Kate Ryan, award-winning food writer and founder of Flavour.ie, has been named Blas na hÉireann’s Producers’ Champion for 2023 for her dedication to championing the best of everything Irish and independent.
The Producers’ Champion is selected annually by Blas na hÉireann producers, based on a survey that goes out to the entire Blas network — a network that covers every county in Ireland with producers from across the food industry.
Nominees for Producers’ Champion are put forward by producers early in the year, asked to nominate those they believe are representing and supporting their produce and that of other Irish food makers and growers in an effective and helpful way.
Originally from Bristol, Kate moved to Cork in 2005 and quickly recognised the food scene in Ireland was becoming transformative. With a growing number of food and drink producers and an increasing abundance of exceptional restaurants to celebrate, her idea of Flavour.ie became a reality. The platform, which is dedicated to promoting Irish food and drink, also features her blog, The Flavour Files, where Kate writes about great local produce, seasonality, wild and foraged food, and craft drinks of all kinds, with recipes that illustrate how artisan foods are as at home in our kitchens as they are on a restaurant menu.
As well as writing for her own website, Kate writes regularly as a food features writer for The Echo and Irish Examiner, and many of her articles feature in a number of other publications including BBC, The Opinion, Irish Foodie magazine and thejournal.ie.
In 2017, Kate was commissioned by A Taste of West Cork Food Festival to write the Artisan Food Guide which showcases food and drink producers across West Cork. She has been a member of the Irish Food Writers Guild since 2019, becoming Secretary in 2021, now Treasurer and a Committee member. In July of this year, Kate will present a paper at the prestigious Oxford Food Symposium based on research completed for her final project of the PGDip in Irish Food Culture (UCC). She has also been a judge for Blas na hÉireann for many years.
“I’m incredibly honoured to have been awarded Producers’ Champion by Blas na hÉireann,” said Kate Ryan. “I write about Irish producers to showcase and highlight what they do because I care so passionately about them. We are blessed on this island to have such a vast amount of fantastic produce and it is so important to celebrate that. I started Flavour.ie as an ode to exceptional Irish producers, so this award is down to them.”
“Kate’s contribution to the Irish food scene is deeply appreciated, as is her continued support for producers,” said Artie Clifford, founder of Blas na hÉireann. “We have known Kate for many years, as a judge for the awards and as a supporter and friend of Blas, so we understand how passionate she is, and how genuine her dedication is to what she has made her cause. She is incredibly well-regarded in the industry so I know that the extended Blas family will see this award of Producers’ Champion 2023 for Kate as something that is extremely well-deserved.”
Joining past Producers’ Champions like Simon Coveney TD, Neven Maguire, John & Sally McKenna, Shane McArdle, Kai’s Jess Murphy, Darina Allen, Rory O’Connell, Rachel Allen, Brian McDermott and last year’s winners Johnny McDowell & Laura Bradley from Indie Füde, Kate Ryan is keeping very good company indeed.
Final call for entries to Blas na hÉireann 2023 – closing date is 17th May and costs €90 per entry (ex VAT).