CELEBRITY chef Darina Allen has received a lifetime achievement award for her contribution to Irish food.
The renowned cook and food writer received her award while in Kerry for the Listowel Food Fair, which came to a close yesterday.
The Co. Laois native is the owner of Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shangarry, where she lives in Co. Cork.
Founded in 1983 by Allen and her brother Rory O'Connell, the school, which also features Allen’s daughter-in-law Rachel Allen, has grown to become one of the most prestigious cookery schools in the world with a far-reaching network of students and alumni.
Ms Allen was presented with her award by Festival Chairman Jimmy Deenihan.
The Former Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development said: “On behalf of the Listowel Food Fair I would like to recognise and thank Darina Allen for her lifetime dedication and significant contribution to Irish food.”
He added: “Darina Allen is a trailblazer in Irish food and has inspired a whole generation of chef’s, who trained with her at Ballymaloe Cookery School and are now working in the Irish and international food and hospitality sectors.
“Ballymaloe Cookery School has grown to become one of the most prestigious cookery schools in the world with a far-reaching network of students and alumni.
“We would like to congratulate Darina Allen and Ballymaloe Cookery School for the significant contribution they have made.”
The author of several successful Irish cookery books, Allen is also a leader of the Slow Food movement in Ireland and over the years was instrumental in establishing a network of farmers’ markets across Cork.
While in Lisowel the writer signed copies of her new book The New Ballymaloe Bread Book while in Listowel.
Her latest book features more than 180 tried and tested recipes – including soda bread, yeast bread, sourdough, focaccia, flatbreads, sweet breads and breads from around the world.