What a night for Sligo Food Trail at the Restaurant Association of Ireland (RAI) Awards night, known as the Food Oscars. No less than ten awards were presented to our members and Anthony Gray was crowned Best Local Food Hero in Connaught. The event took place at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Rosses Point.

Anthony Gray past-chair of Sligo Food Trail was on top of the world having carried off the Best Casual Dining award for Hooked restaurant as well as the Sligo and Connaught Best Local Food Hero awards. “I’m honoured, thrilled and really humbled to have received this award”, said a jubilant Anthony Gray, “Thank you to everyone who voted for me; I’m really grateful”. Hooked has been a hugely successful venture since it opened its doors 18 months ago receiving several awards including the prestigious Just Eat award from Bord Bia and Georgina Campbell.

Ethna Reynolds of Nook in Collooney was equally delighted with her two awards – Best Chef and Best Emerging Cuisine. Her delightful café has won many awards including Newcomer of the Year from Georgina Campbell This is the second time Ethna has won the RAI Best Chef award.

Also winning two categories was Carolanne Rush’s café Sweet Beat which carried off both Best Café and Best Free From trophies. Sweet Beat has found a niche for plant based cuisine which has attracted attention from far and wide. It’s been a revelation for many committed meat eaters. Not judgey or preachy as Carolanne puts it – just food that’s good for you.

Eithna’s By The Sea in Mullaghmore was crowned Best Restaurant much to the delight of owner and chef Eithna O’Sullivan. She has kept her unique seafood restaurant at the top of its game for many years; a triumph in an ever-changing sector.

Hargadon Bros much honoured pub and wine shop received the accolade of Best Wine Experience. This historic pub is well known for both fine fare and of course excellent drinks. The Waterfront was a worthy winner of the Best Hotel and Guesthouse Restaurant while iconic Strandhill destination café, Shells Seaside Bakery and Café triumphed in the Best Kids Size Me sector.

All in all it was a triumphant night for Sligo Food Trail. Congratulations to all the winners and good luck in the finals which take place on Monday 13th May in Dublin.