The inaugural Irish Food Writing Awards were held last night at Fallon & Byrne in Dublin’s city centre with awards handed out across 16 categories.
Food&Wine Magazine, which was bought by the Business Post in 2019 and brought back to print in October 2020, was named Best Food Magazine or supplement. The Irish Times food and drink pages, and EasyFood Magazine were also nominated.
Oisín Davis, spirits writer for Food&Wine Magazine, was also given the Spirits Writing Award. Davis’ monthly column highlights top-class spirits, cocktail recipes and bars from around the country, showcasing those making waves in the spirits industry.
Late wine writer Tomás Clancy, who wrote for the Business Post for over 20 years, was posthumously awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Food and Drink Writing award. Tomás, who passed away in 2020, was well-loved and admired for his exceptional wit and incredible writing. The well-deserved award was accepted on his behalf by his wife Claire Kearney and their sons Tomás and Liam.
Founded by journalist Suzanne Campbell and hospitality professional Paul O’Connor, the Irish Food Writing Awards were created in order to honour the best Irish food and drink journalists, writers, photographers, bloggers and podcast hosts.
The winners were decided by 27 international judges, including food broadcaster Jay Rayner, Michelin-starred chef René Redzepi, writer Tom Parker-Bowles and more. Nine of these judges were present at the event, having travelled to Ireland with the support of Tourism Ireland.
Speaking about the success of the inaugural awards, Suzanne Campbell said that the response to the awards was overwhelming.
"This is the inaugural awards for journalists and food writers in Ireland to award and push for high standards in food writing and food media. We were overwhelmed with the amount of entries, the quality of the international writers who wanted to be involved as judges and our sponsor companies without which the awards wouldn’t have happened,” Campbell said.
“Myself and a colleague Paul O’Connor set this up just this year; it’s a non-profit enterprise, and seeing the joy on peoples’ faces tonight at the awards was worth all the planning and changes we had to make because of the pandemic. It has been a tough eighteen months for the food sector and for journalists so this is a lovely way to acknowledge the hard work of writers and food media”
Other award winners include Michelle Darmody for The Irish Examiner, who won the Writing on Sustainability in Irish Food Award, Joe McNamee, also of The Irish Examiner, who won the Restaurant Writing Award, and Maeve L’Estrange of the Dublin Inquirer, who won the Emerging Voice in Irish Food Writing Award as judged by the Irish Food Writers’ Guild.
The full list of winners is as follows:
- Food Podcast Award winner: Spice Bags Podcast from Dee Laffan, Mei Chin and Blanca Valencia. This award is sponsored by Safco Fine Foods and judged by BBC radio broadcaster on food and drinks Nigel Barden.
- Writing on Sustainability in Irish Food Award winner: Michelle Darmody for work in The Irish Examiner. This award is sponsored by the National Dairy Council and was judged by René Redzepi, Michelin-starred chef and founder of Noma restaurant in Copenhagen, and Catherine Mack, sustainability food and travel writer.
- Restaurant Writing Award winner: Joe McNamee for work in The Irish Examiner. This award is sponsored by Fallon & Byrne and judged by Tom Parker Bowles and Xanthe Clay.
- Food Photography Award winners: Al Higgins (professional) and Rosie Morgan (amateur). This award was sponsored by Hussey Fruit & Veg and was judged by Condé Nast photographer Joann Pai.
- Online Writing Award winner: Caroline Hennessy for www.Bibliocook.com. This award is sponsored by Pestle + Mortar. UK food broadcaster Andy Clarke judged these entries and was looking at not just blogs but also Twitter, Instagram, and how writers used social media platforms.
- Writing on Irish Food Producers Award winner: Katy McGuinness for work in The Irish Independent. This award is sponsored by Aldi and was judged by Mark Hix and German-based food writer Christie Dietz.
- Investigative Writing on Food Award winner: Niall Sargeant for work published in Noteworthy.ie. This award is sponsored by Drummond House Garlic and the entries were judged by UK food journalist Joanna Blythman.
- Emerging Voice in Irish Food Writing Award winner: Maeve L’Estrange for work published in the Dublin Inquirer. This category rewards newer voices in Irish writing on food and drink and was judged by members of the Irish Food Writers’ Guild.
- Cookery Writing Award winner: Lilly Higgins for work in the Irish Times. This award was sponsored by Ardkeen Grocer and judged by Trish Deseine and French Elle Magazine writer Esterelle Payany.
- Wine Writing Award winner: Aoife Carrigy of The Irish Independent. This award was sponsored by Whelehans Wines and judged by Fiona Beckett and Marie-Dominique Bradford of Trois Fois Vins in Paris.
- Spirits Writing Award winner: Oisin Davis of Food&Wine Magazine. This award was sponsored by Powerscourt Distillery and judged by food and drink writers Colman Andrews and Rachel McCormack.
- Beer Writing Award winner: Breandan Kearney for work published on Good Beer Hunting. This award is sponsored by Brú Brewery and was judged by Robb Walsh and Richard Croasdale.
- Food Writing Award winner: Corinna Hardgrave. This award is sponsored by Bord Bia and was judged by American food author Adrian Miller and British author and food writer Sophie Grigson.
- Writing on International Cuisines in Ireland winner: Mei Chin for work in The Irish Times and The Times (UK) newspapers. This award was sponsored by the Irish Curry Awards and judged by British food writer Anjula Devi.
- Magazine or Food Supplement Award winner: Food&Wine Magazine. This award is sponsored by Invest NI was judged by UK food writers Charlotte Pike and Claire Finney.
- Outstanding Achievement in Food and Drink Writing Award winner: Sponsored by James Whelan butchers, this award was presented posthumously to wine writer and broadcaster Tomás Clancy. It was accepted by his wife Claire Kearney and sons Tomás and Liam Clancy.
- Cookbook of The Year Award winner: “FX Buckley the Dublin Steakhouse” by Katy McGuinness and Stephen Buckley. Sponsored by Gather & Gather, this award was judged by Jay Rayner and Dr Annie Gray of BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet.
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