Voting opens to name Northern Ireland's new signature dish
Tourism NI has tasked four of Northern Ireland's top chefs to create three brand new locally-inspireddishes, one of which will be named as Northern Ireland's New Signature Dish, via public vote.
Northern Ireland’s New Signature Dish search is part of the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink
2016 celebrations and the four creative minds taking part, referred to as the ‘cooking collective’, are
Niall McKenna from James Street South; Ian Orr from Browns Restaurant and Ardtara
House; Kelan McMichael from Bull and Ram and Chris
McGowan from Wine and Brine.
Naomi Waite, Director of Marketing, Tourism Northern Ireland, said: “We want to create a lasting
food legacy as part of the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016 to live on long after the
year-long celebration is over and that is what the Signature Dish is all about.
“The three dishes prepared by the ‘cooking collective’ are completely new to the dining scene in
Northern Ireland and are made from only the best of our local produce. While the Born and Braised,
Buttermilked Lamb and Jowled Eel dishes are of restaurant quality the recipes are available on the
Discover Northern Ireland website and can easily be cooked, adapted and enjoyed at the dinner
table at home.
“Voting closes on the December 8th and the winning dish, as voted for by the public, will be
announced at a special unveiling event at St George’s Market on December 10th where the ‘cooking
collective’ chefs will be hosting a cookery demo before the grand unveiling”.
Ian Orr, Browns Restaurant and Ardtara Country House Hotel, said: ‘I love experimenting with local
produce and wanted to create finalist dishes with the rest of the ‘cooking collective’ that would
showcase the best of what’s available in the Northern Ireland larder. I am really pleased with the
results and I’m looking forward to seeing what the public chooses as Northern Ireland’s new
Chris McGowan, Wine and Brine, said: “Coming up with three potential signature dishes has be an
amazing experience for the ‘cooking collective’. We have taken quite a journey through Northern
Ireland food and drink during our research and have even more admiration for them and the work
they do. The diversity and quality of produce available across Northern Ireland is astounding and we
have showcased just some of it in our three finalist dishes. I’d like to wish the public the best of luck
in choosing their winning dish – it won’t be easy - and remember to support local producers.”
Kelan McMichael, Bull and Ram, said: “We chose the final three dishes because they bring together
the very best local produce we have on offer but also because the ingredients are affordable and
accessible for people to buy in their local butchers, deli’s and shops. All the ingredients chosen work
really well together, are easy to cook and the flavours are harmonious so whatever dish wins we
hope everyone in Northern Ireland enjoys trying them out at home for their loved ones.”
Niall McKenna, James Street South Restaurant Group, said: “We decided that these three dishes
best represent Northern Ireland on a plate as each dish is packed full of flavour and made with the
highest quality local produce. We also really liked the fact that there were a few curve balls thrown
in there when it came to ingredients or techniques, and we enjoyed those little surprises and
examples of thinking outside the box. This is what is helping make Northern Ireland a global
destination for food lovers.
Have your say on Northern Ireland’s New Signature Dish. Let Tourism Northern Ireland know which
of the three dishes is your favourite by logging on to, www.discovernorthernireland.com and sharing
your thoughts on the Discover NI Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages with the hashtag,
Vote for your favourite and you could win a Belfast break for two,
including two nights B&B in the 4* Radisson Blu and a food tour with Taste and Tour. Join the
conversation online with #SignatureDishNI.
All ingredients used in the dishes have been sourced from Northern Ireland food and drink
producers and suppliers. Comber Early Potatoes currently not in season and wild garlic,
usually available from late January onwards, must be washed before use.