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Love local is the message at the Legenderry Food Festival

06 March 2018

With less than two weeks to go before the St Patrick’s weekend celebrations, the final ingredients are now being added to one of the main highlights of the programme – the Legenderry Food Festival.

The free family event will take place over two days on the 17th and 18th of March, showcasing some of the finest culinary talent in the North West – including popular TV chef and writer Brian McDermott.

As well as acting MC for the weekend, Brian will be launching his new book ‘Donegal Table’ during the second day of the food festival, Sunday 18th March. Speaking ahead of the event Brian said the big message he hopes to get across, both at the festival and in his latest publication, is the importance of eating and buying local.

“I love to coach and mentor young and new talent, helping them continue with their passion in either cooking or becoming a food producer,” he explained.

“The LegenDerry Food Festival is a unique experience as local businesses and restaurants are very much on board, and the recipes you experience at the event you can find when you go to eat out, which is fantastic.

“My book launch in N. Ireland will be at the Food Festival as I wanted to ensure LegenDerry visitors had the opportunity to read it first! It features over 100 recipes collected over 25 years focusing very much on produce from my local area. It’s about bringing the origins of cooking the evening meal back to basics, like my granny used to do.

“With recent health scares in the media about eating so much processed food, my book concentrates on cooking fresh, cooking local and making cooking fun again. I have two teenage girls who are also getting involved and loving it! Especially when some of the recipes are one pot wonders and ‘food craic’, which are all about the social element of eating.”

Brian thinks that this changing focus on food is very much reflected in the evolving local food industry.

“The city has developed an amazing food base and the LegenDerry Food Festival is a key part of that,” he insists. “I attend over 30 food events each year, and this one is a huge favourite of mine because of the food offering, new talent, producers and of course the visitors who come to it.

“We are continually interfacing with the public at the event, and the attraction of additional tourists is certainly enhancing the local economy and the hospitality industry. It’s a strong region, improving platforms for food and I’m looking forward to the two-day programme. There is so much to see, taste and experience over the course of the weekend and of course the jam packed programme appeals to all ages.”

Brian will be joined at the festival by top Irish chef and household favourite Rachel Allen, as well as a whole host of local chefs and food producers.

With over 20 food choices to experience, ranging from the sumptuous artisan cheese specialist Dart Mountain Cheese to the award-winning Morelli’s ice cream, make sure to leave plenty of room to sample the many delights on offer.

The festival runs on both Saturday and Sunday from 12noon to 6pm, and there will be plenty of entertainment and music for the younger ones to enjoy. The award winning LegenDerry Food Festival is part of the Spring Festival Programme supported by Tourism NI and DAERA’s NI Regional Food Programme and organised by Derry and Strabane City Council. For more info go to www.derrystrabane.com/food