‘Bia not Bluster’ a brand-new food event concept curated by well-known conversation starter Richard Jacob, formerly of Idaho Café, will get its first outing at the upcoming West Waterford Festival of Food. The Dungarvan based food celebration is in its 14th year and is one of Ireland’s largest food festivals.’

Bia not Bluster takes place on Saturday 15th April from 11am to 3.45pm at Dungarvan Town Hall and attendance is free.

Bia not Bluster’s panel discussions will propel you to the heart of the biggest debates in food, with insights and opinions from the most influential food and hospitality figures in the country. It will be edge of your seat stuff as the topics deep dive into the future direction of the food industry, from sustainability and farming to the shifting nature of restaurants themselves. Expect a mix of informative, disruptive, passionate, controversial, challenging, and entertaining content.

The day will be segmented into 3 discussion sessions and 1 cookery slot- each 45 minutes in duration, made up of lively panel discussions on different trending food topics and paired with panellists, from the world of food and hospitality, qualified to talk with authority in that area.

  • Is nomadic the new NOMA? The future of restaurants 11 – 11:45 Panellists: Peaches Kemp itsa.ie Co-Founder Itsa Bagel,  John McKenna guides.ie Co-author (with Sally McKenna) of the McKenna guides, Paul Flynn tannery.ie multi award winning chef and accomplished TV presenter and Caitlin Ruth caitlinruthfood.ie Chef, creator and owner of one of the most loved food trucks in Ireland.
  • The future of farming. Quality, quantity, or both? 12:30 -1:15

Panellists :Joe Gill from goodbody.ie specialist in Agri-Foods, Clotilde Kiely Owns and manages Comeragh Mountain Poultry, comeraghmountainpoultry.ie, Donal Sheehan Dairy farmer and educator thebrideproject.ie and Conor Mulhall CEO of The Little Milk Company littlemilkcompany.ie.

  • Green is the new black, sustainability in Irish Food. 15:00 -15:35 Panellists: Fergal Walsh Baker and co-owner of Dún bakery and Johnny Flahavan Operations manager of this hugely successful, family firm Flahavans.

In the midst of all things topical, will be a thrilling ‘Toast Off’ cookery showdown (from 13:45- 14:30) as well-known chefs face off to reveal who can make the best toastie in 15 minutes equipped with only a domestic sandwich toaster and the best of Waterford’s regional ingredients. There will be plenty of friendly rivalry on display as 6 well recognised chef duel it out and seek to claim the victory for their home turf. Three of the high-profile chefs are from County Waterford while three hail from neighbouring county Cork. Facing off first will be Eunice Power, Owner of AndChips in Dungarvan (Waterford) and she will be up against Caitlin Ruth of Caitlin Ruth Food- an experienced chef and owner of one of Ireland’s best food trucks (Cork). Also doing battle will be Duncan Blair, Head Chef of family-owned award-winning gastropub Blair’s Inn (Cork) Vs Jenny Flynn who is Head Chef at the renowned Faithlegg House (Waterford). The final combatants are local hero Paul Flynn of the Tannery representing Waterford versus Martin Shanahan Chef Owner of Fishy Fishy (Cork).   Claire Dalton from the Dungarvan brewing company, who is a beer sommelier, will pair these culinary creations with suitable beer matches while Mairead Jacob will judge the efforts, as chefs, more used to large kitchens and teams, battle with their Brevilles. This will be a practical and fun event, that will share some cooking ideas for home, rather than just a demonstration. Expect mayhem, melted cheese, and possibly melt downs too.

Commenting ahead of the event’s first outing, taking place at the West Waterford Festival of Food, Bia not Bluster Organiser, Richard Jacob explained his thought process behind the panel discussions saying “Change happens, through conversations, the exchange of ideas and sharing of thoughts. Both farming and restaurants face huge challenges that will force them to adapt and change. We are in a time of unprecedented change and with that change comes opportunity.  Food lovers and stakeholders will be inspired by our panel of thought provokers from Irish food businesses as they talk, plot a new course, and make us rethink.”

The West Waterford Festival of Food is is not just the biggest and most diverse food festival in the Southeast, but the most fun.  The 14th annual festival will again showcase the very best food from the region as visitors enjoy upwards of 70 events including a food stage, pop-up dinners, a full children’s programme, foraging trails, bus tours, cooking demos, top chefs, high-end and casual dining experiences, plus one of Ireland’s largest outdoor markets.

The main hub for the 3-day festival is in the harbour town of Dungarvan with events also taking place in Lismore and throughout the West Waterford region, making it a truly local celebration.

The West Waterford Festival of Food is funded by Waterford Council, Waterford Leader Partnership, Fáilte Ireland, Foras na Gaeilge and Waterford LEO and would not be possible without the support of sponsors, friends circle and the community. For more see westwaterfordfestivaloffood.com or follow-on social media @WaterfordFoodFestival on Facebook and Instagram and @WdFoodFestival on twitter.