Voting opens to name Northern Ireland’s new signature dish

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Tourism NI has tasked four of Northern Ireland’s top chefs to create three brand new locally-inspired

dishes, one of which will be named as Northern Ireland’s New Signature Dish, via public vote.

Northern Ireland’s New Signature Dish search is part of the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016 celebrations and the four creative minds taking part, referred to as the ‘cooking collective’, are Niall McKenna from James Street South; Ian Orr from Browns Restaurant and Ardtara House; Kelan McMichael from Bull and Ram and Chris McGowan from Wine and Brine.

Naomi Waite, Director of Marketing, Tourism Northern Ireland, said: “We want to create a lasting food legacy as part of the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016 to live on long after the year-long celebration is over and that is what the Signature Dish is all about.

“The three dishes prepared by the ‘cooking collective’ are completely new to the dining scene in Northern Ireland and are made from only the best of our local produce. While the Born and Braised, Buttermilked Lamb and Jowled Eel dishes are of restaurant quality the recipes are available on the Discover Northern Ireland website and can easily be cooked, adapted and enjoyed at the dinner table at home.

“Voting closes on the December 8th and the winning dish, as voted for by the public, will be announced at a special unveiling event at St George’s Market on December 10th where the ‘cooking collective’ chefs will be hosting a cookery demo before the grand unveiling”, concluded Naomi.

Ian Orr, Browns Restaurant and Ardtara Country House Hotel, said: “I love experimenting with local produce and wanted to create finalist dishes with the rest of the ‘cooking collective’ that would showcase the best of what’s available in the Northern Ireland larder. I am really pleased with the results and I’m looking forward to seeing what the public chooses as Northern Ireland’s new signature dish.”

Chris McGowan, Wine and Brine, said: “Coming up with three potential signature dishes has be an amazing experience for the ‘cooking collective’. We have taken quite a journey through Northern Ireland food and drink during our research and have even more admiration for them and the work they do. The diversity and quality of produce available across Northern Ireland is astounding and we have showcased just some of it in our three finalist dishes. I’d like to wish the public the best of luck in choosing their winning dish – it won’t be easy - and remember to support local producers.”

Kelan McMichael, Bull and Ram, said: “We chose the final three dishes because they bring together the very best local produce we have on offer but also because the ingredients are affordable and accessible for people to buy in their local butchers, deli’s and shops. All the ingredients chosen work really well together, are easy to cook and the flavours are harmonious so whatever dish wins we hope everyone in Northern Ireland enjoys trying them out at home for their loved ones.”

Niall McKenna, James Street South Restaurant Group, said: “We decided that these three dishes best represent Northern Ireland on a plate as each dish is packed full of flavour and made with the highest quality local produce. We also really liked the fact that there were a few curve balls thrown in there when it came to ingredients or techniques, and we enjoyed those little surprises and examples of thinking outside the box. This is what is helping make Northern Ireland a global destination for food lovers.

Have your say on Northern Ireland’s New Signature Dish. Let Tourism Northern Ireland know which of the three dishes is your favourite by logging on to, and sharing your thoughts on the Discover NI Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages with the hashtag, #SignatureDishNI.

Vote for your favourite and you could win a Belfast break for two, including two nights B&B in the 4* Radisson Blu and a food tour with Taste and Tour. Join the conversation online with #SignatureDishNI.

All ingredients used in the dishes have been sourced from Northern Ireland food and drink producers and suppliers. Comber Early Potatoes currently not in season and wild garlic, usually available from late January onwards, must be washed before use.