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The New Irish Cuisine

NOREEN is an international Culinary Arts Instructor, Author, Celebrity Chef, Restaurant Reviewer and Culinary Judge, who pioneered the exciting New Irish Cuisine movement in Ireland, from the early 1960s; throughout the 1970s and into the early 1980s.

In 1973, with encouragement from Paul Bocuse, acknowledged as the world's greatest Chef, NOREEN introduced the principles of La Nouvelle Cuisine into Ireland. She began her 'Culinary Tours' across the country, to demonstrate and present new ideas in cooking, and promote the excellent quality fresh foods available - meat, fish and vegetables. This gave her the opportunity to create a range of new dishes, where delicious sauces evolve during the cooking process. In time, these became firm favorites in households throughout Ireland, and were the beginnings of the New Irish Cuisine.

The Media were intrigued. A rush of publicity followed, with appearances on TV, Radio, Special Shows and Charity events. Numerous articles appeared in newspapers and magazines, quoting NOREEN’S firm belief that "Ireland is virgin territory to become a Gourmet's Paradise." A publisher commissioned a book. 'Cooking Irish Style Today' was published in 1976. A sell-out, it was reprinted several times. Commissioned journalistic opportunities arose, which allowed her to promote the new image of Irish food on the international scene across seventeen countries. Two thousand articles were published.

Throughout the Seventies, NOREEN received many requests:

·         To create a dish representative of Ireland in the EEC - European Common Market. 'Blarney Salmon' was an overnight sensation and is well received to this day. Featured on the home page, it is a fresh salmon cake, coated in an avocado frosting, and decorated in the Irish colors, green, white, and gold.

·         Gilbeys of Ireland launched Baileys Irish Cream, and invited NOREEN to create the first dessert using the liqueur. ‘The Jewel Box' is a delicious French sponge 'box', filled with fresh fruits and Baileys Irish Cream.

·         A group of friends with NOREEN’S help, started the 'Irish Gourmet Society', to officially launch and publicize the New Irish Cuisine. Sponsorships poured in. Beamish and Crawford hosted the inaugural dinner in Cork. Waterford Glass, Irish Linen Mills, Le Creuset, Gilbeys of Ireland, Tupperware, Carrigaline Potteries, Collins English and other national and international companies participated.

·         Restaurant owners asked her to act as a Consultant, and specialized catered private functions followed.

The Eighties were busy years for NOREEN. She became a restaurant reviewer for the 'Social & Personal' magazine, and was commissioned to fill four pages monthly, which also included additional articles promoting the New Irish Cuisine. She did many promotions for several clients; and began writing another cookbook, with the name Cordon d’Or – Gold Ribbon Cuisine. In 1985, NOREEN wanted to promote interest in fresh fruit throughout Ireland. She initiated plans to set up the nationwide 'Intofruit' gift basket of fruit service. The idea originated in 1974, when the Cork Examiner, a national daily newspaper in Ireland (now titled The Examiner), took up a suggestion from NOREEN, to introduce a decorative 'basket of fresh fruit' category into their annual Christmas Cookery competition. The paper quoted: “There are no losers in the contest, as all entries are donated to various charities. It provides an opportunity to people who do not like to cook, but want to participate, to present a colorful artistic addition to the competition." In early 1986, she officially launched 'Intofruit', at the show VENTURES '86, a three-day exhibition held at the RDS - Royal Dublin Society. AnCO, the Industrial Training Authority, sponsored a display stand for 'Intofruit'. There, NOREEN presented a very colorful and decorative selection of gift baskets of fresh fruit. At the event, 'Intofruit' received the Innovative Award, presented by U Magazine. . The slogan 'Are you into fruit? Why not give a gift' became popular; and across Ireland, people gave a gift basket of fresh fruit for birthdays, anniversaries, and 'get well' wishes to those in hospital.

At the beginning of the Eighties decade, the turning point came. A Chef’s contest was held in Ireland, sponsored by Grants of Ireland and Bord Failte, the Irish Tourist Board. It was intended to bring attention to efforts to establish the New Irish Cuisine. NOREEN’S article on the event was published in the Examiner newspapers. She congratulated the winner and encouraged the efforts to take the idea for a New Irish Cuisine to the next stage. More people became involved during the decade, and NOREEN calls this group, the Developers. By the early Nineties, there was a proliferation of culinary activities throughout the Emerald Isle; and in 1994, the Consolidators came on board, when the Irish government finally established An Bord Bia – The Irish Food Board.

In January 1990, the Irish publisher, Mercier Press, published another cookbook by NOREEN, 'Cooking Irish Style' ; and in November of that year, NOREEN moved to Florida, where she continued her 'Culinary Arts' activities on an international level. She established the name Cordon d’ Or – Gold Ribbon; continued work on the book; and made plans to create a new Accolade for the 21st Century. Schiller International University contacted her and asked if she would teach food production, restaurant and dining room management at their head campus in Florida. (The University has seven campuses throughout Europe.) Later, the University appointed her as their Food Service Director and Executive Chef. And, SPIFFS, a Florida organization representing over fifty countries asked her to do culinary demonstrations at local events and on NBC-TV.

In 1995, at the St. Petersburg Times 'Festival of Reading' at Eckerd College, the new cookbook ‘Cordon d’Or Cuisine – Gold Ribbon Cookery’ was launched. The book features a selection of eclectic, classic, global and innovative dishes, and includes a slant on the New Irish Cuisine.

By the mid Nineties, the media was questioning the definition of the New Irish Cuisine in Ireland, and requesting some clarity. NOREEN agreed. Conscious of the fact that French Cuisine is associated with Cordon Bleu, she felt the time had come for the New Irish Cuisine to have an Accolade to describe the levels attained in the ‘Culinary Arts’ arena. She went for the gold color in the Irish flag, and associated the New Irish Cuisine with the name……

CORDON d’ OR - GOLD RIBBON

Where every dish becomes a Culinary Masterpiece

In 1996, Bord Fáilte, the Irish Government Tourist Board, acknowledged NOREEN as the Culinary Ambassador for Ireland.

These days, NOREEN writes articles, published in the American press, to show that Irish cuisine has come into its own on the world stage, and deserves the Accolade of the 21st Century - Cordon d’ Or  – Gold Ribbon. Also, she is trying to encourage the Irish Food Board – An Bord Bia, to use the new Accolade on the Irish culinary scene.

Currently, NOREEN is writing a literary cookbook on how the New Irish Cuisine developed over several decades; and how Ireland has become the Gourmet’s Paradise she predicted could happen over forty years ago.

Go for it: Everyone loves to go for 'GOLD'

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© 2003 Noreen Kinney