Church Service. The Tea House which she has run since 1988 is located in the old stable building. Surrounded on three sides by graves, including of course, that of W.B. Yeats, it is an unusual but somehow rather perfect setting.
The Harvest Feast last Friday night was truly a triumph for Sligo Food Trail and the nearly 50 members who were involved. The feedback has been absolutely wonderful and it is being acclaimed as an outstanding achievement by one and all. From the moment guests walked in the door, they were bowled over by the reception they received. The canapés and drinks were just wonderful and the musical accompaniment from the Sligo Academy of Music perfect. The banqueting room was sumptuously set up, the Radisson Blu really outdid themselves and it was a credit to them. Kieran Quinn and Gerry Grennan provided delightful music throughout the night.
Anne O’Dowd’s youth, enthusiasm and can-do attitude are surely a recipe for success in the hospitality industry. Along with her brand new husband of just two weeks, the wonderfully named Mark Tickle, Anne runs Áit Eile restaurant in her home town of Enniscrone. The pair met seven years ago in Melbourne, where Business Management graduate Anne was waitressing and Manchester born Mark was plying his trade as a bricklayer. Anne adored the hospitality scene in Australia finding it vibrant and lively compared to home. She loved the new tastes and abundance of fresh ingredients available to chefs. When customers asked the shy Irish waitress what she planned to do with her life, she glibly replied that she wanted to open her own restaurant. Those turned out to be prophetic words.
You could say James has been steeped in beer since his childhood in Keash! Certainly his bar tending career started early enough: at the tender age of 12 he pulled his first pint and he really hasn’t looked back since. As is so often the case, chance played a large part in directing James towards beers of the craft variety. Having worked in pubs in both Ireland and England, he opted for the broader horizons of life in the USA. He moved into = beer sales and marketing, working for a craft beer distributor in Syracuse, in upstate New York. In a neat twist of fate, one of the beers on his list was from O’Hara’s in Carlow. As a committed commercial beer drinker, the taste of craft beer was a revelation to James – you could say he was smitten!
The “Secret’s is in the Mix” at the Sligo Food Trail Gala Harvest Feast, a celebration of Sligo’s finest foods. Indulge yourself in a carefully selected decadent 9 course tasting menu celebrating local ingredients, from Sligo’s finest Chefs. A must on the food lovers calendar this October.
Chris Friel is the antithesis of the popular image of a chef, fuelled by the likes of Gordon Ramsey. No out of control tantrums and certainly no storming out of one job looking for another – he’s been at the Sligo Park for nearly a quarter of a century. Chris is a guy who has worked his way up from the bottom rung of the kitchen ladder and he’s almost evangelical about helping others do the same. To the continuing surprise of his mechanic father, Chris always preferred the inner workings of a kitchen to those of an engine. Brought up outside Letterkenny, of six sisters and a brother, he is the only one who has made hospitality his career. He fondly describes his late mother as a brilliant cook and no doubt that is where his inspiration originated.
Marc Gabbidon’s accent is truly a wondrous thing. It’s a melodic combination of an East Coast American twang and a Caribbean lilt, liberally scattered with pitch perfect Irish slang. It’s a composite of this chef’s globetrotting life from its Jamaican roots to rural Sligo. Back in 1980s Kingston, Jamaica, Marc’s parents sought a better lifestyle for their young family. As was the pattern of the day, his mother obtained sponsorship from a New Jersey GP and made the move first, paving the way for her husband, children and her mother. Marc’s grandmother was a seminal influence on him, introducing the young boy to the kitchen. From an early age he loved to cook, learning traditional Jamaican dishes first and paving the way for a career in food.
Sarah Elvey’s infectious good humour seems to transfer into her baking as a quick glance will reveal. Super Mario characters smile up from butter icing while some cupcakes dress up as 99 ice creams and others are craft beer infused. In season, melted Snowmen find their way onto cookies while the Easter bunny’s footprints are clearly seen dotted across white iced cupcakes. Celebration cakes come adorned with VW vans (for a surfer) or a rescue helicopter with rotating propeller. Sarah’s baking is both whimsical and attractive – it’s also quite delicious as her many happy customers will testify.
We are delighted to announce that the Sligo Food Trail blog has been shortlisted for the V by Very Blog Awards Ireland. Now in their sixth year, the V by Very Blog Awards Ireland and are the biggest blogger event on the calendar In Ireland. The awards will be presented at a gala event on 5th October 2017.
Eva is one of an exciting young generation of chefs who are bringing back influences from their travels around the world and igniting the Sligo food scene. Originally from Tuam, her family moved to Rosses Point where she still lives, when she was in her teens. She inherits her passion for good food from both parents. Her father was a well known chef in his day at Cré na Cille Restaurant in Tuam. Her mother is an artist and an excellent cook. As a tot she would dress up as a chef, wearing strawberry punnets on her head in place of the chef’s hat. Her career beckoned!