If you’re reading this, you’ve made it to the other side of 2020 and a new year is upon is.
It’s been a hell of year as well.
The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the Irish hospitality sector and restaurant trade. We’ve seen businesses close, we’ve seen businesses pivot to survive and we’ve seen people grab the opportunity of time and space to launch new food ventures.
It was a year where we got used to queuing for cups of coffee and takeaway treats, washing your hands fifty times a day, wearing masks in restaurants if you did manage to get a table somewhere and when the doors were closed, we got used to click-and-collect services from our favourite haunts very quickly.
Food events were few and far between. The annual calendar was torn up as early as March last year and never really recovered. Big gatherings like Food On The Edge were cancelled, big festivals like Savour Kilkenny moved online (and it’s still going at time of writing).
With travel restrictions in place around the country, we turned our attention to local.
Neighbourfood initiatives blossomed, local butchers, bakers and more kept their doors open, meal kits became more of a thing more and more people began turning attention to the smaller traders.
The likelihood is that what were temporary measures in 2020 will be more commonplace in 2021.
Sure enough, a corner may have been turned with the arrival of the first vaccine for Covid-19 in Ireland, but between rollouts and restrictions, concerns over gatherings around Christmas and this time of year, we’re set for another few months of relative uncertainty.
Ok, so not a very “happy new year” so far, but the year is what you make it.
Onward to 2021
We have adapted, we have learned, we have adjusted, we’ve become accustomed to the new way of doing things and that with recent developments, that at least brings some sense of direction, optimism and confidence for 2020.
While I don’t think that event will be happening anything on the scale of 2019 or early 2020, they will happen.
There’ll be more demos and classes and courses and online gatherings across the year than we know what do to do with and I’d be optimistic again that the renewed focus on local will remain and hopefully linger long beyond 2021.
For me, on food
For me, I’ll be turning the attention on the blog to more local and my own dealings with food.
Since the journey of cooking for three started (which is going pretty well), things have become a little more plant-based about the house and given the lack of getting out and about to restaurants, I’ve been doing an awful lot of cooking.
What I’ve not been doing is an awful lot of sharing of those recipes and dishes so (according to my notebook), that’s what I’ll do a little bit more of this year, go wild.
On the local side of things, I put together a few guides over the course of 2020 in terms of eating out and dining out with certain restrictions – all for Kilkenny – and that eye on what’s happening on the Kilkenny food scene will come more to the fore this year as I pull the trigger on the Kilkenny Food Guide (it took a bit of a twist last year).
Then, when it comes to the podcast, it continues with the weekly installments of Food In 5 Minutes on Sundays (returning from this coming Sunday for the first of 2021), coupled with interviews across the year with producers and makers, chefs and authors.
It’s that (the podcast) that I’m most excited about from a content point of view. If you’ve heard it before and would like to be part of it, drop me a line to say hello, introduce yourself and let’s talk.
Oh, and lastly, happy new year!