The Salt Project’s nomadic Chef, Caomhán de Brí, has announced a compelling new collaboration with Euro-Toques award-winning grower, Kevin Wallace, of New Leaf Urban Farmers in Ballyneety, Co. Limerick. It will see de Brí bring his much-admired plant-focused approach to fine dining to the farm on Friday 5th & Saturday 6th August and hosting two hyper-local long table ‘Salt of the Earth’ Pop-up Dinner Experiences.
Caomhán is a recent graduate of TU Dublin’s new Botanical Cuisine course – the first ‘farm to plate’ culinary degree programme of its kind in Europe – of which highly regarded Irish Chef & Restaurateur, JP McMahon, is a Patron. In line with The Salt Project’s ethos, Caomhán’s five-course fine dining menu will see Wallace’s sought-after produce – the likes of baby carrots, salad leaves, spring onions, Hakurei turnips, and baby leeks – showcased in a series of innovative plant-focused dishes, created to provide guests with a real sense of place to the farm and the surrounding area.
Seasonal ingredients at their peak freshly hand-picked the morning of each Pop-up by Wallace and de Brí will be used in their entirety, barbecued over hot coals on a Hibachi grill and others finished in an Ooni pizza oven, a stone’s throw from where they were grown.
New Leaf Urban Farmers’ naturally grown produce will take centre stage alongside ingredients from a supporting cast comprising some of Co. Limerick’s best artisan producers. Goat’s cheese for the first course comes from Leahy’s family-run Bally Goat Farm in Newcastle West, Co. Limerick. Caroline Rigney’s farm less than 30km away in Stonehall, Co. Limerick will provide Caomhán with rare breed pork belly and dry aged grass-fed beef is being sourced 20 minutes down the road from Croom-based butcher, Pat Barry. Local grower, Colm Smyth (of Irish Gourmet Mushrooms in Herbertstown, Co. Limerick), will be supplying de Brí with his oyster mushrooms, and honey produced and harvested on the adjacent Croker’s Farm in Ballyneety will feature in both the first and final dishes of the night.
On arrival guests will be greeted with a refreshing summer apéritif and given the opportunity to take a pre-dinner tour of the one-acre farm with its Founder and 2021 Food On The Edge Ambassador, Kevin Wallace – the first known vegetable farmer in the country to use Korean Natural Farming methods (without chemicals or pesticides) to grow produce naturally on a commercial scale. Wallace, who set up the farm in 2016, has supplied the likes of Michelin-starred, The Oak Room (Adare Manor, Co. Limerick), Ichigo Ichie (Cork city) and Aniar (Galway city), as well as The East Room at Plassey House (Limerick city) and Lignum in Co. Galway. One of his farm’s polytunnels will then provide the scene for an unforgettable evening with those attending enjoying a hyper-local plant-focused fine dining experience at two long tables, which together will seat up to one hundred diners per night.
The five-course ‘Salt of the Earth’ pop-up dinners will begin with a serving of Caomhán’s Blaisíní (small bites), followed by a first course of Nettle Crisp, Bally Goat Farm Whipped Cheese, Croker’s Farm Honey, and Foraged Thistle Nut. Next up is Kevin’s Baby Carrots BBQ’d, served alongside Pat Barry’s Dry Aged Beef Croquette, Colm’s Smyth’s Oyster Mushroom, Carrot Tops & Crisps. Diners will then enjoy Hibachi Hakurei Turnip, Caroline Rigney’s Rare Breed Pork Belly, Fermented Strawberry, Ballyneety Amaranth, Tom Gaffney’s Potatoes, and a Herb Patch Jus. For dessert, he has created a New Leaf Urban Farmers’ Lemon Verbena Raw Milk Posset, with Croker’s Farm Honey, and a Wildflower Tuile – using flowers picked on the farm. Caomhán will also create dishes that cater for vegans/vegetarians and guests with any special dietary requirements.
Each of the five courses will be matched with a different natural, organic, or biodynamic wine specially selected and served on the night by Dalton Greene (Owner of Rift Coffee & Rifts Larder in Limerick city) and independent Irish craft beers produced by Limerick-based microbrewery, Crew Brewing Co. The polytunnel dining space will be creatively styled with locally grown blooms and wildflowers from the farm by Botanical Florist &
Stylist, Tara Maloney, of White Dove Nurseries in Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick. And, the dinners will be set against a backdrop of live music from local Singer/Songwriter, Stuart Bond, who will perform an acoustic guitar set throughout the course of the evening.
Tickets for the ‘Salt of the Earth’ Pop-up Dinners at New Leaf Urban Farmers in Ballyneety, Co. Limerick on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th August (7pm start time) are priced at €95.00 per person and can be purchased online via Eventbrite. The ticket price includes the five-course dinner plus matching wines and craft beers. Foraged and homemade non-alcoholic drinks options will also be available on the night. The seating capacity for each Pop-up is limited to 100 people per night so you are encouraged to book early to avoid disappointment.
About The Salt Project
Before launching his nomadic food trailer, The Salt Project, in October 20021, Caomhán de Brí, who has a degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management from DIT Cathal Brugha Street, spent five years working as a Head Development Chef for ISS Ireland – specialising in high-end corporate catering and private dining.
He is also able to call on experience gained working as a Chef de Partie for a year in Gordon Ramsay’s one Michelin star restaurant, Maze, in London under the tutelage of Chef, Tristan Farmer.
With The Salt Project food trailer, Kildare-based Chef, de Brí, has taken a fresh new approach to street food. Traveling from coast-to-coast over recent months he’s popped up in scenic locations and food festivals all over the country offering an Irish-inspired plant-focused street food dining experience not seen on these shores before.
The Salt Project, of which the food trailer is the first of several elements to launch, is something that Caomhán has devoted endless hours to in recent years in order to turn his vision into reality. Keen to perfect his craft and ensure that his offering was the best that it possibly can be, Caomhán spent a number of months working alongside TV Chef Kwanghi Chan – helping him successfully launch and operate his popular Asian street food truck, Bites By Kwanghi.
Having grown up with a huge appreciation and respect for food, passed down to him by his parents, Caomhán’s menus have always had a strong focus on food provenance. This will act as a real point of difference in his ever-evolving offering. His long-term goal is for The Salt Project to be as self-sufficient as possible, negating the need for over reliance on large suppliers. The groundwork was laid in the winter of 2020 that will enable Caomhán to utilise two-acre plots in Co. Sligo and Co. Roscommon to establish his own organically focused food growing system. Working in tandem with nature, long-term this will provide the food trailer with a variety of homegrown seasonal ingredients throughout the year.
The flexibility that operating from a mobile food trailer gives Caomhán means that not only can he cook with the seasons, but he can also create Irish-inspired street food dishes that have a real sense of place to the locations that he’ll be pitching up in. Visitors to The Salt Project can expect an offering that consists of a series of Blaisíní (small bites) dishes that have been specially designed to showcase locally grown and artisan ingredients from small scale producers specific to each region.