A Word to members from new Euro-Toques Commissioner-General Wade Murphy

New Commissioner-General Wade Murphy addresses members at the Euro-Toques AGM dinner at Brooklodge
New Commissioner-General Wade Murphy addresses members at the Euro-Toques AGM dinner at Brooklodge – his speech wasn’t really that long by the way, he just wanted to scare them with all the pages!

I am honoured to have been elected Commissioner-General of Euro-Toques Ireland and I hope I will represent you well over the course of the next 2 years.

And the job of Commissioner-General is after all to represent the members – so that is what I intend to do. That is why I want members to let me know what they think we should be doing and what they feel is relevant and important to them. Everyone is busy and these are challenging times, but I will try to keep in touch with members as much as I can and would encourage members to be as active and involved as they can be.

The reputation of Euro-Toques in Ireland is constantly building and has had a huge boost with the success of the Young Chef last year. The fact that we were approached by the organisers of CATEX and asked to bring our activities to the event this year is testament to how highly we are regarded within the industry.

I hope to build upon these successes and to continue to grow the reputation of Euro-Toques in Ireland.

With the support of Failte Ireland, we managed to bring the Euro-Toques Young Chef Competition to new heights in 2012. Now we must ensure that this new level we have brought it to be maintained and exceeded. This competition really has the capacity to demonstrate Ireland’s culinary potential and to nurture it into the future – and I am very excited to be involved with that.

I would hope that during my time as Commissioner-General we can build up the membership of Euro-Toques Ireland. There are still many great chefs out there, working fully in line with the Euro-Toques code, who are not members. I hope that we can work on attracting them to join and show them the benefits and also what they can contribute.

But at the same time we need to maintain our standards – and that goes for existing members as well as new. Our credibility is our reputation. If a member chef does not work within the Euro-Toques philosophy, it reflects on all of us and this is something we should not tolerate.

And in order to stay true to our code and out philosophy, I believe we must remain close to our beginnings and go back to the basics of what we are about in many ways.

For that reason, I would like to encourage a strengthening of links with food producers, with more visits by Euro-Toques chefs to producers and more presence from producers at some of our events. At the same time I would love to see more local & regional activity in Euro-Toques, with chefs getting together, however small the group, to share knowledge & experiences – or even just to enjoy good food & drink! This is something we need the help and support of our members on.

I think these kinds of activities can keep us strong as an organisation and truly make us the ‘community of chefs’ that Euro-Toques was set out to be.

That said, we have made great progress at a national level in recent times and our activities in the area of education & training for chefs is something I value hugely. Our Chef Development Programme with La Rousse Foods has gone from strength to strength and is gaining recognition throughout the industry and the education sector. The support of La Rousse Foods has allowed us to make great in-roads into the area of education and we are very grateful to them for that.

Our Memorandum of Understanding with the Institutes of Technology, which puts us on the path to influencing the future training of chefs in this country, is the first of its kind between the educational institutes and an industry group in Ireland. We have developed an extremely positive relationship with our education colleagues and are highly regarded by them.

I believe that Euro-Toques should work constructively as an organisation. We may have criticisms, but we must always offer solutions. We must be positive and work with everyone to the benefit of our industry. This is something we have been doing very well and I hope to continue working in this vein.

Incoming Commissioner-General Wade Murphy with out-going Gearoid Lynch - Gearoid was thanked at the AGM for his huge contribution and dedication to Euro-Toques during his 2 year term
Incoming Commissioner-General Wade Murphy with out-going Gearoid Lynch – Gearoid was thanked at the AGM for his huge contribution and dedication to Euro-Toques during his 2 year term

Much of what has been achieved over the past two years has been down the huge commitment of Gearoid Lynch as Commissioner-General. He has given an immense amount of time, hard work and dedication to Euro-Toques during his term and has left me with big shoes to fill and very high standards to maintain.

On behalf of the Board of Commissioners, Food Council and all of the members I would like to say a truly heartfelt thanks to Gearoid for all of this work on our behalf.

And wish him the best in his retirement!

Finally I would like to thank all the member and our partners and associates for continuing to support this organisation. Nothing could be achieved without this.

Euro-Toques Outing: GALWAY Producer Visits & Local Farm (and Craft Beer!) Dinner Wednesday 20 March

Ronan Byrne, The Friendly Farmer being presented with his 2012 Euro-Toques Food Award by chef JP McMahon and Aidan Corcoran of EirGird. Ronan is one of the producers we will visit on this outing, while JP McMahon will feature his produce on the menu for the Euro-Toques dinner he will host on the day
Ronan Byrne, The Friendly Farmer being presented with his 2012 Euro-Toques Food Award by chef JP McMahon and Aidan Corcoran of EirGird. Ronan is one of the producers we will visit on this outing, while JP McMahon will feature his produce on the menu for the Euro-Toques dinner he will host on the day

Euro-Toques Outing: GALWAY

Wed 20 MARCH

PRODUCER VISITS & LOCAL FARM (& CRAFT BEER!) DINNER

Join us on Wednesday 20th March as we visit the ‘Fields of Athenry’ to meet 2 remarkable food producers; one preserving a tradition and skill that has almost died out and the other reviving it.

Then make your way into the city to stop into one of Galway’s (indeed Ireland’s) food icons and finish up with a casual early evening supper with Euro-Toques chef JP McMahon (and some local beer!)

WEDNESDAY 20 MARCH – ITINERARY

10am Arrive at Athenry Town Park at the Church Car Park, near the Train Station, our first stop is just across the road.

(If you arrive early, you can grab a coffee at The Nook further along the same street on the opposite side or at the Old Barracks on Cross St)

Visit to BRADY’S BUTCHERS

Brady’s is a family butchers for several generations and still have their own on-site abattoir killing beef & lamb, all sourced from local farms around Athenry.

We will be visiting the abattoir to observe the Beef & Lamb kill and will meet with Richie Brady who now runs the business. Richie was one of the last generation in Ireland to have formal butchery training which included slaughtering skills.

Following what is believed by many to have been the systematic closure of small abattoirs by the Irish authorities throughout the 1990s, only a handful of slaughterhouses remain in operation in County Galway, the majority of these in the east of the county. A very small number of these also have a butcher shops and in some cases their own farm, providing total traceability and real food provenance to the consumer. The tenacity of those who have continued against the odds to carry out this practice is to be greatly admired.

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12.30 approx Drive to Knockbrack – 5 mins from Athenry

Visit to THE FRIENDLY FARMER

A short drive into the countryside at Knockbrack, Athenry we find Ronan Byrne (aka The Friendly Farmer) at work on his picturesque farm with the little yellow cottage which once belonged to his grandparents. The Friendly Farmer’s mainstay is Pasture Reared Chickens, along with Geese, Turkeys and Ducks seasonally, but he also has a few free ranging saddleback pigs and a small herd of beef cattle.

Last year Ronan won a Euro-Toques Food Award for his excellent quality chicken. But something very special has happened on the Friendly Farm in the meantime – in December Ronan opened his own on –farm abattoir meaning all of his Turkeys, Geese & Ducks for Christmas were killed and processed on farm and he now kills his chickens weekly right across the field from where they were reared.

We will meet Ronan (he really is very friendly!), get a tour of the farm and an understanding of his farm practices, and observe how the chickens are killed on-farm.

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2.30pm approx. Travel to Galway City

You may a parking space at the Cathedral car park, which will put you roughly half way between our 2 locations or park around Newtownsmith or Market street close to Sheridans and then move the car closer to Massimo later or leave it there and stroll down via Dominick St.

Visit to SHERIDANS CHEESEMONGERS

On Churchyard St in Galway (beside St. Nicholas Church) you will find Galway food institution Sheridans Cheesemongers and above it Sheridans Wine Bar. Inside you will meet Seamus Sheridan, just as much of an institution as the shop itself perhaps!

After a browse in the shop, Seamus will take us through a tasting of some local West of Ireland cheeses (perhaps with a sup of wine to accompany) and a general chat about food in Galway and the history of Sheridans. The perfect thing to whet our appetites for a lovely Euro-Toques meal.

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4pm approx. Make your way, via Dominick st, to MASSIMO, William Street

LOCAL FARM & CRAFT BEER DINNER – Eat @ MASSIMO

This part of town has become known as the West End and is famous for its bars and more recently its restaurants, thanks in no small part to the efforts of JP McMahon, who first opened Cava Restaurant on Dominick St 5 years ago, followed by the Michelin starred Aniar next door and later started doing the food at well-known pub Massimo further down the town. Since then a slew of new restaurants have opened in the area.

For this occasion, JP will be sourcing produce from Brady’s and The Friendly Farmer, as well as other regular local suppliers such as Castlemine Farm in Roscommon and Green Earth Organics in Galway to bring us a 3 course menu based on local farm produce. All of this will be lovingly washed down with beers from the Galway Hooker Brewery accompanied by chat from the brewers themselves.

We are making it an early evening casual supper, so that you can get on the road home again or set yourself up for a good night in Galway (and sure there’s always craic to be had in Galway!).

Hope you can join us for this interesting day out!!

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Cost per person – to include Tasting at Sheridans and Dinner at Massimos – €30

Attendance at Athenry visits only – Free of Charge

Numbers for visits will be limited. Booking is essential.

Call 01 6779995/085 8520760, Text 085 8520760 or Email info@euro-toques.ie

Please note: This is an industry event and not open to the general public