Sally Ferns Barnes, a West Cork-based artisanal fish smoker who works exclusively with wild caught fish, has received a lifetime achievement award from the Irish Food Writers’ Guild (IFWG). The Guild’s 2022 Food Awards are presented in Dublin on Tuesday to food and drink producers, retailers and environmental and community campaigners.
Ferns Barnes, who has smoked wild fish for over 40 years, has already won a supreme championship at the Guild of Fine Food’s Great Taste awards for Britain and Ireland, winning the title in 2006 for his wild Irish salmon smoke. She also runs masterclasses in salting and smoking wild fish at her base near Castletownshend, and collaborates with the Slow Food University of Piedmont.
Food prizes for outstanding produce go to Eoin Cluskey’s Dublin bakery, Bread 41; to the Calvey family’s Achill Mount Lamb in County Mayo, and to Teresa Roche for Alpine-style Coolfin cheese, made on the family farm in east Galway. The drink award goes to another Galway product, All About Kombucha, made by Emmett Kerrigan and Keith Loftus, who discovered fermented bubbly tea while working in Vancouver after graduating in business from NUIG. Since starting the business in 2017, they now have three premises in Galway.
Galway fishmonger Stefan Griesbach has received an award for his notable contribution to Irish cuisine. His Gannet Fishmongers have grown from restaurant suppliers and chefs to market stalls, a retail store and online sales with nationwide delivery, through his eatmorefish.ie website.
The environmental award goes to Carina and Alex Conyngham for their efforts at Rock Farm in Slane, where they combine organic farming and ecotourism. Dexter cattle, Tamworth crossbred pigs and Bronze turkeys graze the pastures and a variety of vegetables are grown under the guidance of farm manager Lucho Diez, while visitors stay in a variety of yurts, tents and eco-cabins. glamping.
Our Table, winner of the Community Food award, is a community-based social enterprise that uses food to spark conversation and shine a light on the realities of those living on direct food. Its founders, cafe owner and food writer Michelle Darmody and former asylum seeker Ellie Kisyombe, met while volunteering for the Irish Refugee Council.
The IFWG awards have been around since 1993 and are judged by Guild members, who buy the products anonymously. Winning products must be made in Ireland and the main ingredient must be grown or produced in Ireland. The awards are sponsored by Bord Bia.
“Many of our 2022 winners are traditional products, but with a twist. From the fishmonger to the baker, from the cheesemonger to the Galway duo who played with the traditional Irish love of tea, innovative producers put their own stamp on things, creating something unique and utterly delicious,” said IFWG President Caroline Hennessy.
Winners of the Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Awards 2022:
Gastronomy Awards: Bread 41, Dublin
Gastronomy Awards: Achill Mountain Lamb from Calvey, Mayo
Gastronomy Awards: Coolfin Cheese, Galway
Irish Drink Price: All About Kombucha, Galway
Notable contribution to the Irish Food Award: Stefan Griesbach of Gannet Fishmongers, Galway]
Environmental Award: Rock Farm Slane, Meath
Community Food Awards: Our table, Dublin
Life Achievement Award: Sally Ferns Barnes, Liege