2 September 2019
By Bryan Smyth
Local Wild Food Challenge is a ‘fEast’ (a portmanteau of the words Feast and East -ed) for the senses
Get out into the wild and find, forage and feast on your gatherings. That is the message from Ireland’s first Local Wild Food Challenge which will take place at fEast Cork Food and Drink Festival in Midleton, Co Cork on September 8th.
The Local Wild Food Challenge is a culinary adventure contest, challenging people to get out into their surrounding environments and create dishes using the wealth of wild ingredients found right at their back door. These ingredients can be sourced from beaches, forests, rivers, lakes, hills or backyards. Organisers wish that those partaking in the event have as much fun being outdoors, fishing, foraging, hunting and gathering as they do preparing their dish. Also encouraging people to partner up with others and combine skills of gathering food and cooking to compete.
Competitors create a dish made from their wild food gatherings and present it with the story of its origin to a panel of judges who assess the taste, presentation and inspiring story behind the dish. Anyone can have a go and the judging and scoring system is designed to be equal and fair for amateurs and professionals alike. Kids are also encouraged to enter. Contestants can make any kind of dish they want, hot, cold, liquid, frozen, as long as it includes at least one wild ingredient. However, the more local and wild ingredients the better. This year’s competition will be assessed by a panel of celebrity judges including the Ballyhoura Mushrooms team and Jess Murphy of Kai Cafe, Galway who are also partaking in the fEast Cork programme.
“The Local Wild Food Challenge celebrates the beauty and bounty of our natural environment. The spirit of the event is about respecting adventurous culinary creativity as part of our past and future.” said Joleen Cronin who is organising this special event as part of fEast. Inspired by the humble concept, community ethos and food-focused nature of the Local Wild Food Challenge, Joleen got in touch with founder Bill Manson, who originated the challenge in New Zealand in 2008. Local Wild Food Challenges have now been hosted by communities across the globe including Finland, Italy, France and the USA.
“The competition is designed to encourage an understanding of our relationship with our environment and highlight local skills in hunting, gathering, fishing, cooking and foraging. This is coupled with an appreciation of a healthier, outdoor lifestyle.” says Bill “We really want people to go deeper into their surroundings and get an appreciation for the precious local resources they have available. We feel the closer and more involved you are with these resources, the more likely you are to protect and nurture them.”
To enter, bring your dish along to An Chistin Tent, The Green, Town Parks, Midleton on Sunday, September 8 between 12 noon and 2pm. Register in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and for more information see www.feastcork.ie and www.localwildfoodchallenge.com