Jenny White and Linda Murray Beoga Nutrition. See their superb 10 health videos on Savour's You Tube Channel
The ground-breaking initiative involved in taking Savour, Kilkenny’s annual food festival, online during Covid-19 is coming to a close, but the festival will continue to make all its content available during the latest national restrictions.
The festival’s cookery demonstrations, health and wellbeing advice sessions, kids cookery classes and profiles of local food producers and businesses will be available on the Savour Kilkenny Youtube channel and social media platforms for the coming months amid the rigours of working from home, eating in rather than out, and occupying ourselves and children and learn ing new skills. The festival’s videos have reached 70,000 viewers on their channels since it commenced 10 weeks ago.
Festival manager Marian Flannery said they were overwhelmed with the positive reaction to the virtual festival.
“They say that necessity is the mother of invention and that was definitely the case for Savour this year,” she said.
“People were hugely disappointed that the annual gathering of food fans on the Parade in the city centre couldn’t go ahead but we were getting a clear message that they wanted something in its place. We had to put our thinking hats on and come up with an individual and creative to try and continue the wonderful tradition of our festival.
“When we approached our local and national celebrity chefs, they were hugely enthusiastic about doing what they could to keep the Savour flame alive. One of the advantages of the past 10 months is that peoples interest in food really came to the fore. Many of us were growing food for the first time in a generation and we also rediscovered that we could find all the food and drink products we needed on our own doorstep.
“People’s concerns about entering crowded supermarkets meant they could avail of the service in small shops, while local businesses began delivering everything from meat to organic vegetables and even full meals.”
The festival helped people to access recipes from chefs they know and trust, from local stars like Edward Hayden, Anne Neary and John Kelly, through tointernational stars like Darina Allen, Kevin Dundon, Neven Maguire and Rory O’Connell. Many recipes featured local food produce like Highbank Orchard syrups, ciders and juices, Goatsbridge fresh and smoked fish products, Riversfield Organic Vegetable and many more.
Some other local businesses took the step into the limelight with CakeFace patisserie owner Laura Gannon and her daughter Riley becoming stars with their children’s bakery classes along with Wicklow star Deirdre Doyle from The Cool Food School who also targeted the Future Foodie generation.
A new departure was the inclusion of a focus on wellness and its connection with food and nutrition with Kilkennywomen Jenny White and Linda Murray of Beoga Nutrition giving really solid advice on how people can manage and improve their lives.
“We always see an upsurge in interest in looking after our health at this time of the year and this bank of videos will be a great resource in that work. There’s also lots of fun and laughs along the way,” said Ms Flannery.
“We now have a fantastic collection of videos which are available to the public, particularly in the difficult weeks ahead as we sit out the latest lockdown. Just subscribe to our YouTube channel and you will find the series of 74 fabulous videos there.”
Savour Kilkenny Chairperson Ger Mullally paid tribute to all involved in making the online festival such a success.
“Marian and her small team have done a fantastic job in reimagining our festival in such challenging times,” he said.
“We were particularly delighted with our profiles and interviews with local food producers presented by Siobhán Donohue in the Savour Stories series. We were equally delighted to host the brilliant wine tastings in conjunction with the Wine Centre in Kilkenny which raised €500 for the Kilkenny Lions Club Christmas Appeal.
"Needless to mention, we really hope we can be back to our normal festival later this year but the reaction to our online festival means we will definitely maintain some elements of this new approach in the future. We are also thankful to Kilkenny County Council and Kilkenny LEO who helped so much in keeping Savour alive in this difficult year and who made the online series possible.
"We look forward to our supporters being back out dining in our local restaurants and cafés and supporting our local food producers as soon as possible and that all our efforts to stay safe will pay off."