New Voices In Food

Time: 14.30- 16.00
Date: Saturday 4th May
The Grainstore, Ballymaloe

Panel Discussion

Does this seem at all fair, a single stalwart of the Old Guard coming up against the arrayed forces of the New Wave of food writing? Matthew Fort began writing way before these ‘youngsters’ were even weaned, back when food writing was an entirely different proposition to today’s more lifestyle-centric format, back when the best you could hope for in the way of images was an occasional line drawing illustrating a particularly obscure cooking technique.

But in a rapidly changing world this ‘Famous Five’ —Rachel Allen, Stevie Parle, Thomasina Miers , Claire Ptak and  Donal Skehan—are some of the most popular practitioners around of popular modern cookbook writing, popstars of the culinary world, their faces are now every bit as famous as their dishes. Can they bring Matthew up to speed or does he still have a trick or two up his sleeve to teach the young guns? Which side will you take? This clash between old and new promises to be lively, entertaining and great, great fun.

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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.

Stevie Parle.  At the age of 16 he finished his formal schooling and began his culinary education. He spent a few months at Ballymaloe Cookery School, studying with the great Darina Allen and then attended the most famous of all finishing schools, the River Café. He has been cooking professionally ever since, moving on to London’s Moro and Petersham Nurseries and then back again to River Café.

Rachel Allen was brought up in Dublin and left home at eighteen to study at the world-famous Ballymaloe Cookery School. Rachel is now a busy TV chef, author, journalist and mother, and still teaches at Ballymaloe.

Claire Ptak is an American pastry chef, formerly of legendary Chez Panisse restaurant in California. She moved to London in 2005 and founded Violet Cakes featuring delicious, American-style cakes and treats made with seasonal, natural, and organic ingredients. She began selling them at the Broadway Market. Then in 2010, she opened Violet, her acclaimed bakery and café in Hackney. Violet has been featured in American Vogue, Red magazine, Timeout, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. Susie Bubble visited Violet on Monki TV and Jamie Oliver calls Claire “my favourite cake maker in the whole world.”

Thomasina Miers, past student of the Ballymaloe Cookery School, was BBC 2′s MasterChef in 2005. This was followed by a spell cooking with Skye Gyngell at Petersham Nurseries.

Donal Skehan has become one of the best known food writers, and cookery television presenters of his generation.  He has written three cookery books, Good Mood Food, Kitchen Hero: Bringing Cooking Back Home and Kitchen Hero: Great Food For Less. After winning the best Irish Food Blog, his book, Good Mood Food, nominated at the highly respected Irish Book Awards, won the best Irish published book category.