At the 2023 Irish Restaurant Awards last night, Longford’s Fiona Egan said she was “Absolutely blown away to have won the All Ireland category for Best Cookery School at the Irish Restaurants Awards”. Fiona Egan Cloughan Farm and Cookery School in Abbeyshrule, were recognised as the Best Cookery School in Ireland to foster a passion for culinary arts in their students and for their contribution to Irish Food Culture.
Also, double winners on the night were the multi-award winning Thyme Restaurant, Athlone who won one of the biggest awards of the night being named ‘Best Restaurant’ in Leinster, as well as ‘Best Emerging Irish Cuisine’ in what was a big night for Midlands Food at the influential awards, held in conjunction with The Irish Times.
Fiona Egan, more than a Cookery School
Fiona Egan prides herself on Cloughan farm, her kitchen gardens, and polytunnel, which provide a very important and necessary platform for learning to all visitors and students who go there. Fiona and her husband Michael run Cloughan Farm & Cookery School, providing a wide variety of ‘hands-on’ classes to suit all visitors, including, Cookery classes, Willow Basket Making, and Dried Flower arranging. The ‘hands on’ approach brings their visitors to the hen houses to collect the eggs which end up in the cakes. Whatever the dish, the artisan food produce is growing on the farm. She is also well renowned for her warm welcome and delicious baking. See the latest calendar of workshops here.
Thyme, and thyme again
It was double joy for John Coffey and the staff of Thyme Restaurant in Athlone at the 2023 Irish Restaurant Awards, bringing home two awards in the Leinster category for Best Restaurant and Best Emerging Irish Cuisine. Only recently, it retained its Michelin ‘Bid Gourmand’ status and was also named one of the top restaurants in ‘Ireland’s 100 Best Restaurants List’ compiled by The Sunday Times. The review said Thyme was “one of the best dining rooms in Ireland” and the team “deserves an ovation”. Of course, not forgetting that Thyme is the only restaurant in the Midlands to have received a Michelin Bib. Only recently, John Coffey spoke to Midlands Ireland about his passion for local produce, and what has kept Thyme at the heart of the Midlands food scene for over 15 years
Irish Restaurant Awards 2023
Now in their 14th year, the Irish Restaurant Awards have become one of the biggest events in Irish Food calendar. Regional finals held in each province send the best their region to the national finals. This year, over 1,200 people attended the national awards in the Burlington Hotel, Dublin with host for the evening Muireann O’Connell.