The Donegal Signature Dish event opened with a drinks reception and a display of local craft beers, whiskey and gin. The ambience was enhanced by the sound of traditional Irish music as people greeted each other on arrival. Guests were then invited to be seated in the luxurious Garden Suite, which was beautifully decorated for the occasion. A warm welcome address by our Cathaoirlleach was followed by an introduction to proceedings by our MC for the night, the dynamic and eloquent Chef Brian McDermot.
And so the feast began. Course after course was brought to the table, served with military precision and a smile by our amazing team of servers. Each plate touched the senses in terms of sight, smell and taste. As these Donegal dishes arrived, you could really taste the sea and you could even smell the turf and hay that were used in the preparation of some of them. Childhood memories were stirred when I tasted the beetroot salad, which was bursting with colour and flavour.
Chef Brian introduced each chef as their dish was presented. It was amazing to see the pride and talent that our local chefs have. It proves that Donegal food is indeed in safe hands. Local suppliers were acknowledged for their commitment to quality in their produce. The camaraderie between the chefs was evident throughout the event, both front of house and in the heat of the kitchen. Credit to chefs Chris and Colin for facilitating and co-ordinating such an intricate event at Harvey’s Point.
I had the pleasure of hosting a table and while it was mentioned that each host was chosen because ‘they could talk for Ireland’, there were times at my table that I could’t get a word in edgeways, as detailed discussions were held on many topics such as favourite foods, eating habits, family businesses and so on. At one stage, I just sat back and realised that this is what dining together is all about. Families and friends need this precious time to join in conversation and ditch the devices (except for taking pictures of the plates and an odd ‘selfie’ 🙂 Big thanks to Donegal Tourism and the committee for their hard work in making this an event to remember. This is the beginning of something truly special for Donegal.