Ulster’s very First Chowder Cook Off is coming to Rathlin

Pictured launching the Ulster Chowder Cook Off is Anna McIlroy and Eimear Mullin from Thyme and Co. Ballycastle.  
INBM21-16S
Pictured launching the Ulster Chowder Cook Off is Anna McIlroy and Eimear Mullin from Thyme and Co. Ballycastle. INBM21-16S

Traditional Irish chowder bursting with flavour and fishy loveliness will be the recipe of the day as 10 top amateur chefs battle to be crowned Champion of the inaugural “Ulster Chowder Cook Off” at this year’s Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival.

Hosted by Destination Ballycastle, this new addition to the festival’s schedule will celebrate the country’s finest seafood as part of NI’s Year of Food and Drink and see contestants craft a delicious fish dish in-front of a live audience in the Cookery Theatre at 3pm on Sunday, May 29th.

The lucky winner will then be sponsored to represent Ulster at the All Ireland Chowder Cook Off in Kinsale in April 2017 as well as take home the title of Ulster Chowder Cook Off Champion!

While participants are perfecting their chowders, Master Chef Paula McIntyre will do a live demonstration for audience members keen to pick up some new cookery tips and techniques.

The Cookery Theatre will also host a range of live demonstrations on Saturday, May 28th and Sunday, 29th from renowned local chefs, including Tony O’Neill and Jonny Phillips from Thornyhill Restaurants; Darren Benham,

The Old Bushmills Distillery, Pol Shields, Upstairs at Joes and Trudy Brolly, Ocha Tapas Bistro

In discussing the food focus of this year’s Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival, Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, councillor Michelle Knight-McQuillan said: “This is the perfect event to showcase the wealth of seafood on our shores. Local restaurants will have special seafood menus, there will be local artisan food markets we’ll have classes teaching the art of smoking your own salmon, as well as sushi-making lessons and our first ever ‘Ulster Chowder Cook Off’. We can’t wait!”

Now in its fourth year, the Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival is a week-long extravaganza taking place from 27th May to June 5th.

Deadline for entries to the “Ulster Chowder Cook Off” is Thursday 19th May. To enter email destinationballycastle@gmail.com for a copy of the entry form.

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The festival is packed with family-friendly activities and entertainment this year, ranging from the appearance of country music sensation Lisa McHugh to the visit of the handsome Tall Ship, The Johanna Lucretia, with free opportunities to board and explore this unique vessel.

Sponsors for this year’s festival include Tourism Northern Ireland, Malin Waters, Rathlin Boat House Partnership, Rathlin Island Ferry Ltd, Marine Hotel Ballycastle, Naturally North Coast & Glens Market and Causeway Coast and Glens Food Network.

For further information about the festival and to pre-book tickets for some events, visit www.rathlinsoundmaritimefestival.com or contact Ballycastle Visitor Information Centre 028 2076 2024.