Evolution Of Food Writing

Evolution Of Food Writing

Time: 9.30-11.00
Date: Sunday 5th May
Price: €25.00
Location: Carrigaun Room Grainstore

In Conversation


In the august figures of food writers  Matthew Fort and John McKenna, you have two of the finest practitioners of the craft to have ever graced these islands. Both are the recipients of multiple international accolades and awards and both are renowned for the impassioned intelligence and wonderful craftsmanship with which they have always conveyed their great love, knowledge and appreciation of food. But are they gathering at Ballymaloe to write their own obituaries? Are they here to signal the death knell of food-writing as we know it and as it has been practiced for centuries? McKenna has admitted himself in recent times that, at the very least, serious change is afoot.

Fort and McKenna, bringing to bear decades of personal experience between them, will look at the evolution of their craft, from those earliest cave drawings by hunter-gatherers depicting their daily diet right up to the modern digital media age which poses the greatest threat of all to the traditional practice of food writing. And along the way, they’ll be looking at some of the utterly fascinating characters, fellow practitioners who came before them and paved the way. It promises to be a highly entertaining, highly informative and deeply personal story.

Book Tickets Now

Matthew Fort, Food and Drink editor at The Guardian newspaper, has been named Glenfiddich Food Writer of the Year and Restaurateurs’ Writer of the Year. He has written for many prestigious publications including Vanity Fair, The Observer, The Daily Telegraph, Decanter, Cuisine et Vins de France.

He is the author of three books: Rhubarb and Black Pudding; Eating Up Italy; and Sweet Honey, Bitter Lemons which won the Premio Sicilia Madre Mediterranea. Matthew’s television portfolio includes Greatest Dishes in the World and The Forager’s Field Guide.

He was one of the co-presenters of Market Kitchen and is currently one of the judges on The Great British Menu for BBC2.

Matthew was awarded the Premio Antic Corte Pallavicina in 2008.

John McKenna was born in Belfast, and educated there and in Dublin where he originally practised as a barrister.

In 1989 he took a sabbatical from the Law Library and set off with his wife, Sally, in a beat-up Renault 4 they had bought for £100. Six months research visiting Irish artisans and cooks produced the first Irish Food Guide, which was published in November 1989.

Since then, McKenna has written bi-annual editions of the Irish Food Guide, along with annual editions of The 100 Best Restaurants in Ireland and The 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland. He has also written two editions of How To Run A Restaurant, along with How To Succeed in Hospitality.

He was awarded the first André Simon Special Prize for The Irish Food Guide and has won four Glenfiddich Awards.

McKenna has presented two series of “McKenna’s Ireland” for RTE television. The New York Times has described him as “Ireland’s leading food critic”.