World Book Award winner returns to Derry

Emmett McCourt chats to the media following his success at the World Book Awards in China.
Emmett McCourt chats to the media following his success at the World Book Awards in China.

There will be a press reception at Ráth Mór tomorrow (Friday) for Guildhall Press author Emmett McCourt who won the Gourmand World Award for Best Culinary Travel Book in China last week.

McCourt’s ‘Feast or Famine: A Cultural Food Journey Through the North West of Ireland’ beat off opposition from Paris, Tokyo, Athens, Belgium and Peru to win the global accolade.

Mayor Elisha McCallion will attend tomorrow’s event and will also host a civic reception for the chef at a later date.

Speaking on his return to Derry on Wednesday night, McCourt said he was thrilled that his work had won such prestigious international recognition.

He said: ‘It has been a privilege and a pleasure to bring the North West’s culinary heritage to a world audience – and to find that the world is so receptive to it.

‘I would like to thank the huge number of people who contributed both to the book – and to making it such a success. You have helped put the North West of Ireland on the world culinary stage.’

In his book, McCourt takes the reader on a historical culinary tour of Derry and Donegal, back to the time of Colmcille, and explores what makes this region such an abundant source of food and drink.

He shows how the North West of Ireland influenced farming and culinary methods in America and beyond in the 1700s and 1800s. And he recovered age-old recipes, revived traditional cooking techniques, and rediscovered long-forgotten Irish food treasures.

Guildhall Press editor Garbhan Downey, who worked with McCourt on the award-winning

publication, added: ‘Everyone at Guildhall Press is delighted for Emmett. This is a great personal achievement and a wonderful team effort for all involved in producing such a unique book. Once again, Derry leads the world!’

‘Feast Or Famine’, by Emmett McCourt, is published by Guildhall Press and is available at