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CITY TRIBUNE

Appetite for change

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Lifestyle – Galway chef and restaurant owner JP McMahon wants us to rethink our approach to food. As he prepares for the third Food on the Edge Symposium, he tells Judy Murphy why.

I’ve been told you have to play the political game. But at some point, someone has to stop playing that game and say it as it is,” says chef JP McMahon, who has done more to change the face of food in Galway than any other individual. As he prepares for the third Food on the Edge Symposium which will see 45 of the world’s top chefs and food journalists gather in Galway’s Black Box Theatre next week for a two-day conference on the future of food, JP is happy to speak his mind.

The chef-patron of the Michelin-starred Aniar restaurant, who also owns Cava Tapas Bar and the recently opened Tartare Café and Wine Bar, has landed himself in trouble before for that trait.

Most memorable was the year he decided to close Aniar during the Galway Races Summer meeting after several no-show bookings left him with empty seats in the tiny restaurant.  Some people felt he was right, but there was criticism too about his comments on the behaviour of some Racegoers.

However, while JP’s detractors may regard him as arrogant and outspoken, others praise his vision, his passion for food and his generosity. Diners at Aniar talk about being sent home with freshly-made bread, while they now get the recipe and a poem by Brendan Kennelly entitled Bread.

These gestures reflect JP’s attitude to food, which is that we need to stop seeing our “top-quality beef, shellfish and dairy produce” as commodities for export and instead see them as part of our own culture.

“Food is often an after-thought but it’s probably the most important thing we need,” he says.

His aim with Food on the Edge (FOTE), which he founded three years ago, is to have people in the business “up their game”, with a resulting influence on the larger community.

Chef Dylan McGrath has described FOTE as being like “Electric Picnic for chefs” and it’s a good analogy.

Speakers this year range from Michelin-starred chefs to those who specialise in street-food, or come from areas of conflict. They include new faces and previous participants.

The stars of the Netflix series Chef’s Table, Nordic chef Magnus Nilsson of Fäviken, and Slovenian chef and winner of 2016 Best Female Chef in The World Ana Roš of Hiša Franko restaurant will attend, as will Niki Nakayama, owner of the groundbreaking n/naka restaurant in Los Angeles.

Leading Irish chefs taking part include Robin Gill, Niall McKenna, Anna Haugh, Cúán Greene and the Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year finalists.

Speakers will talk for 15 minutes on the topic of Action and Reaction and there will be panel discussions on themes such as Finnish cooking and on Creating a Better Food System.

 

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Former hotel won’t be ring-fenced for college

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No designation....Corrib Great Southern during demolition.

The site of the former Corrib Great Southern will no longer be ring-fenced for educational purposes if a clause removed in a draft of the next development plan is eventually adopted.

A motion by Mayor Colette Connolly proposed earmarking one-third of the six-acre Dublin Road site for educational use as well as research or collaborative ventures between third level colleges and industry.

Mayor Connolly said her proposal reinstates the text of the current plan reserving a portion of any planned development for education.

Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) was supportive of the motion, the Independent councillor she told a planning meeting convened to collate a draft of the plan.

Councillor Declan McDonell (Ind) said GMIT had recently purchased the home of the Galwegians Rugby Club at Glenina for €9 million and were progressing developments at the Cluain Mhuire site and a proposed Centre of Excellence for Health, Sport, and Marine Science at Murrough.

The former hotel had been offered to GMIT for €3.75m by NAMA (National Asset Management Agency) but they had to pass because they could not come up with the money.

“So I fail to see how they could come up with the money to buy two acres for educational purposes – therefore we could be left with a derelict site for years,” he warned.

Cllr Noel Larkin (Ind) told the meeting he was in favour of an expanding GMIT but agreed the site which only recently saw the demolition of a major eyesore could be left derelict for another decade if developers were hamstrung by what could be built.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Conamara siblings take to stage for TradFest

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Séamus and Caoimhe Uí Fhlatharta, who will perform in Collins Barracks next Thursday.

The musical talent of Conamara siblings Caoimhe and Séamus Uí Fhlatharta from An Áird Mhóir, will be on show at this year’s Temple Bar TradFest, which runs from January 26-230 in venues across Dublin. They will be performing at Collins Barracks at 1pm next Thursday, January 26.

Séamus and Caoimhe, who have won multiple All-Ireland titles for their music, are well-known among fans of traditional music as brilliant multi-instrumentalists, singers and dancers, whose vocal arrangements and harmonies bring new life to well-known and less familiar songs. Their performance on last week’s Late Late Show as part of a musical tribute to murdered Offaly woman, Ashling Murphy, was widely praised.

TradFest is one of the first largescale events to host live audiences again, something that performers and fans alike hope will continue.

Other participants include actor Stephen Rea, hosting a night of poetry and music with Natalya O’Flaherty, Sasha Terfous, Louise and Michelle Mulcahy and Neill Martin; Fairport Convention; Peggy Seeger, Aoife Scott and Wallis Bird; Maria Doyle Kennedy; Boxing Banjo; Dervish, Altan and 4 Men and a Dog; Séamus Begley, Oisín Mac Diarmada and Samantha Harvey; Martin and Eliza Carthy; The Lost Brothers; Maria Doyle Kennedy; Joe and Steve Wall; Cór Cúil Aodha and Seán Ó Sé; Karan Casey; Niamh Ní Charra; Brídín; Laoise Kelly; Brenda Castles, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh; Tim Edey, Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin and Ultan O’Brien.

Tickets and more information at tradfesttemplebar.com.

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CITY TRIBUNE

NUIG Mystics sticking to their routine ahead of Cup decider

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Alison Blaney of NUIG Mystics in action against Sophie Moore of Limerick Sport Huskies during the Women’s Division 1 National Cup semi-final. The Galway club face Templeogue in Sunday's final.

NUIG Mystics head coach Paul O’Brien says his squad are treating this week like any other as they prepare to head to the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght on Sunday to take on Templeogue in the Women’s Division One Cup final (1.30pm).

Mystics go into the game as favourites, having lowered the Templeogue flag on the Dublin side’s home court in the league with a 76-60 win back at the end of November, though O’Brien insists that game will have little bearing on Sunday’s contest.

“That was a couple of months ago, they are a much better side now, defensively they are far stronger now then they were for that game, so we are going to have to shoot the ball well, certainly better than we did in the semi-final,” he says.

That semi-final saw Mystics overcome Limerick Sport Huskies 70-54, and they go into Sunday’s final in great form, having trimmed Tipperary Knights 92-65 at the NUIG Sports Complex on Saturday, their eighth win on the bounce since their one and only defeat of the season, a 77-74 loss to Ulster University Elks back in November.

“That was a very good game at the weekend and the final scoreline doesn’t do justice to Tipperary. They were right in it until about half way through the third quarter, they were leading in fact, but we just pulled it out with a big final quarter,” he said.

Templeogue are also on a decent run of form, having won four games on the spin, their last defeat being that reversal to Mystics, and O’Brien says that the Dublin side will be boosted by having something of a home court advantage, given the fact the NBA is just a 20-minute drive from their home court.

However, Mystics have plenty of players used to playing high-pressure games, and the national arena won’t hold any surprises for a side packed with players who have worn the green of Ireland at the venue, and have contested schools’ and club finals there.

“We have a great team spirit, there is no ego in the squad, players don’t mind who gets the scores as long as the team wins, and that has been crucial to our season so far. We are treating this week the same as any other, we’ll train Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and we’ll get the bus up on Sunday morning and hopefully we will play to our ability,” he said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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