It’s funny, in a way, but throughout the reporting of this issue, how various people have reacted. It seems…[?] Richard backed down and re-worded and rephrased. Bord Bia [I must say] and Aidan Cotter in particular conducted themselves in an exemplary manner. And here I have added some other press statements.
Side stepping slightly, I was insulted online by a ‘colleague’ of Richards. I’m sure he may be a delightful person but the way I was reared, was not to act that way. I was also brought up that should an issue occur or an apology is to be made that….[with a pot of good coffee in hand] …and to quote myself
they were solved. Not in the public eye. Mono é mono. As gentlemen should do
That said, I love what it is I do. I love my life. I’m 99.9% of the time a very happy person. But how to [re]solve *anything* is a golden rule for me. Other than that I don’t really want to know. Not to be dissmissive…. it’s just I have more time for the more important people in my life…. those who do like good coffee and good conversation. [I may later change that coffee to the odd alcoholic beverage]. And for the record my thoughts on blogging [in any format] is thus – click here
To the point…..
I recommend [and you should] you first read:
- richard coorigans [for the] silly farm – click here
- and this post GM food? de burca? ….the green party? – click here
These were the responses that I liked the most.
It is a pity that he does not appear to have the same respect for ingredients when it comes to publicity as he does in his kitchen.
that they ‘flatly rejected Richard Corrigan assertion that Irish food is something other than the safest and of the highest quality in Europe and described the chef’s comments on Bord Bia as both inaccurate and unjustified.’
Bord Bia has demonstrated a consistent ability to respond professionally and effectively to changing marketing situations and to different crisis …… it was simply not fair to overlook this performance.
…… more resources should be made available to Bord Bia to ensure the best possible chance of export-led growth. Institutional changes at this time are neither required or desirable
……anyone making comments consider the overall image of the sector and refrain from making sweeping statements
The Irish Exporters Association Food & Drink Manager Godfrey Lydon had strong words to say
The Richard Corrigan comments are not helpful at all in the current climate when we are trying to ensure the future of Irish food and drink products.
The information put out by Richard today is both misinformed and inaccurate
Finally Bord Bia did release a statement on Friday 8th May 2009. There’s nothing controversial or mentioning of any debacle, but I really did like their opening and closing lines
Bord Bia’s statutory remit is to promote and develop markets for Irish food and drink. It is passionately committed to doing so. It conducts its remit in close partnership with farmers and industry to support Ireland’s largest indigenous sector, with an export value of €8.2 billion, to over 160 countries around the world
“Bord Bia has successfully built the profile of the Quality Mark in the Irish Market. There is a very high recognition and support of the Bord Bia Quality Mark among Irish consumers with an 80 per cent recognition rate with 73 per cent of these consumers saying that it influences their purchasing decisions” he concluded. [aidan cotter]
UPDATE May 15th ’09
One may have assumed that was the end of it…. you must be off your rocker! The Farmers Journal [where I used to write weekly… ], the only publcation who on this subject their opinion I would hold dear of any other, now have their say….. it seems I haven’t got it so far wrong and what an eye opener it is.
Title: Big mouth Corrigan raises hackles
Irish Farmers Journal (Country Living), 16 May (published 14 May) 2009
He epitomises everything about the celebrity chef – the Michelin-starred restaurants, the TV programme, the wealth and the big personality. Now Richard Corrigan has stuck his oar into food policy. Could this man be the saviour of Irish food – or is he just another chef with an ego too big for his own kitchen? Darragh McCullough reports.
Is this standard practice these days? asked a bewildered journalist, as she stared at the television release form. The permission form that all contributors sign nowadays was the first clue that her questions at the press conference were being filmed for Richard Corrigan’s latest offering, Corrigan’s City Farm.
The previous evening, journalists all over the country received a press release announcing Corrigan’s plans to call for the abolition of Bord Bia [the Irish Government’s food promotion agency]. There was also the not-insignificant carrot of a free lunch at his Stephen’s Green-based Bentley’s restaurant. But there was no mention of filming. As they say, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
But the excercise achieved what it set out to do. The self-styled “champion of small food producers” was all over the airwaves for the rest of the day, culminating with a
head-to-head with Bord Bia’s CEO Aidan Cotter on RTE Radio 1’s Drivetime that evening.
Corrigan’s “better food for all” campaign is a tried-and-trusted formula in the wake of the success of similar initiatives by other celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Hugn Fernley Whittingstall. But beyond the headlines, has the restaurateur got alternatives for all that he wants replaced?
It turns out Corrigan doesn’t really want Bord Bia binned just yet. In fact, he acknowledges the State body has done a fine job of promoting Irish food abroad.
His real problem is how the organisation promotes food here. So rather than abolishing the body, he’d prefer to see the promotion of Irish food abroad and Irish food at home to be separated.
And this was about as specific as he got. During a 20 minute briefing, he talked energetically about everything from supermarket trends in Holland to what it was like to have no money in your pocket.
“What should Bord Bia be replaced by?” asked RTE’s Joe O’Brien.
“Look, I’m a chef. I’m just trying to open the debate here. But something needs to be done fast,” responded Corrigan in his typically passionate, albeit slightly vague, manner.
“Bord Bia are making a great error in the way they are supporting Irish food here,” he said. He pointed out that the heads of the food industry here all sit on the board of
Bord Bia. “Where industry and bodies sit at the same table, there’s a conflict of interest for the consumer.”
One of Corrigan’s other gripes is the labelling system here. He wants to know why pork from pigs that have been fed genetically modified cereals (95% of the soya fed to pigs here is from GM sources) isn’t labelled to tell the consumer this. He also wants to know why eggs with a UK stamp are sold in egg boxes as Irish eggs (the eggs were produced in Northern Ireland).
“I’ve lived in Holland and the UK for over 20 years. I know what’s happening,” Corrigan told the assembled journalists. “I’m bringing you news that no one is telling the Irish agricultural community; Irish product will be on the bottom shelf unless we open this debate.”
While not stating it implicitly, the implication is that Irish food exports are in imminent danger of being relegated to lower-division status, because we refuse to implement a total ban on GM products being used in food production here. This ties in with his stance on organics, which, as he confides in me afterwards, “is the way to go for Irish farming.”
However, Corrigan has been raising the hackles of intensive farmers everywhere since his infamous “Irish chicken is c**p” comments on radio and the Late Late over two years ago.
Since then, he has been reported criticising farmed salmon and, most recently, intensive pig-rearing systems wen he visited the farm of well-known pig man Michael Maguire.
“I was asked by the producer of the City Farm programme for acess to my farm, because apparently they hadn’t the opportunity to get onto any other farm before,” said Maguire. “I say no problem – as long as they came with an open mind. But I was really disappointed with what ended up on the programme afterwards.”
Maguire also has reason to believe that Corrigan has a personal gripe with Bord Bia. “He mentioned that he had them [Bord Bia] in his sights since they never called into his restaurant in London,” recalls Maguire.
Corrigan sees himself as one of the greatest promoters of Irish food. ‘I am the ambassador of Irish food,” he immodestly declared on RTE Radio 1 last week.
This was during a head-to-head with Bord Bia boss Aidan Cotter, where Corrigan insisted on referring to Cotter as Michael for almost the entire interview, despite Mary Wilson’s best efforts.
Again, Corrigan lambasted Bord Bia’s approach to food marketing and GM foods, giving Cotter little or no chance to defend the Government agency. But again, the message was unclear, as Corrigan’s scattergun approach to dealing with
specifics left nothing fully answered.
It’s a far cry from the days when Corrigan worked with Bord Bia in their promotional work in the UK. While Cotter claimed they would be happy to work with the chef in the future, it’s difficult to see them ever cozying up again.
Corrigan’s criticisms come at a time when every Government agency is in the firing line for running up the public spending bill. Funding has already been cut by ?3 million this year, and it’s unlikely to be the last cut as the economy worsens.
Despite angerging large sections of the agricultural community with his attacks on intensive food production systems, Corrigan insists he is on the farmer’s side.
When I challenge him that he is actually in danger of alienating huge chunks of Ireland’s farming community, the self-proclaimed pioneer in the rehabilitation of British and Irish food retorts: “Can I not speak my mind? I’m not anti-farming, I’m just really passionate about food.”
Celeb chefs must deal with facts not hype
By Majella O’Sullivan Irish Independent
Tuesday May 19 2009
CELEBRITY chefs should not be given carte blanche to say what they like about food on public service television, a leading food safety expert has said.
Patrick Wall, associate professor of public health at UCD, said RTE had an obligation to instruct chefs that if they’re going to say something on air, they should be factually
Referring to what he termed “celebrity chef-induced food scares”, Professor Wall told a symposium on pig health in Tullamore their power should not be underestimated. “Food and cooking is not just something you do in your home anymore, it’s now something you entertain yourself with,” Prof Wall said.
“GMOs is another area, and for some reason celebrity chefs have gone into a non-GM mode,” he added. Referring to last year’s pork dioxins scare, Professor Wall said communicating risk to the public was not easy and media hype was a huge factor.
“When you Google ‘Irish pork’ you get more than 4.7m hits of adverse publicity on Irish pork. Ireland, the food island, is being mugged because of this,” he said. “We had the lowest levels of dioxins in food and now we’re being used in the one sentence, so we need to fix that.
“Food is a global business and businesses are built on reputations. Brand Ireland is after getting a mugging on the world stage and we need to fix that,” he said.