Press / Media

Over 300 treated to rescued Biryani at Clonakilty Food Rescue

Our  ‘Food Rescue’ event in sunny Clonakilty was a huge success! Aimed at preventing food waste, the community-led feast gave locals the opportunity to sample a delicious lunch created from food that would otherwise have been thrown away.

Hungry locals of all ages queued all the way out the door of O’Donovan’s Hotel on a bright Sunday in the Cork town. “I counted over 300 people,” recalls Isobel Towse, one of the event’s organisers and University College Cork graduate of International Development and Food Policy.

The crowds were treated to Lamb Biryani and dessert by top chefs from Richys Restaurant & R Café and Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa, Clonakilty, West Cork, using short-dated and “ugly” (but incredibly tasty!) food donated by Scally’s Supervalu Clonakilty and Harte’s SPAR Supermarket.

Catherine O’Connor, organiser and chairperson of Clonakilty Tidy Towns, said there was something for everyone to enjoy on the day: “The bread and butter pudding prepared by Inchydoney chef Adam Medcalf went down a treat with the older attendees, while the younger population enjoyed the spicy main dish prepared by Richy Virahsawmy.”

Richy is a Michelin trained chef who takes food waste seriously. As a business owner, he recognises the need to reduce waste and there’s a benefit to that for his restaurant too: lower bills and a more successful business. Rather than serving oversized meals, each portion is the correct size.

“Commercially, you want people to eat three meals,” Richy says. With normal portion sizes for each course, customers will have a better restaurant experience and even have room for desert!  Just in case there are leftovers, Richy offers doggy bags. “There is usually very little waste,” he says. He buys vegetables locally that are based on the seasons, to prevent spoiling, and sometimes runs out of food, having to purchase more locally.

Clonakilty’s Food Rescue Event also did much to encourage and educate people on the advantages of reducing food waste. Isobel noticed that everyone attending the event stayed to watch some of the talks. Volunteers also handed out Food Rescue leaflets with food waste tips, for attendees to read while queueing or back at home. “If they remember even one piece of information from the day, I think it was a success,” Isobel affirms.

With over 40 active local community groups in Clonakilty, the future looks bright for residents to enjoy similar events in the future. Isobel said there is already talk of a summer “Street Feast” where the main street could be pedestrianised and more businesses could get involved.

Catherine O’Connor says the Food Rescue event highlighted the need for all of us to buy into “prevention of food waste,” the effects on our environment, not to mention the waste of money that we are guilty of. She aims to continue the work with talks on food composting and more: “We hope to work with the Grow It Yourself group with a view to locating an area in town for a community garden.” They’re also thinking of introducing a programme of planting fruit trees in some areas of town.

How can we further spread the message of reducing food waste? Isobel has some ideas: “I would try to get more businesses involved in these kinds of events. I would also encourage people to watch the global waste documentary ‘Trashed’. It would help if it was more readily available (i.e. to stream for free online!).”

Catherine was impressed with the food waste knowledge of the supermarket owners and chefs, while chatting to them on the day. “They couldn’t have been more helpful and their message of support through their co-operation and generosity spoke volumes. This enthusiasm and advice had to have an effect on people. I believe people will think differently as a result.”

Top food waste tips learned on the day!

Isobel: Buy more food from the “reduced to clear” section, and give scraps to the dog instead of binning them. I also want to get a composter now as I have since discovered the benefits of composting! 

Please support VOICE’s work!

Clon people invited for free Sunday lunch made from "rescued" food

People in Clonakilty are invited to a "free lunch" with a difference after church services this Sunday at 12.30pm in O' Donovan's Hotel, when top chefs from two of the towns famous restaurants will cook up meals made entirely from "rescued" ingredients donated by two local supermarkets.

The ingredients will be made up of food ingredients from Scally's Super Valu and Harte's Spar, whose "sell by" dates have recently expired, or are "unpresentable!" for the shop shelves - but which are perfectly safe to use. They are in effect being "rescued" from being thrown out as waste by those businesses.

Adam Medcalf, Head Chef at the four star Inchydoney Lodge and Spa, and Richy Virishwamy, owner of the award-winning Richy's Restaurant and Bistro, (who has a weekly slot on RTÉ's "Today" afternoon show), will then use the ingredients which would otherwise be destined for the waste bin to cook up what will be delicious meals.

These will be served free of charge to the public at 12.30pm on Sunday at O' Donovan's Hotel to which all are welcome.

At 11.00am on Saturday morning, members of the Clonakilty Tidy Towns will collect the "ingredients" from Super Valu and Spar and take them to Richy's where the two chefs will then pick and choose from them to create their dishes for Sunday.

This will give the public an insight into the amount of waste food from just two shops in Clon, which if not rescued, would have ended up in bins, costing the businesses money to dispose of.

At the "Food Rescue" event itself at 12.30pm on Sunday, there will also be talks on composting waste food, and the documentary film "Trashed" will be screened. In this film, West Cork resident, Jeremy Irons illustrates the extent and effects of the global waste problem, as he travels around the world to beautiful destinations tainted by pollution (

Clonakilty's first ever "Food Rescue Event" is organised as a winter project by Clonakilty Tidy Towns to raise awareness about food waste. Last November, a working committee comprising of members of the Tidy Towns; Sustainable Clonakilty; Clonakilty GIY Group and Clonakilty Branch Out Group began working on the project, which is based on the successful "Feeding the 5,000" held in Dublin in November 2012 and the "Feed the City" in Cork last St. Patrick's weekend.

It is also supported by VOICE (Voice of the Irish Concern for the Environment) and

A representative of the organising committee stated:

"We are delighted to organise this Food Rescue event in Clonakilty. With each household on average €700 food waste per year, we hope to raise awareness of how this can be prevented if not totally eliminated.

We thank Harte's Spar and Scally's Super Valu and the chefs from Richy's and The Inchydoney Lodge and Spa, who are giving their time free, O' Donovan's Hotel for hosting the event  and our hard working committee made up of representatives of Tidy Towns; GIY; Branch Out and Sustainable Clonakilty who have all combined their talents and energy to bring this to a reality.

We are sure that people will enjoy the tasty meals that will be served up and learn from the talks and film show on the day.

And we hope that this initiative will result in less food waste in Clonakilty, and where it is inevitably thereby helping the environment".

Read all about the evenet here: