There at the Beginning
John and Sally McKenna have been have been documenting the Irish food scene since before it even existed. Setting out in the 90s to explore the world of Irish artisan producers, they began publishing their perennially popular and highly respected McKenna’s Guides back when the Irish food scene consisted of a few cheesemakers spread out in the country, and no notable restaurants to speak of all.
The McKennas have stayed on the case as Ireland’s chefs and artisans have gained confidence and become more highly regarded internationally. Throughout a changing culinary landscape, they’ve stayed true to their own values and love of food as something that should bring people together as opposed to a status symbol.
We sat down with John and Sally recently to discuss how much Ireland has changed from when they first began documenting Irish food. We discuss Ireland’s producer-led food culture, how delightful creative people who work in food are, the beauty of world-class chefs opening restaurants in their rural hometowns, as well as how operators and artisans can stay positive and adapt amid today’s challenging environment of “staff shortages,” inflation, and more.
Dyed Green is a project of Bog & Thunder, whose mission is to highlight the best of Irish food and culture, through food tours, events, and media. Find out more at www.bogandthunder.com.
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