Tickets snapped up for sustainable food-tasting event

When free registration for an exclusive Cretan and Irish fusion food tasting evening for food service professionals opened on the ticket platform Eventbrite, it took just a few hours to see all of the 50 places snatched up. The tasting event, which will bring together expert chefs and 10 talented Food Industry Professionals, under the guidance of Giota Tsounapi, head chef from the Mediterranean Agronomics Institute of Chania, and her team, who fly in from Crete for the event. The visiting expert chefs will be joined by Visham Sumputh – Michelin Star-winning head chef of Dublin’s renowned Etto Restaurant, and Jonathan Smyth of the ever-popular Ernesto’s in Rathmines.

Scheduled for 5th August at the picturesque setting of Sonairte, the National Ecology Centre of Ireland, the CASK project’s one-day training workshop and tasting evening promises an unforgettable experience. Food Industry Professionals attending the workshop will explore the Cretan Diet – the origin of the much-lauded Mediterranean diet – as a model sustainable food system, with its emphasis on local, fresh, seasonal and sustainable produce. The participants will then look at how the ethos can be transferred to the Irish context. Cretan recipes will be deconstructed and reinvented using Irish produce instead.

The day-long workshop will be mainly hands-on, with ten dishes to be cooked in preparation for an evening tasting event where media and guests will get a chance to taste the results at the Sonairte facility.

“We will have a fantastic selection of dishes to try on the day and a chance to talk to all the chefs and give your feedback on the dishes,” explained a spokesperson for Sonairte. “We will also have some live music, courtesy of ‘The Happy Spuds’, along with some wine to wash down all the delicious food.”

The highly-anticipated tasting evening will provide the 50 fortunate participants with the unique chance to savour the culinary delights meticulously crafted by the 10 talented Food Industry Professionals. Guided by expert chefs, Visham Sumputh and Jonathan Smyth, the creations will showcase the innovative techniques and sustainable practices learned during the workshop. It will be an extraordinary celebration of culinary artistry and a testament to the commitment of these professionals to create exceptional dishes while embracing sustainable food systems. The CASK Project is a Cretan and Irish climate action collaboration for food service professionals, funded by the EU under its Erasmus Plus programme.

The CASK project team, behind the training development and delivery, aim to share the knowledge, resources, and outcomes of the training workshop through various channels, including social and traditional media, as well as via the project website The training event will be recorded so that other food service industry professionals can learn from the workshop. At a later date, the recipes will be made available in a digital cookbook, that will also include a section that suggests local alternatives for ingredients that are not native to Ireland.

“Rice isn’t grown in Ireland, but pearl barley or spelt berries are, and they make a perfectly good alternative,” explained a CASK spokesperson. “Similarly, we don’t produce olive oil, but our rapeseed oil is outstanding and had very similar properties. One doesn’t have to look very far to see the effects of the climate crisis and transporting foods around the world is a big part of the problem. What we’re doing is proving that just because you are sourcing your ingredients locally, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have international dishes.”

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