Chip banquet a centrepiece of Limerick food festival

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

Paul Williams of Canteen is cooking the Culinary Carnival Chip Banquet, which takes place in the Spiegeltent on Thursday night for the Culture & Chips food festival. The festival boasts numerous events spread over five days. Picture: Sean Curtin
IT is enough to make the mouth water. Sweet potato soup, lamb cannon wellington, lamb shoulder confit - and of course, chips.

IT is enough to make the mouth water. Sweet potato soup, lamb cannon wellington, lamb shoulder confit - and of course, chips.

The Culture & Chips culinary banquet, cooked by chef Paul Williams of Canteen - who trained with Heston Blumenthal - returns again this year for the quirky food carnival, which hits its second staging.

A five course meal with matching beer and wine, plus entertainment in the glorious surrounds of the Spiegeltent, which will be in situ in Arthur’s Quay Park, the banquet kicks off proceedings this Thursday night.

“What I have tried to do is get the best of local produce from small producers,” explained Paul of the meal.

“Last year we went up to Cloughjordan Eco Village and got them to bake a sourdough bread and they have a wood fired oven, with wood grown locally. So we are going to get things like that.

“We have craft beer from White Gypsy, which was made locally, so we are going to try and get local produce. It is all about that.

“It was amazing last year. I think people were a bit apprehensive because the price seemed high, but when the food was included, and the beer and wine and music afterward, it was a real event, people really enjoyed. It will be fun, it is a fun event,” he added.

Central to the festival is an emphasis on food and entertainment, with the world chip championship also returning, while Bell X1’s Paul Noonan and Gemma Hayes will make an extremely rare outing under their Printer Clips moniker, and Hermitage Green, Eddi Reader, Mick Flannery and the Brad Pitt Light Orchestra will also perform over the weekend.

Patricia Roberts, one of the steering committee behind the festival that debuted for City of Culture, said the appeal of the festival lies in its “niche” status.

“Chips are for everybody, they are all inclusive, we all love them. Creating that was the niche, combined with a serious line-up of entertainment that will retain people in the city. It is coming back bigger and better.”

The team behind Culture & Chips established it last year to provide a weekend of activity on a bank holiday when, in the words of committee member Nigel Dugdale, “typically not much happens in Limerick”.

It returns has been beefed up with extra events and a longer schedule this year, taking place over five days from Thursday to Tuesday.

The World Chip Championships take place on Saturday at 12pm, with children’s events and music acts throughout the bank holiday including Cabaret des Frites musical theatre on Saturday night.

The team have also elected for a bigger Spiegeltent in Arthur’s Quay Park this year. The full line-up is available at www.cultureandchips.com.