Smuggler’s Creek in Rossnowlagh is hosting an All-American BBQ with a difference tomorrow night in aid of the North West Culinary Team.
There’ll be music from Leon Cunningham, raffles and plenty of craic. But the highlight will be the extraordinary food and drink on offer, all prepared by the very best chefs from across the north west.
The event’s a fundraiser for the North West Culinary Team, a crack squad of 20 top chefs from Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim. They got together with the aim of raising awareness of just how good restaurants are in the region and are already achieving great things. At this year’s Chef Ireland competition, the team took a total of nine medals - three gold, silver and bronze - and three certificates of merit.
Now they’ve set their sights on the winning the prestigious Prix des Chefs at the Hotel Olympia competition in London next April. The event normally only features national teams and this is the first time that a regional team has ever qualfied.
Joe Clinton, head chef at Smuggler’s, is the team captain, Billy Grimes the team secretary, Gabrielle McSharry from IT Sligo team manager. Alan Fitmaurice from the Glasshouse Hotel in Sligo, Ballyshannon’s Paul Kelly who is head pastry chef at the Marriott in Dublin, John Kelly of the Riverbank Restaurant in Dromahir and Colm McKee form Harvey’s Point are just some of the top names on the team.
Joe told the Democrat: “This is just the start, it’s a huge challenge and very, very exciting. It’s not about any one place, it’s about showcasing the region as a whole and everyone involved is passionate about what we’re doing.
“We’re all putting in a 15-month commitment, with training days lasting up to 12 hours. At Hotel Olympia, we have to produce 120 meals in 2 hours for the hot meal and the buffet 0- which will cost €15,000 for us to produce - will show the very best that the north west has to offer.
“We want to keep Killybegs on the map: every single one of us wants the catering college to stay in Killybegs. We hope to produce something very special that will make people sit up and take notice.”