The Open Geography Journal


ISSN: 1874-9232 ― Volume 7, 2015

Irish Chefs and Restaurants in the Geography of “Local” Food Value Chains

The Open Geography Journal, 2012, 5: 16-25

Leslie A. Duram, Mary Cawley

Department of Geography & Environmental Resources, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois 62901, USA.

Electronic publication date /5/2012
[DOI: 10.2174/1874923201205010016]


Restaurant chefs and owners have a potentially influential role to play in promoting the use of local foods and supporting producers. Indeed chefs are taste makers, and their conceptualization of local food can influence consumers' perceptions, knowledge and geographical awareness. Yet their role is not well documented in research literature. In-depth interviews were conducted with seven purposively selected chefs in Galway City, Ireland, who are seeking to develop a local cuisine. Menus, websites, and statements of philosophy were also analyzed. Attention focused on the definition of local food, sources of supply, how local food is used in cuisine, and how it is presented on menus. Common themes among restaurants include the geographic stretching of local food to include artisan products, issues of seasonality and variability in supply, and questions about the authenticity of promoting the use of local foods. There are opportunities for building linkages between chefs and local producers, to promote authentic use of locally sourced foods. Recommendations are made for five strategies to build a sustainable local food geography, based on strengthening the farmer- to-chef shortened value chain.

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