Visit Armagh – the Richhill Apple Harvest Fayre
By ELEANOR MCGILLIE 12 September, 2018
For the fifth year now, Richhill Apple Harvest Fayre has been celebrating the Armagh Bramley Apple. This country fayre just gets bigger and better every year. This year, chefs from the orchard county will be using the fayre’s tasting theatre to encourage young people into the catering industry.
A POPULAR country fayre, which is an annual celebration of the Armagh Bramley Apple, will welcome award winning chefs who will use their tasting theatre this year to encourage young people to enter the catering industry.
The Richhill Apple Harvest Fayre, which will take place on Saturday, October 27, launched with the announcement that it will use its prime position in The Food Heartland to encourage young people to embark on a career in the kitchen.
The fayre, which is a fantastic family day out, will welcome pupils from St Catherine’s College in Armagh who will be mentored during the fayre by the winner of Best Young Chef in Britain at the British Restaurant Awards and Sous Chef at the Lough Erne Resort, Mark Winter, Head Chef Mervyn Steenson from Groucho’s, Head Chef John White from the Armagh City Hotel.
The pupils, who won this year’s Pinkerton’s Cook-Off Schools Cup at the Armagh County Show, will recreate the winning dish at the Richhill Apple Harvest Fayre under the watchful eyes of the three chefs.
Fayre committee member and Head Chef Mervyn Steenson of Groucho’s said: “The Richhill Apple Harvest Fayre is growing year on year. Richhill is in the heart of The Food Heartland so we are in a prime location to encourage young people to enter the catering industry. This year’s fayre remains a celebration of the Bramley Apple but a firm focus is being placed on delivering the message that being a chef is a fantastic career to embark on. There is a shortage of chefs in Northern Ireland and we want to do our bit to encourage young people into the catering industry because it’s a fantastic career.
“We want young people, with a passion for food, to get into this industry so they can embark on a great career path, our restaurants can continue to plate up fantastic food using local produce and provide our tourists, and locals, with a real taste of Northern Ireland. We have so many great producers here in The Food Heartland and they too rely on chefs using their produce in restaurants right across the region.
“We want this year’s Richhill Apple Harvest to highlight how important chefs are within tourism, within the local economy and for our producers and restaurants. It’s a fantastic career so I really look forward to mentoring these young people with a view of inspiring more to enter the industry.”
Echoing those sentiments is Joy Rollston, who coordinated the Pinkerton’s Schools Cook-Off.
Joy said: “Pinkerton’s is delighted the Richhill Apple Harvest Fayre is giving the winners of our Armagh Show Schools Cook-Off the amazing opportunity to be mentored by Head Chef Mervyn Steenson in Groucho’s for a morning in his kitchen as well as recreating their winning dish at the fayre.
“It’s vital young people are being encouraged to step into the kitchen, experience first-hand how creative they can be especially being able to cook with the fabulous local produce we have in the Borough. The girls will be joined by local chefs and are very excited to show the fayre goers their passion for cooking with local produce, especially with Pinkertons Pork. This is a brilliant opportunity and we hope crowds at Richhill this year will enjoy the new Tasting Theatre.”
Hamilton Loney, who sits on the organising committee, and is a fourth generation apple grower, said: “There’ll be a host of events in the run up to Saturday’s fayre such as the launch of a book about Richhill, a free family event, a firework display, and, on the main day, schools will showcase their homemade scarecrows, we’ll have a tug-of-war, we’ll have over 30 food and drink producers, crafts people, songs to celebrate the harvest and live local musicians.”
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