‘Ulster Chowder Cook Off’ coming to Rathlin Sound festival

Ten top amateur chefs will battle to be crowned Champion of the inaugural 'Ulster Chowder Cook Off' at this years Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival.  Pictured launching the 'Ulster Chowder Cook Off' is Anna McIlroy and Eimear Mullin from Thyme and Co. Ballycastle.
Ten top amateur chefs will battle to be crowned Champion of the inaugural 'Ulster Chowder Cook Off' at this years Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival. Pictured launching the 'Ulster Chowder Cook Off' is Anna McIlroy and Eimear Mullin from Thyme and Co. Ballycastle.

Traditional Irish chowder bursting with flavour and fishy loveliness will be the recipe of the day as ten 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 exciting 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 29.

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 28 and Sunday, May 29, from renowned local chefs, including Tony O’Neill and Jonny Phillips from Thornyhill Restaurants; Darren Benham, The Old Bushmills Distillery; Pol Shields, Upstairs at Joe’; 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: “Given that 2016 is Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink, 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 May 27 to June 5 which celebrates the unique stretch of water from the coastal shores of Ballycastle to the island of Rathlin.

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.

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.