Chef McCourt has a new mission to China

A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to help a local chef raise the funds he needs to go to a prestigious awards ceremony in China.

‘Feast or Famine’ by local chef and cultural food ambassador Emmett McCourt has been short listed for a prestigious international Gourmand World Cookbook award.

He needs to raise over £3,000 to get him to the awards ceremony in China, where ‘Feast or Famine’ has been nominated in the category of best local cuisine.

Speaking to the ‘Journal’ Emmett said to be short listed in the awards is a massive achievement for everyone involved in the book.

‘The award creates an international opportunity to introduce our cultural food story to a global audience.

‘To be a category winner and short listed by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards for best in the world, builds confidence in our fantastic food offering and gives us a unique opportunity to profile the region and grow its appeal as a world class food destination.’

Nominees in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards come from 210 different countries and ‘Feast or Famine’ is the only book nominated from Northern Ireland. The calibre of those nominated include some household names like Jamie Oliver and High Fearnley-Whittingstall.

A crowdfunding page has been set up by local woman Trisha Harkin to help Emmett raise the funds he needs to attend the awards ceremony.

Trisha is involved with Angel Wishes NI - an organisation which helps children fighting cancer.

She first met Emmett when he granted the wish of an extremely sick child, who was mad about cooking.

Emmett went to the seven-year-old’s home and cooked a meal for his family. He died in the arms of his mother a short time later.

Trisha said Emmett was the first chef to offer his services and was absolutely fantastic, going above and beyond to grant the boy’s wish. She set up the crowdfunding page as a way to thank him for his support.

The chef admits he was humbled by the whole experience and said he was ‘privileged’ to be involved with Angel Wishes.

Emmett needs over £3,000 to get to the awards ceremony and has had support from Derry City Council, the North West Regional College - where he is a lecturer- and friends and family.

However, he has three weeks to raise of the rest of the funds.

To donate go to