Derry restaurant is ‘World Food Restaurant of the Year’

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A Derry restaurant has been named ‘World food Restaurant of the Year 2019’ at the YesChef Awards.

Based in the Nerve Centre, Mekong Street Food serves Asian, Vietnamese and Thai food and has gained popularity in Derry and the north west since it first came on the scene last year.

The team, which consists of Stephen Forbes, Eoin Carlin and Christy McShane, were first crowned Ulster ‘World Food Restaurant of the Year,’ before taking homed the national title.

Speaking to the ‘Journal’, chef Stephen Forbes said that people in Derry have “really taken” to Mekong.

“I was working in Pier 59 and it closed down, so I decided to buy a food truck. We were trading in Springtown Industrial Estate for a while and did a ‘pop up’ in the Nerve Centre last year for a few months.

“I took a break and went travelling to Vietnam with the other chef, and when we got back the Nerve Centre asked us to come back in again and we’ve been there about six months now.

“It’s been really good, we’ve only been open a year and it’s a really good accolade to get already.

“We weren’t expecting such good feedback because the food is different, but it’s really taken off. It’s bigger than I thought it would be anyway!

“It’s just a case of taking every day as it comes, and push on and become established in the Nerve Centre.”

Now in its sixth year, the YesChef awards was held in Radisson Blu Hotel, Sligo, on October 9.

With 500 guests representing chefs and hospitality professionals from across the island, the evening was a celebration of the craft that is Irish Food.

Shane Smith, Managing director of YesChef Magazine said: “The programme has gone from strength to strength and will continue to grow.

“The concept is simple, to showcase the talent within the culinary world across the island.

“It’s never been about the few Michelin starred restaurants, it’s always been about the majority of chefs who work the pots and pans, sourcing the finest ingredients and making the best of them, to please their diners. For an industry facing huge challenges in recruiting both chefs and professional front of house teams, what we have seen is a welcome celebration of the successful coming together of two professions.”

The YesChef Awards is sponsored by Flogas, Lynas, Bunzl McLaughlin, CLASSICdrinks, Ready Chef, Taste of Gourmet, The Panel of Chefs of Ireland and Johnsons Coffee.

For more information on Mekong, visit www.facebook.com/mekongsf