Monday, September 6, 2010

Grow - Bake - Cook Award is back....


Calling all amateur artisans! The exciting GROW BAKE COOK enterprise initiative to seek out a new food producer from the ranks of skilled amateurs is back for a second year. Following last year’s success, the competition is all set to go ahead again, this time backed by Failte Ireland and the new enterprise team at Cork City Council.

The award will run as part of the huge and exciting programme for the eatCORK! Food festival, which takes place from 23rd-26th September 2010. This festival celebrates the city’s lively food heritage at grassroots level – and as part of that, Grow Bake Cook will headline the competition element of the festival weekend. This award was devised last year by food enthusiast Elke O’Mahony, and food writer Dianne Curtin, and born of the need to create new career prospects in a time of recession. This year, we hope the initiative will once again unearth a new artisan, who will win the chance to be helped on the ladder to becoming a successful food producer. A prize of mentoring support from Failte Ireland Southwest is a huge boost for this year’s winner, offering practical help to branch into food production as a full time career. Failte Ireland Southwest run a successful hospitality industry training centre in Albert Road Cork, managed by Oliver Sullivan. The centre trains a large number of students in the hotel and catering industry, and offers valuable business mentoring too.

The Grow Bake Cook winner this year will have support from the mentoring team at Failte Ireland Southwest, in order to be able to turn their amateur enthusiasm for food into a real career in the future. Guidelines for entry are strict – entrants must not be earning more than 20% of their income from producing foods at present. This competition is open to all forms of food production – growing, cooking or baking, as the name suggests. Certain categories apply within this, and these are attached. Successful entries will be shortlisted, then invited for judging on Thursday 23rd September, prior to the launch of the festival. Applicants MUST be available to attend the judging at The Farmgate CafĂ©, English Market.

Judges this year are Ruth Healy, successful marketing guru, Ballymaloe Cookery School graduate, and owner of Urru Culinary Store Bandon. Ruth’s valuable advice on food packaging, quality, and prospective saleability of product is second to none. She is joined on the judging panel by Oliver Sullivan, from Failte Ireland’s training centre in Albert Road. Oliver has many years experience in training students in all aspects of hospitality industry. Our third judge is Iain Flynn, of Flynn’s Kitchen. This highly respected artisan producer on the Cork scene made the hugely successful transition from working full time as a chef, to starting his own business producing an own label range of ready meals, sauces, preserves and chutneys, now sold at various outlets and through Cork’s farmer’s market network. Entrants can avail of the huge expertise and valuable advice of all three judges on the judging day.

So if you fancy getting a foot on the ladder to food producing success, we now invite prospective entrants to apply in writing to the email below, with details of their products, list of ingredients and methods of making, and as much detail as possible to back up the application. We are really looking for the wow! Factor here – so if you think you and your food product has it – please apply! Applicants from last year can apply again this year – hopefully with some new and exciting developments to their range.

Please contact Elke O’Mahony on email

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