A french chef working in Youghal has compiled the winning recipe in a contest to establish the perpetual Gold Label Youghal Bay Fish Pie. Seventeen food outlets in the town entered the competition but David Ribeau ensured his employers, the Red Store bar and restaurant, entered the history and cookery books with a winning effort that he prepared “in about ten minutes.” Monsieur Ribeau, 36 and from Burgundy has been living in Youghal for six years. He receives a weekend for two in Dublin’s Westin hotel as his prize.
Significantly, the winning recipe will be officially registered and circulated to all restaurants in Youghal –and beyond if requested – to ensure a consistent, standardised dish that it is hoped will become synonymous with the town’s name. The move is the first in a driven marketing venture aimed at promoting Youghal as a family-friendly tourism centre with strong links to the sea, history and food. The recently formed Youghal Concerned Citizens group are managing the project, which was first suggested by Belfast-born international marketing consultant Tim Magee, who settled in the town six years ago.
The Youghal Bay Fish Pie competition saw entries delivered to Moby Dicks bar last Saturday afternoon. Identifiable only by number, they were adjudicated upon by Aoife Carrigy, an internationally renowned food writer and critic and former deputy editor of Food and Wine magazine.
At 7 pm, an award ceremony attended by Youghal mayor Eoin Coyne was preceded by several food establishments serving free pie samples from pavement tables. Later, preparing to announce the winner, Ms Carrigy said the entries “reflected the town’s diversity.” She had found “traditional pies for a windy walk and rainy day, Italian pies with garlic butter poured over them and modern takes with different toppings and herbs.” However the Red Store’s effort scooped the honour with “a pie for every occasion and all tastes.”
Obviously enjoying her work, the judge reflected on “a lovely buttery topping that added that little bit of decadence that made you want to tuck in.” She depicted “lots of fish mix, including salmon, white fish and smoked fish,” and “a fairly light sauce that appeals to the contemporary palette” and which “brought a really nice complex base to the flavour.”
Delighted Red Store manager Mark Golden said the competition showed “everyone pulling together to promote tourism, which is the backbone of the town.” His slightly surprised winning chef said he had “just done my job the best I can.” Describing Youghal as having “the best tourism structure in the country,” Mr Magee urged, “We shouldn’t be focused on industry but on tourism.”
Ms Carrigy reflected that Ireland currently presents “a great time to be doing things like this. It is heartening to see how ready people are to get behind initiatives. It is tapping into strength in numbers and a creative response to good ideas is the way to approach things.”
The Gold Label Youghal Fish Pie recipe:
Ingredients: 60g smoked haddock, 80g fresh cod, 80g fresh hake, 80g fresh salmon, pinch of cumin, pinch of nutmeg, salt to taste and pepper to taste, pinch of tarragon, juice of half a lime, half litre of milk, potato, celeriac, onions and carrots in very small amounts (just for taste).
Process: Drain the fish. Reserve milk for sauce. Dress fish in dish with other ingredients, taking care to spread out so all types are evenly distributed. Thicken slightly the reserve sauce with corn flour and check the seasoning. Cover the fish with the sauce and the top with piped mashed potato and a pinch of parmesan cheese. Cook for 20 minutes and serve immediately. As accompaniment, Aoife Carrigy recommends “a crisp green salad with sharp lemon dressing”, along with a Sauvignon Blanc or a Chardonnay. “But a pint of Guinness would be ok too!”