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Cooking with the Seasons

Course Specific
Nov 14
1.5 mins

Regardless of skill level, imagination or budget - a chef's job is to get the most out of their ingredients - and there is no greater way to pay respect to your food than cooking with the seasons.

Ireland was a country that relied on seasonality for hundreds of years - if you wanted to eat something that was out of season it would need to be pickled, dried or cured. This meant that a much deeper connection was built between the people and the food they grew and cooked with.

The emergence of cheap international shipping in the 20th century saw restaurants, supermarkets and (most importantly) consumers become used to the 'want it - get it' mentality of food. Strawberries in December and Asparagus in August - everything was on the menu year round.

But what chefs and eaters were gaining in convenience, they were losing in quality. Produce shipped around the world not only costs more, it loses much of its flavour and freshness in transit.

Given Ireland's mild, wet climate the harvest season is long and fruitful - but, as was the trend across Europe in the late 20th century, many chefs became reliant on foreign imports and the connection between people and their food was broken.

However in recent years, chefs have turned back to the ethos of their ancestors, and are tapping into the seasons, and it's not just because of the impact on their carbon footprint.

Ask any chef and they'll tell you the best produce is fresh and in season, but there are also seasonal benefits when creating dishes - it is no surprise we are naturally drawn to heartier, higher calorie dishes in colder months.

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