This time of year is truly wonderful for food enthusiasts, as every other week, countrywide, there are food festivals to attend. Last weekend brought me to Sheridan's Irish Food Festival, an amazingly well run event, that I will tell you a little more about, in a blog post soon. Tomorrow I'm very much looking forward to spending the day, with fellow food bloggers, at Bloom where we will be celebrating Irish food through a food bloggers picnic.
In a fortnight's time The Iveagh Gardens will be home to the ever impressive Taste of Dublin. We always have a marvellous day out for Taste of Dublin and I was thrilled, last year, to get the opportunity to demonstrate at Taste, after winning a competition on Ireland AM. A new event for the festival, this year, is the 'Kanchi Dine in the Dark' experience. I think it sounds like a fantastic idea, that will offer the attendees a completely unique dining experience. The event is organised by Kanchi, a not-for-profit disability organisation, which was established in June 2000 by Caroline Casey, a visually impaired social entrepreneur. Kanchi works to change mindsets and behaviours around disability. They do this by creating initiatives that influence business and media leadership. Their work is grounded in the Disability Business Case which demonstrates the tangible business benefits of embracing people with disabilities as employees, customers and suppliers. The aim of the event is to challenge perceptions of difference through unique experiences with a cutting edge and inventive food event.
Kanchi to Immerse Food Lovers in Complete Darkness at Dublin Culinary Festival
Disability organisation Kanchi will give diners a truly unique culinary experience at this year’s Taste of Dublin. Fittingly entitled ‘Kanchi Dine in the Dark’, this experiential dining event will see festival goers served an exclusive tasting plate by legally blind waiting staff whilst immersed in complete darkness. The delicious culinary delights will be prepared by ten of Ireland’s most award winning chefs, including Ross Lewis, Kevin Thornton and Malcolm Starmer. The event will take place in an atmospheric pitch black dining venue inDublin’s Iveagh Gardens from 14th – 17th June.
Festival goers will be guided to their tables, where they will be served a taster plate created by Ireland’s most acclaimed culinary experts. Without their sight to guide them, guests will experience the complex tastes, flavours and textures in a completely new and innovative way. In the blacked out dining room, everyone will be immersed in complete darkness, whether they are visually impaired or not. Each sitting will last approximately 30 minutes, after which guests have the opportunity to meet with the award winning chef who prepared their food, and to discuss cooking techniques and the local produce they have sampled.
The ten chefs confirmed to participate are: Oliver Dunne, Head Chef of Bon Appétit and the youngest Michelin Star Chef in Ireland; Malcolm Starmer, Head Chef of newly opened Bite in Dublin; Stuart O’Keeffe, Private Chef featured on The Food Network (USA) and Stuart’s Kitchen (TV3); Ed Cooney, Executive Chef, the five star Merrion Hotel; Ross Lewis, Head Chef at Michelin Award Winning Restaurant, Chapter One; Master Chef Ireland contestants, Bridin Carey, Conal Markey and Richard Speedie; Kevin Thornton, Thornton’s Restaurant and Ireland’s first Head Chef to win two Michelin Stars. Radio personality Tom Dunne will also appear as a Special Guest Chef in collaboration with his wife Audrey McDonald of Private Caterers.
‘Kanchi Dine in the Dark’ will enable attendees to experience how, by removing one sense, others can be altered and heightened, encouraging them to value different abilities. Communication whilst in the dark is also fundamentally impacted which will see social interactions altered greatly from the typical dining experience. The aim of the event is to challenge perceptions of difference through unique experiences with a cutting edge and inventive food event.
Nikki Hegarty, Kanchi Network Manager and coordinator of the event said, “Kanchi Dine in the Dark was designed with the aim of challenging people's perceptions in a manner that is enjoyable, engaging and fun. In this blackened out space, without even realising, guests will begin to tap into other senses, utilising their taste, smell, auditory and communications skills in a new and different way. Ironically, when you take away an individual’s sight, they see the person not the disability. Our goal with this event is to challenge how our participants perceive disability. We want to eradicate the stigma that surrounds this complex and multifaceted issue.”
There will be several sittings each day for the duration of the festival for both lunch and dinner with 25 festival goers served per sitting. Guests will be seated on a first come first served basis. The cost of entry to the ‘Kanchi Dine in the Dark’ pop-up restaurant will be eight Florins, which is the Taste of Dublin currency that is available on site. This will include the tasting plate and a glass of wine/non-alcoholic alternative per person.
The 7th annual Taste of Dublin 2012, sponsored by Electrolux takes place from Thursday 14th - Sunday 17th June, in the stunning Iveagh Gardens. Tickets are on sale now atwww.tasteofdublin.ie or call 0818 30 00 30. All advance standard tickets are only €20 and have been reduced from the 2011 price of €25. Booking fees apply.