'Passion to Inspire'- Major's Consultant Development Chef for Ireland at A Taste of Donegal

Hailed as one of the biggest foodie events of the North West of Ireland, with over 150 artisan producers boasting the best in terms of local produce, A Taste of Donegal Food festival pulls in thousands of visitors each year. This edition was no exception. Major’s Consultant Development Chef was on hand to help the judging of the Festival’s creative culinary challenge.
Held on Friday 26th – 28th August, the festival reached its 8th edition this year and did not fail to meet high expectations. Other than the opportunity to sample local food and drink from the large marquees erected in the pier, to watch live demonstrations and listen to live music, the event is increasingly renowned for its creative culinary challenge; ‘A Passion to Inspire’. The competition, which gives local chefs the opportunity to demonstrate their culinary acumen, consists of an allocated 45mins to prepare a starter and a main for at least two covers showcasing the best Irish produce. One of the courses has to feature the area’s most acclaimed ingredient; fish or seafood. With no minimum age restriction, it invariably attracts a broad spectrum of local chefs, who pitch their dishes before a panel of esteemed judges: Peter Griffiths M.B.E. & President of the British Culinary Federation, Anthony Armstrong from the World Association of Chefs Society, Gerard M Molloy from the American Culinary Federation and our very own Consultant Development Chef for Ireland Bob McDonald.
So what is the secret recipe to the growing success of the competition? Major’s Consultant Development Chef for Ireland, Bob McDonald gave us his insight. “What makes a taste of Donegal so special is the unique way it is judged. Unlike regular competitions, a ‘Passion to Inspire’ takes the judges into the competitors’ own kitchens. By travelling to them, the competition attracts chefs who would not ordinarily go in for formal salon culinaire.”
Once again the bar was high this year. The winner came in the form of Daniel Anthony Cavan from Blas Restaurant in Donegal town. “His Chef Rory Carvill’s talent stood out. He could go on to compete as a National Chef of the year,” recounted McDonald.
McDonald went on to say how he sees no sign of the competition slowing down in years to come. “The standard of the chefs competing over the years will continue to progress for a number of reasons. Firstly, the nature of the competition provides the entrants with feedback as soon as their plates have been marked. This gives them ample opportunity to take onboard ideas which would help make their dishes stronger. Secondly, the ongoing success of the competition is largely thanks to the prestigious establishments who enter. It has the perfect profile and thanks to social media even marketing the event has been made easier.”