Lough Erne Legendary Irish Elegance

Words cannot fully describe how we were royally treated at the Lough Erne Resort in Co. Fermanagh last week when our Legendary Irish tour.  We got to experience world class dining and accommodation staying at one of Northern Ireland’s most prestigious 5 Star resort.  Executive head chef and friend Noel McMeel rolled out the red carpet for our guests.  One of the most memorable meal experiences was the recreation of the menu served at the G8 summit.  Our guests got to taste the menu experienced by our world leaders, the very best of Irish cuisine.   Our guests were overwhelmed with the Lough Erne Hospitality  and the way we were treated by the restaurant servers and chefs will be a food memory to last a life time.  We feel so humbled and grateful to the team at the Lough Erne including Chef Noel McMeel and Chef Stephen and would like  to send out a personal applause and thankfulness to them.  This this Sunday I will embark on two back to back tours of Southern Ireland, but before we lunch our new venture I wanted to acknowledge our appreciation of the very best of Northern Irish hospitality!

Joy in the journey!

Judie the Irish Foodie

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Counting the days to the James Beard House dinner

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Counting the days to ‘3 Shades of Green’ Debuts at James Beard House May 29 2014.   “3 Shades of Green” brings together three takes on the Irish food experience spearheaded by my great friend and award-winning Ulster chef, Noel McMeel, executive head chef at Lough Erne Resort, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh; cookbook author Margaret M. Johnson and no one less than Judith the Irish foodie.( http://www.3shadesofgreen.com)

Noel McMeel is recognized as one of the top chefs working in Ireland today, has an impressive worldwide culinary track record, including being named “Best Chef In Ulster” a number of times and authoring “Irish Pantry” (Running Press, 2013). He has spent his entire career dedicated to a very simple goal: finding, preparing, and serving the freshest food in season. Having been chef to royalty and rock stars, his culinary skills were most recently tested in June, 2013, when he oversaw the catering for the G-8 Summit at Lough Erne (www.lougherneresort.com) and met the leaders of the world’s eight industrialized nations. This will be his third appearance at the James Beard Foundation.

I will be representing the Shamrock and Peach (www.shamrockandpeach.com) and celebrating my roots from County Armagh, where I learned the techniques of the Scots-Irish culinary tradition.  My Georgia roots will be represented by my signature blending of southern food traditions with Irish techniques and traditions,with a recipe from my cook book “The Shamrock and the Peach” (Ambassador International, 2012).

The author of 10 Irish cookbooks, Margaret has roots in Dublin, Kerry, and Cork, and is a skilled cook and writer who is passionate about Ireland (www.irishcook.com). As a master of distilling the best of Irish culture into the written word, her books and recipes have given Ireland and Irish food the recognition it richly deserves. Her most recent books, “Flavors of Ireland” (2012) and “Christmas Flavors of Ireland” (2013), are published by Ambassador International.

Together, we are teaming up for a special dinner at the Beard Foundation, the New York-based national professional organization that serves to promote the culinary arts. Housed in Beard’s New York brownstone at 167 West 12th Street in Greenwich Village, the foundation is preserved as a gathering place where members, the public, and press can appreciate the talents of established and emerging chefs.

A true honor!

Judith the Irish foodie

Just back from the Lough Erne Resort!

Back home again after my third and wonderfully successfully culinary tour of Ireland and one of my hi-lights was our dinner at the Lough Erne Resort.

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My friend Noel McMeel and his culinary team presented the Shamrock and Peach tour group with a menu inspired by the food that was served a the G8 summit. The Catalina restaurant was awarded the best hotel Restaurant in Ulster 2013 by the Restaurant Association of Ireland and there is no doubt why when you taste and see that it is good.

The emphasis and respect is on local product and sourcing and promoting seasonal produce. Hotel bookings are at a record boom since the G8 summit and we arrived in the middle of a full blown Irish wedding reception.  Needless to say our American guests were highly entertained with wedding guests rolling down the grassy banks overlooking the superb golf links and singing at 3 am but what else can you expect in Ireland?  The hotel staff and culinary team very relaxed compared to our last visit in June prior the arrival of the world leaders.  

Hats off to LindNoela-1

Noel McMeel is raising the bar for Irish food and his creativity and passion is matched with his belief in endless possibilities and active participation!  Way to go Noel and Lough Erne culinary team!  Looking forward to returning in 2014!

Judith

A wee bit of tartan with me and Noel McMeel!

Yes, it’s that time again when the good people of Georgia cast all sense of propriety to the wind (literally!) and don their kilts in preparation for the Stone Mountain Highland Games. Pipes, fifes, drums, haggis, clans, swords, cabers, thick white socks, bony knees, Southern men in kilts and…me, along with the very talented Chef Noel McMeel. Yes, that’s what’s going on this coming weekend at the fabled Scottish fling right here in the heart of Georgia. Who would believe it?

It’s getting to be quite a tradition now, but every year thousands (and I really mean thousands!) of normally ‘happy to be Southern folk’ are transformed into ‘Braveheart’ extras look-a-likes for the pageantry of these wonderful few days in Stone Mountain park in Atlanta. I personally couldn’t believe it the first time I went, and now, like a Celtic moth to the blue flame of all things Scottish I’m drawn to this event year after year! Trust me, you should check this out:

http://www.smhg.org/index.html

But seriously, this year I’m particularly thrilled to be there as a guest chef of Tourism Ireland and I get to hang with and cook with the incredibly talented Irish celeb chef Noel McMeel. Noel and I will be cooking up some wonderful Irish and Scots-Irish treats for visitors to the Tourism Ireland stand in the games and whilst the food vendors offer up soggy fries and horrific plastic burnt burgers we will be giving away hundreds of gourmet Irish treats, all courtesy of our friends at Tourism Ireland.
The goal is to try and paint a true picture of the Scots-Irish beyond all the haggis and kilt things, and with a bit of luck people will see why Northern Ireland is truly a world class destination! (but then again, I’m biased, ain’t I?)

If you haven’t heard of Noel McMeel…please, please check this chef out. He is the talent behind the Lough Erne resort, home to Rory McIlroy and one of the most incredible golf resorts in Ireland. Noel is incredibly famous throughout Ireland and the UK for his inventive food presented as an artform and is a really nice guy to boot! So click below for a closer wee lookie!

Here’s a few links to whet the appetite:

http://www.lougherneresort.com/

http://noelmcmeel.com/

So, don that kilt, work on your best ‘Shrek’ impression and come and check us out this weekend!

Enjoy!
Judie the Irish Foodie