This is the Derry chef who has a bigger passion for food than the Irish do for potatoes.
Emmett McCourt, a lecturer at the North West Regional College picked up the Best Local Food Promotion Event/Initiative 2013 prize at this year’s NI Food and Drink Awards, for his Irish Food Heritage Project.
In doing so he beat off stiff competition from major food events including The Balmoral Show, The Flavours of Tyrone and famous Tayto Crisps Potato Festival.
A delighted Emmett who penned the book ‘Feast or Famine’ told the ‘Journal’ that judges felt the IFHP had the “widest and most varied reach over many sectors,including Culture and Art.”
“We’re all about celebrating Irish food,” revealed Emmett. “The IFHP is about local people and suppliers. Not only is our food the best, but it really unites us. The book is the main driving force but we also have an app coming out in the next few months. It is a massive achievement for us especially coming in ahead of the Balmoral Show which has in excess of 50,000 visitors.”
With over 25 years experience in the food industry Emmett McCourt has travelled the world working in many countries perfecting the art of cooking. However his earliest influences come from growing up in ‘Thundering Down’ - Creggan Terrace.
“I’d like to thank the many who helped me including Brenda Stevenson, Guildhall Press, Culture Company (Martin Melarkey and his team), Digital Derry, NWRC, DCC.”
Food for Emmett has been a constant journey of love and passion for over two decades. Emmett also demonstrates locally and nationally in stores and at major food events working with Ulster Pork and Bacon, NI Good Food, The Lough’s Agency and the Great Game Fairs of Ireland – endorsing ethically sourced and sustainable local ingredients, wherever possible.
Emmett has co-authored the book ‘Food Reflections of Northern Ireland’ and has also contributed to Irish Country Sports and Country Life magazine’s cookery pages. His other passion is fly fishing and he has contributed to ‘Willow Pitch’, a highly successful, limited-edition angling book.