The big grill festival returns to dublin’s herbert park from thursday august 17 to sunday august 20. ciara mcquillan highlights the female chefs to look out for …
With the sun due to join us again later this week (at time of writing at least), the return of The Big Grill Festival is somewhat timely. Enjoying food cooked over fire while under the sun is one of life’s culinary pleasures, the combination of seared or ember-roasted produce and warm sun is hard to resist. Add the verdant surrounding of Herbert Park and it’s a highly enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. These women making an appearance at the festival next week agree – food and fire is where it’s at.
Mursal Saiq, Activist and Founder Cue Point Ldn
Kabul born Mursal Saiq was raised in Mumbai before growing up in Hackney. Her family were forced to evacuate their home and give it up to members of the Taliban during the Afghan civil war in the 1990s. In later years, she met Joshua Moroney and together they opened Cue Point Ldn, considered one of the best barbecue joints in London with an ethos of inclusivity. You will find Mursal cooking with Jameson Black Barrel every day of the festival.
Ellie Kisyombe, Activist and Founder of Our Table
Malawian activist Ellie Kisyombe is also the founder of Our Table, a project that exists to build an awareness of food in multicultural Ireland and to highlight the many flaws in Direct Provision. Ellie is also founder of the catering company, Ellie’s Kitchen Home Edition. You will find Ellie at the Friday Bastecamp, cooking up Southern African Malawian Barbeque.
Majken Bech Bailey, Hospitality Consultant and Event Catering, Bech-Bailey
She of Aimsir fame (and more recently of Bech Bailey, currently taking up residency at The Morrison Room at Carton House) Majken Bech Bailey came to Ireland in 2014 to set up Aimsir with her husband Jordan Bailey, which was awarded two Michelin stars after just six months opening. You will find Majken, with her much lauded sense of professional, yet relaxed service at the Saturday Bastecamp with her husband Jordan where they will curate accompanying drinks to Smokin’ Sweets and prepare grilled BBQ desserts.
Melissa Thompson, Food Writer and Cookbook Author
An award-winning food writer and live fire cook, Melissa’s debut cookbook, Motherland, explores the evolution of Jamaican food, from the island’s indigenous population to today. Owner of a minimum of five barbecues at her home, it’s safe to say Melissa knows a thing or two about cooking over fire. At Big Grill Festival, Melissa will be at the Thursday Bastecamp cooking Jerk Surf & Turf, a Caribbean take on surf and turf with jerk pork and prawns, smoked over bay and served with a fire-roasted hot sauce. Count. Me. In.
Aishling Moore, Head Chef, Goldie, Cork
Widely considered one of Ireland’s most exciting young chefs, Aishling Moore has pioneered gill to fin cooking in Ireland which has resulted in some of the best modern Irish food. Sustainability is also at the core of Aishling’s ethos, and you will find her at Sunday Bastecamp taking part in a fish over fire demo with fin to tail grilling with Gaz Smith and João Carlos. Aishling will demonstrate breaking down a cod head on stage before grilling the various parts, while Gaz and João (of Michaels Dublin) will be cooking champagne basted whole turbot and monkfish over wood and coals.
Mecha Solis, Chef
Travelling all the way from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Melis’ work as a chef has led her on many adventures in different countries, working with incredible chefs German Martitegui, Lele Cristobal and Narda Lepes. Based in Patagonia, Mecha is planning to open her own restaurant fusing fire and the best local produce. You will find Mecha at Saturday Bastecamp, cooking ‘All Things Asado’, a deep dive into Argentinian Asado, with Martin Anderson and Rama Basilio Asado.
Shauna Froydenlund, Chef
Born in Northern Ireland, Shauna Froydenlund spent 15 years with her husband Mark working at Marcus at The Berkeley, in London. The couple worked their way up to chef patrons, along with Marcus Wareing but have now moved to Derry where they plan to open their own restaurant. At the Sunday Bastecamp, Shauna and her husband Mark will present Grill & Spice where the duo share their at home barbecue tips and tricks and show us how to make their Vindaloo short rib, a slow cooked short rib from Irish ex-dairy cows, finished on a barbecue with Vindaloo glaze and served with flatbreads, smoky lentil dhal and fresh curry leaf butter. Indian X BBQ? This will certainly be on my Big Grill bucket list.
Jess Kelly, Butcher
After honing her butchery skills in Melbourne, Jess Kelly burst onto the food scene in Ireland offering a fresh take on the world of meat. Jess is most loved for her handmade sausages and championing Irish produce, and this year Jess will make a number of appearances at Big Grill Festival. At Thursday Bastecamp, Jess will appear at a ‘Thai Sausage Deep Dive with Andy Ricker & Jess Kelly’ to chat and cook all things Thai sausage, while at Friday Bastecamp, Jess breaks down a whole rib of dry aged beef and will demonstrate how to get the best out of this favourite piece of meat on the grill. Busy bee Jess will also appear at Saturday Bastecamp for ‘Beasts, Butchery and Blades’ where Jess will join Fingal Ferguson and Nick Weston of Hunter Gather Cook to break down an entire deer. Finally, Jess will take part in judging The Big Grill All Star Sausage Sizzle on Sunday afternoon.
Genevieve Taylor, Live Fire Expert and Cookbook Author
The author of twelve cookbooks, Genevieve knows a thing or two about cooking over fire. A proud omnivore, Genevieve is on a mission to prove that great BBQ isn’t just about meat as her many excellent vegetarian recipes show (I’m talking about you ‘Whole Smoked Satay Cauliflower’). At Saturday Bastecamp, Genevieve will host Brine and Dine: A Masterclass in Brining, while on Sunday, she will host Degrees of Deliciousness: The Ultimate Barbecue Temperature Control Masterclass. Both masterclasses will teach invaluable skills for those interested in upping their BBQ game.
Big Grill festival takes place August 17-20 at Herbert Park, Ballsbridge; www.biggrillfestival.com.