WHETHER freshly cooked in the local chipper, made with kale or perhaps even rhubarb, there is “a lot more to the chip than meets the eye”, says the Mustard Seed’s Dan Mullane.
The Ballingarry restaurateur, celebrating 30 years in business this year, is a judge in the upcoming – and first ever – World Chip Championships, being held as part of the Culture & Chips food carnival in the city over the June Bank Holiday weekend.
The Mustard Seed proprietor will join Masterchef’s Nick Munier, Lorraine Fanneran of La Cucina and well known local man Fergal Deegan – formerly of the Leader and now advertising manager with Live 95FM – on the panel.
Organisers are calling on the most creative cooks to get involved in the inaugural World Chip Championships – which potentially could feature pulled pork fries, baked mozzarella sticks or something called “turnip disco fries” on the menu!
“Nothing like this has ever happened before, Limerick is going to crown the first world chip champion, the judging panel will be very fair, and it is up to everybody to produce the goods on the day and to produce them with love,” said Dan.
“They can come in any form. As somebody said to me the other day, what about rhubarb? I was in a health food shop recently and I picked up some lovely seaweed combinations - I think the very fact that it gets the mind operating is a good concept. It will be interesting to see what people come up with, I am looking forward to it, it is exciting,” he added.
The competition will take place on the afternoon of Saturday, May 31 in the specially constructed Spiegeltent in Arthur’s Quay, coming to Limerick for the first time for Culture & Chips.
There will be two rounds in total and the judging panel are already “salivating at the prospect”.
“It is a very quirky food idea, it is great that it is happening in Limerick. I think this is a really good way of introducing the year of culture to people who like eating chips,” laughed Dan, who said he was a fan of the “real thing”.
“I like to see the real spud, as opposed to processed; everybody can open the deep fat frier, put in the product made in a factory. To peel a spud the traditional way, to care for the potato, to put it in the right temperature, to make sure that is not saturated or soggy, there is a bit of science to it, and no small bit of skill,” he explained.
“A chip doesn’t just arrive, and credit to Limerick, I think the guys who own the traditional fish and chippers like Luigi, they are amazing and a visit to Donkey Ford’s for example, is a must.
“It is a staple, it is a satisfying thing and not just a process line. It is a product that somebody loves and likes to get right.
“I think there is a lot more to the chip than meets the eye,” he added.
The event, which is supported by City of Culture, promises to be a quirky one that should attract great crowds into Limerick on the bank holiday weekend, following on from the recent success of the Riverfest weekend.
Other events to take place in the Spiegeltent include the Jerry Fish Electric Sideshow live, A Wine Goose Chase, a Culinary Carnival Banquet, Spiegelkidz Rhythm, Cabaret des Frites, the Spiegeltent Breakfast Club, a live performance by musician Jack L, Clown Noir, the Salon du Chat discussion event, and a performance by Limerick’s own Brad Pitt Light Orchestra.
Added to this busy and eclectic line-up are the Tomcat Street festival, the Irish Chamber Orchestra’s collaboration with Ballet Ireland in the Milk Market, the RugbyLad Sevens tournament and the LimerickSings Choral Festival - making it a Bank Holiday weekend to truly savour.
To book tickets for any of the events visit www.cultureandchips.com where there are full entry details to the World Chip Championships, where the application form is available to download.