Piltown chef celebrates Ireland in Shanghai

Piltown native and chef Siobhan Gough has been celebrating her Irish origins in Shanghai with Bord Bia and Tourism Ireland.

Piltown native and chef Siobhan Gough has been celebrating her Irish origins in Shanghai with Bord Bia and Tourism Ireland.

At a Shanghai media reception last week, she gave a cooking demonstration to Chinese media following the recent visit by the Chinese vice president Xi Jinping to Ireland. Over 50 journalists were in attendance at the event organised by Bord Bia and Tourism Ireland.

With an ever increasing fan base and an eye for seasonality, Siobhan Gough is making her mark at the restaurant Downstairs with David Laris in URBN Hotel, China’s first carbon-neutral hotel. To mark St Patrick’s Day, she is also set to host an Irish food festival featuring a set of Irish-inspired menus during ‘Ireland Week’ from March 10-17.

Focusing on the regional qualities and cultural importance of the origin of Irish food products, Downstairs will identify Ireland’s four provinces through food service points and by pairing flavours and beverages from the same regions.

Siobhan’s passion for food was nurtured during her childhood spent on Milleeven Honey Farm in Piltown. Before moving to Shanghai six years ago, she worked both in Ireland and France and completed an honours bachelor’s degree in culinary arts in Dublin Institute of Technology.

Chinese consumers are becoming increasingly aware of Ireland. Since 2008, the value of Irish food and drink consumed in China has more than doubled.

“Ireland’s sales of food and drink to China increased by over 40% in 2011 and are headed towards a value of €200 million,” said Breiffini Kennedy, Bord Bia’s Asia manager based in Shanghai. “In April, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney will visit China and be accompanied by a trade mission to include a number of Irish food companies. This will assist in further developing the strong bilateral relationship between Ireland and China in the agriculture and food sectors.”

Irish exports to China consist of dairy and dairy ingredients (74.3%), meat (21.3%), seafood (2.7%) and beverages (1.7%).