Sushi with an Armagh twist, a masterclass in Mediterranean cooking and a retox brunch with jazz – it takes a versatile chef to mastermind such a diverse range of foodie events. Just as well John Whyte, head chef at the Armagh City Hotel, has versatility in his DNA.
Voted ‘Hotel Chef of the Year’ at the 2019 Institute of Hospitality John will be putting a local stamp on the sushi masterclass using superb locally grown wasabi (Japanese horseradish used in the paste that accompanies sushi), local fish, such as smoked Lough Neagh eel and pollan, and Northern Irish Dulse (seaweed) mixed with Japanese Nori seaweed. Long Meadow Apple Cider Vinegar will be used with rice wine vinegar to prepare the sushi rice.
On the Saturday Armagh goes Italian as John hosts a three-hour Mediterranean masterclass, making pastas and raviolis and barbecuing marinated steaks. A classic Italian tiramisu will complete the meal; all cooked on barbecues on the balcony and cookery school stations in the adjoining Friary Restaurant.
For John, a long-time member of the Food Heartland, as well as Taste of Ulster, the superb local produce is a cornerstone of all the menus he prepares at the Hotel. “When I am training the young chefs just out of college I want them to put a face to the people who supply us with this fabulous food,” he says. “The visitors from overseas who stay with us want to taste local culture, not the food they are used to at home, so I try to instil in my chefs how important it is we use our fantastic local produce and how proud they should be of it.”