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Tasty food options from a range of smart vendors

Covid crisis sparks decisions: ‘The news came as we were at a crossroads in our careers’

Covid-19 has played a role in creating an exciting new food business for two hospitality professionals. Damian Corr and Jenny Campbell established Vera Foods after their restaurant management jobs fell victim to the pandemic.

The couple are now offering a range of specialist fine foods from Spain both online and through the farm markets at Whelehan's Wines in Loughlinstown and Kilruddery House & Gardens Saturday farmers' market.

It all began with a chance meeting on Bray Promenade with Carlos and Bernie Martin. Damian and Jenny chatted about their favourite subject – good food and discovered that they had met kindred spirits. That chat led to further meetings and eventually to Carlos revealing he was stepping back from his food importing business and planning to live in Spain.

"The news came as we were at a crossroads in our careers," says Corr, who graduated in hospitality management from DIT College and spent a decade as a professional sommelier, restaurant and bar manager at the five-star Merrion Hotel.


Vera Foods is now offering the Irish public a range of Spanish food products of the highest quality – Alberto’s Gold organic, cold first press extra virgin olive oil, award-winning cheeses from Andalucia, chorizo and hams from Salamanca, Serrano and Iberica, very special ugly-delicious olives and much more.

For more, visit Verafoods.ie

Seaside nationwide

It's the news seafood loves have been waiting for. The irrepressible Niall Sabongi, of Sustainable Seafood Ireland & Klaw Restaurants, has teamed up with BFF and two Michelin star winning chef, Mickael Viljanen to deliver delicious dishes right to your door, nationwide. All the ingredients are prepped and ready to use. Follow the simple instructions to cook and assemble, and dinner is on the table in no time. Each meal feeds two to four, depending on their appetite, apparently, and includes a dessert. The midweek offering costs €35 and the weekend blow out €69. Order by Monday for delivery Wednesday, and by Wednesday for Friday, and tuck in.

For more, visit sustainableseafood.ie

Drop in for dinner

Anyone who turned to Dropchef to see them through the barren lockdown landscape will totally get why new venture capital fund VentureWave opted to drop a €2 million investment in their tip jar. The Dublin-based company has had customers beating a path to its website, signing up for its terrific meal plans. Opt for its family plan and you'll be whizzing up three great dinners a week for €65, with foolproof (honestly) step-by-step instructions and top-notch ingredients perfectly measured so as to eliminate waste and ensure even those who have to be given directions to the kitchen can't mess it up.

For more, visit Dropchef.com

Good news in hard times

Nice to see a glimmer of light coming from the (at the time of writing) darkened windows of two of Dublin's top restaurants. Fishy favourite Sole Seafood and Grill on South Williams Street has won the Best Luxury Seafood Restaurant in Europe gong for a second year running, while sister restaurant Fire Steakhouse, which is based at the Mansion House, won Global Steakhouse of the Year. The World Luxury Restaurant Awards, which are based in Mauritius, were set up in 2015. The wins are "appreciated all the more in the current climate, giving us an incredible boost for 2020 and renewed energy for 2021", says culinary director of both restaurants, chef Richie Wilson.

For more, visit firesteakhouse.ie

Box clever

Allta, the city centre winebar spot that opened to great acclaim only to be hit by the lockdowns, bounced back fast with the alltaBox, a box of goodies that changes each week but features all sorts of goodies such as handmade sourdough, house charcuterie, freshly prepared pasta and a dessert for you to cook allta-style at home. It costs €75 per week and includes a specially selected bottle of wine to match your meal, delivered nationwide.

For more, visit Alltabox.ie

You dine they donate

Oliver Dunne Restaurants, owner of venues such as Cleaver East and Beef & Lobster in Temple Bar, as well as the Donnybrook Gastropub, to name just a few, has paired up with mental health charity Aware for a You Dine We Donate campaign that will mean it donates a fiver for every booking in December. And if dining isn't allowed by that stage, it will extend it until February.

For more, visit Oliverdunnerestaurants.com

Barry McCall

Barry McCall is a contributor to The Irish Times