If ever there was a time to celebrate a Summer of staycations its right now! Presenter and food writer Donal Skehan and rising Food star Nico Reynolds star in short film celebrating delicious cheese produce.
“Donal and Nico’s Cheesy Road Trip” sees the two guys in a vintage camper van travelling the beautiful and picturesque trails of West Cork in search of the perfect grilled cheese sandwich.
Donal and Nico embark on a journey across the home of Irish dairy, West Cork with a simple aim; to find the best cheese combination for their ultimate Irish cheese toasties. Nico and Donal are ambassadors for the EU funded Cheese your Way campaign managed by the National Dairy Council.
Donal said “I really enjoyed working on this mini-film with my pal Nico, I am a passionate advocate of Irish cheese and our farmhouse cheeses are some of the best in the world. It was the ultimate staycation to travel around the beautiful parts of West Cork and the real prize was making a perfect grilled cheese at the end of the trip. Nico and I used our individual inspiration to create our signature sandwiches with a few quirky ingredients thrown in for good measure!”
West Cork is home to some of the best Farmhouse cheeses in Ireland – from Mileens to Durrus, Hegarty Cheddar to Gubeen, it’s a cheese lovers paradise within this peninsula of great scenic beauty. The film starts at Gubeen Cheese, where the Ferguson family have worked the Gubbeen Farm for many generations now. The 250-acre coastal farm in West Cork one mile outside the fishing village of Schull, the Atlantic Ocean bordering one boundary and Mount Gabriel to the North as a back drop behind the land, sheltering the pasture that has always supported the Gubbeen herd. Giana Ferguson was one of the first artisan cheesemakers in Ireland in the early 70’s and the cheese is now sold all over the world.
The guys then head off to Ballydehob to pick up more groceries for their cook off before sampling the famous grilled cheese sandwiches form Ron D’s food truck in the heart of Ballydehob. They then set off to Durrus Cheese to meet the cheesemakers and sample the various cheeses on offer. Started by another woman called Jeffa Gill in the 1970’s, situated on hillside valley of Coomkeen near Durrus. The cheese is produced using age old artisanal methods, with a Swiss cheese ‘harp’ to cut the curd by hand in a traditional copper lined cheese vat.
Nico Reynolds is a Pop up Chef and owner of ” Lil Portie” which jumped into international recognition after the restaurant was featured on Vice Medias Season 4 of F*ck That’s delicious with Action Bronson. He makes regular appearances on Irish TV in cooking segments like RTEs “Today show” and Virgin medias “Ireland AM” and was in house chef for the TV programme “Lodging with Lucy”. He has recently launched his own series on RTE Player called “Grill Seeker” which showcases his passion for cooking on barbeques.
Nico said “Being half Caribbean, I had to add my signature flavours to my grilled cheese sandwich and I included coriander and lime to elevate it to another level. I’m a huge barbeque fan so it was great to be able to cook the sandwiches on our portable barbeque on the beach at Galley Cove and then we had to have a swim afterwards!”
Donal and Nico’s Cheesy Road Trip is also available to stream on RTE Player
Video creator Stephen Brennan has won our competition celebrating European cheese as part of the European Milk Forum and National Dairy Council’s “Cheese. Your Way.” campaign. The competition prize will send Stephen and his friend Kirsty to LA this October to meet and participate in a food styling workshop with campaign ambassador, Irish celebrity chef Donal Skehan.
Currently working as a Research and Development Consultant, 27-year-old Stephen also runs his own YouTube and Instagram accounts named ‘CookingWithStephen’, dedicated to his love of creating delicious, home-cooked sweet and savoury dishes. Talking about the inspiration around his cooking channels Stephen said, “My YouTube channel started when my flatmates left chips in the oven for 4 hours. I awoke to the smell of the charred fries and thought it would be fun to make a ‘spoof’ instructional cooking video for ‘Charcoal French Fries’. Making and editing the video was a great experience so I decided to keep it up with proper dishes.”
“I’m really looking forward to going to LA and meeting Donal for the food styling workshop. I’m sure it will be an eye-opening experience and I hope to learn a few of Donal’s great culinary tricks!”
In addition to meeting one of Ireland’s most well-known chefs, Brennan will also get the opportunity to cook a European cheese-inspired recipe and improve his food styling and videography skills straight out of Skehan’s home kitchen, which just happens to be in the stunning LA hills.
Speaking about the competition, Donal Skehan said:
“Congratulations to Stephen, his entry video was very creative and humorous, whilst still giving a great insight into why he loves cooking with European cheese. I’m really looking forward to having Stephen and Kirsty come out to LA this autumn to style a delicious European cheese dish with me in my kitchen!”
Cathy Curran, Communications Manager at the National Dairy Council, added “Donal is an inspirational figure to aspiring chefs of all ages within Ireland and throughout the world, so we are delighted to have him on board as our campaign ambassador and look forward to sending Stephen to LA to learn new food styling tips.”
Dairy is an extremely important factor in contributing to a healthy balanced diet and we are looking forward to continue our work with Donal over the coming months, to encourage more consumers to explore and consume the great European cheeses we have access to here in Ireland.”
Niall O’Connell and Daniele Bizzozzero both Dublin-based, were announced as runners up and will both take part in a food styling workshop in Dublin this Autumn.
We are delighted to announce as part of the Cheese Your Way campaign, Donal will be demonstrating some of his delicious cheese recipes at this this year’s National Ploughing Championships in Co Carlow on Tuesday 17th September.