Bitesize: 2024 Irish Food Writer’s Guild Food Awards

Posted 2 months ago in Food & Drink Features

DDF apr-may-24 – Desktop

Congrats to chef, writer and food waste warrior Conor Spacey who was yesterday honoured with an award for Notable Contribution to Irish Food at the annual awards ceremony organised by the Irish Food Writer’s Guild.

The enterprising Dublin based chef was one of the recipients of eight prestigious awards by the Guild, each of which shines a light on exemplars of the country’s thriving, world-class artisan food and drink industry. Other winners included Anna and Orla Snook O’Carroll, creators of Valentia Island Vermouth, Ireland’s first vermouth, Cork Urban Soil Project, and Louth’s Carlingford Oysters.

A chef for over thirty years, the award recognises Spacey’s long career as an ambassador for change, and his contribution to Irish food, as important, timely and relevant. Commending him for his work, the citation from the Guild read:

“Through his work with organisations such as Food Space, and as co-creator of The Chefs’ Manifesto (a global network of chefs committed to finding better solutions to the global food system), Conor Spacey shows that a zero-waste approach to food in hospitality settings is not only attainable, but cost effective, opening a new and exciting culinary lexicon for both chef and diner.”

In the past year the innovative chef, disruptor and author also found time to pen Wasted, a cookbook that efficiently goes about the business of identifying some of the most wasted food items in Irish homes, and finds ways of turning them into tasty, nutritious dishes.

Published by Blasta Books, the compact recipe book is crammed with ideas designed to help everyone to turn a corner, stop wasting food and turn perfectly good ingredients into delicious dishes. In sharing his recipes Spacey is doing his bit to encourage people to think differently about ingredients and waste in the hope that doing so may help change an unhealthy national mindset and reconnect us all to the benefits of real food.

In the midst of the celebrations at Suesey Street, Caroline Hennessy Chair of the Irish Food Writer’s Guild, called for additional supports to help Irish food producers meet the many challenges they face in the current climate.

“Ireland’s producers need support from government, from supermarket and restaurant buyers and from consumers who want to eat and drink exceptional and sustainably sourced Irish produce. From oysters to organic meats and chicken, traditionally made pastry and Ireland’s first and only vermouth, this year’s winning produce together with our chosen producers and innovators are the heart and soul of our domestic food industry and they deserve our support.”

We couldn’t agree more!

The full list of winners of the 2024 Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Awards is as follows:

  • Food Award: Carlingford Oysters, Co. Louth.  A Pacific oyster with a sweet nutty flavour followed by a slight tannic lingering aftertaste that takes more than three years to reach maturity. 
  • Food Award: Regan Organic Chicken, Co. Wexford. A case-study of an alternative food system at work, each step of the Regan Organic Chicken process is designed to care for the welfare of the birds and to maintain a close connection to nature and natural food production.
  • Food Award: Roll It All Butter Pastry, Co. Meath. Comfort and convenience all rolled into one, Mairead Finnegan’ uses simple and honest Irish ingredients to produce a pastry that is easy to use and free from additives and preservatives.
  • Irish Drink Award: Valentia Island Vermouth, Co. Kerry. Ór Valentia Island Vermouth has been making a splash as the first ever Irish vermouth created by the innovative wife-and-wife team Anna and Orla Snook O’Carroll.
  • Notable Contribution to Irish Food: Conor Spacey, Co. Dublin. Through his work with organisations such as Food Space, and as co-creator of The Chefs’ Manifesto, Conor Spacey shows that a zero-waste approach to food in hospitality settings is not only attainable but cost effective too.
  • Environmental Award: Rare Ruminare, Co. Sligo. The goal at Rare Ruminare is to produce the heathiest and best tasting meat possible. Clive Bright’s holistic grazing management approach uses carefully planned grazing events followed by long recovery periods, moving the cattle around to emulate natural herding behaviour.
  • Community Food Award: Cork Urban Soil Project, Co. Cork. CUSP was established in 2017 by a collective of forward-thinking activists and creative dreamers who see food as a tool for social change. Their aim was to test and model a ‘closed loop’ community-scale waste system, one that treats food scraps as a valuable resource for the community.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Peter and Mary Ward of Country Choice, Co. Tipperary.  Peter and Mary Ward have ben passionate champions of local food since they opened Country Choice in 1982, selling the best and most natural ingredients they can source.


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