World's leaders to get a good old Ulster fry-up
...Along with some yellowman ice cream and maybe even a few Lough Neagh eels
Published 02/06/2013 | 00:00
Yellowman ice cream and Toomebridge eels.
You couldn't get more Northern Ireland when it comes to food.
"When in Rome, do as the Romans do," Noel McMeel, Lough Erne Resort's executive chef, said.
The Co Antrim chef is one of the driving forces behind the daunting operation of feeding the world's most powerful individuals and their entourages during the G8 summit.
Chefs at Fermanagh's Lough Erne Resort have been working on the menus for four months.
On Friday, the last details were still being finalised at the luxury resort. Extra equipment has been bought, new uniforms brought in and all the resort's kitchen utensils upgraded. Staff in Lough Erne's four kitchens have undergone around 100 hours additional training each.
Exactly what the G8 leaders will eat is being kept secret. But a range of up to 25 dishes – including vegan and vegetarian delicacies – will be offered.
The ingredients will be drawn from across Ireland – except, perhaps, for the lemons. Comber spuds, Glastry ice-cream from Co Down and fresh fish from Donegal's Killybegs port are all expected to appear on the menus – beside cheeses from Fivemiletown, beef from Lisnaskea firm Kettyles, and black bacon and corned beef from Enniskillen's renowned O'Doherty's butchers.
Local delicacies will include yellowman ice-cream with a dulse garnish, Toomebridge eels with a sweet red onion marmalade and local oatcakes.
And, of course, the Ulster fry with black and white pudding and, again, O'Doherty's black pudding.
"The menus will reflect local people because it is produce from local people who love what they do," Mr McMeel told the Belfast Telegraph.
The dishes are not expected to deviate too far from the resort's restaurant menu – which offers anything from Dromoland Estate Quail, Castlerock grey mullet and Fivemiletown goat's cheese roulade to breast of Fermanagh free range chicken, Kilkeel cod and baked blackrock stone bass. Restaurant favourites, the Lough Erne mixed grill and roast rump of Glenhoy lamb, are also understood to feature on the June 17 and 18 menus.
The chef insists that they have received no outlandish demands.
"We are here for our guests' every whim," he said. "Whatever is needed will be done."
In 2002, Mr McMeel was behind the lavish food at Paul McCartney and Heather Mills' wedding in Co Monaghan's Castle Leslie. He went on to travel the world to cook for McCartney's celebrity friends.
"But this here tops everything," he said. "This will be the biggest thing I have done for sure.
"All the (kitchen) staff are excited. They just have fire in their bellies."