First food awards judged by robots?

Hey ho, more food awards, more bollocks and bullshit.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m  not knocking the worthy artisans who collected the gongs, plaques or crystal gee-gaws at the Blas na hÉireann, National Irish Food and Drink awards. God knows, it’s hard enough to make an honest copper these days and those who toil in the food business, beset on all sides by bureaucrats and clowns in white coats, deserve all the plaudits they get and more. But, Jesus, the hype in the press release announcing the winners would have Phineas T.Barnum weeping into a pail of elephant shite. An ice cream took the big prize “beating off hundreds of top food and drink producers from all over Ireland.” This was presented by “leading industry expert” Peter Ward. Now Peter is a very nice man, who runs a fab deli in Co Limerick but I’m sure even he would agree the description is a tad OTT.

Be that as it may, what really pisses me off is that  Blas na hÉireann claim their awards to be the “only Irish food awards that focus solely on taste”. This is a blatant untruth, what’s more, a deliberate one.* The public should be aware that The Irish Food Writer’s Guild has been presenting their annual awards (focussed entirely on taste) for the past fifteen years. The IFWG’s awards have brought deserved recognition to many excellent producers, too many to list.

Blas na hÉireann’s spurious claim does a disservice to the pioneering Irish food writers, most of whom are still active members of the Guild who created the awards, the first of their kind.

What Blas na hÉireann do have and the Guild doesn’t, it seems, is the appliance of science. The judging process, we are told, was “developed and overseen by the U.C.C Food Science Department”. Can’t compete with that. Presumably deep in a bunker on campus there’s a batch of bespoke robots who chomp though a mountain of sausages, puddings, drisheen, rashers, ice cream, cheese, chocolate, soup, pies and poultry miles faster than can possibly be achieved by a team of respected food scribes, spewing out the results, based on a complex mathematical formula, in milliseconds. Does one of them write the press releases too?

* I did actually inform the PR representing  Blas na Éireann  of the prior existence and format of the Guild Awards and of the incorrectness of their claim, last year when I first received notification of  the inauguration of the Blas na hÉireann awards.

I should stress that the views contained herein are my own and not necessarily representative of the IGFW, of whom I am a member.

Full list of Award Winners available from