Kilkenny Food Heroes, the last batch

This year’s Savour Kilkenny Food Festival is applauding Kilkenny’s local Food Heroes by honouring their achievements and innovation and by crowning the Kilkenny Food Producer of the Year.

This year’s Savour Kilkenny Food Festival is applauding Kilkenny’s local Food Heroes by honouring their achievements and innovation and by crowning the Kilkenny Food Producer of the Year.

A dozen of Kilkenny’s finest food producers – many international award winners – will be showcased at the Savour Festival this weekend with the winner announced on Sunday at 1.30pm in the Left Bank, The Parade.

Over the weekend the public will be able to meet with these Food Heroes, learn the secrets of their success and taste their delicious products. A team of judges will select the Savour Kilkenny Food Producer of the Year 2012 from the nominees, who will receive a specially commissioned piece of pottery by Mark Campden of Bridge Pottery. RTÉ Radio One’s John Murray will host the event and the judges are Imen McDonell, The Farmer’s Journal, Blathnaid Bergin, The Restaurant Advisor and a representative from Bord Bia.

Over the last three weeks we have featured nine Food Heroes. Now meet the last three.

Keoghs Model Bakery, Billy Keogh

At Keoghs Model Bakery in Callan, Billy Keogh and his ancestors before him have been baking the finest breads and creating cakes and confectionary for over 180 years. Billy, his family and his staff pride themselves on their style of baking, using old-fashioned stone ovens that have since died out amongst many other bakeries in Ireland today. The use of the old tradition of stone oven baking and the fantastic breads produced through these methods are a very tasty testament to this tradition.

One of the oldest bakeries in the country, Keoghs Model Bakery was started in 1838 in the same premises in Callan, and throughout the years continued to be passed down through the family, currently run by Billy, Claire and Kevin Senior.

Each generation has expanded and made improvements to the premises and the product range available, priding themselves on baking excellent-quality produce, whether it be a handmade turnover or a beautiful wedding cake.

Over 80% of the bakery’s products are made from scratch using tried and well-tested recipes. Keoghs speciality local bread is out crusty handmade turnover or rustic, baked bread in a traditional brick build oven.

Keoghs Model Bakery has been consistently recognised for its delicious produce throughout the years and has won many prizes in national bakery competitions run by the Irish Bakery Industry.

Keoghs Model Bakery, Lower Bridge Street, Callan –

Tess’s Homestyle Baking, Paul and Theresa Doyle

Tess’s Homestyle Baking was opened in 2005, by chef of 25 years Paul Doyle and his wife Theresa, who has over 14 years experience in the baking industry. This wealth of experience in the food industry has been invaluable in ensuring that the venture became a success.

Based in the Hebron Industrial Estate, Tess’s Homestyle Baking has gone from strength to strength since its opening, increasing its product range and in turn production, and the couple now supplies many shops and supermarkets around the region.

All of the bakery’s produce is yeast- and sugar-free with no additives or preservatives, providing customers in Kilkenny with a different option when buying their breads and various cakes.

The bakery provides the county and surrounding areas with fantastic traditional produce such as soda and three-seed loafs as well as tarts, crumbles and sponges.

The baking is done so under great care, using only quality ingredients in the old-style traditional way.

The couple has been working 24/7 in order to improve their produce and continue the growth of the company, and Paul plans to begin marketing the brand in the weeks to come, so you’re bound to hear even more about Tess’s Home Bakery in the near future.

Tess’s Homestyle Baking Paul and Theresa Doyle, 73 B Hebron, Industrial Estate, Kilkenny; 087 6489384.

Sarah Gough, Mileeven Fine Foods

Sarah Gough’s wonderful honey was produced to add something new to the honey world. Mileeven Honey produces honey, that is 100% pure, with exciting twists and flavours such as ginger, mango and the award-winning sour cherry flavour, providing customers with delicious options. Sarah and her mother, Eilis, now run Mileeven Fine Foods and continue to produce a wide range of exciting and high-quality products.

Organic honey is only one part of a range that includes Manuka honeys, organic preserves, fruit cakes and Christmas puddings, amongst others. The family had been producing honey at Mileeven for generations before Sarah decided it was time to share some. Sarah’s Honey range is often described as “heaven in a jar.”

Mileeven has received much recognition over the years, receiving numerous awards, reaffirming the quality care and innovation put into making the produce by Sarah and Eilis. The produce can be bought in gourmet shops across Ireland and can also be found further afield in renowned stores such as Harrod’s and Selfridges.

Sarah’s products have received a number of reputable awards, including numerous Great Taste awards, the GUL best new brand or company award 2011, and Excellence in Food winner for 2010 at the South East Women in Business Awards.