Internationally renowned Irish Chef Darina Allen announced as ‘Guaranteed Irish Food Hero’

  • Guaranteed Irish Heroes initiative champions exceptional Irish individuals demonstrating a commitment to creating a better Ireland in their respective sectors


  • First ever Guaranteed Irish Month taking place throughout March to showcase Ireland’s exceptional reputation as a great place to do business

Darina Allen, the internationally renowned chef and co-founder of the Ballymaloe Cookery School, has been announced as the ‘Guaranteed Irish Food Hero’. A tireless ambassador for Irish food at home and abroad, Darina has received the accolade for her significant contribution to the food industry in Ireland. The tribute is bestowed by Guaranteed Irish, the not-for-profit business membership organisation championing homegrown and international businesses operating in Ireland.

Darina Allen now joins an elite list of Guaranteed Irish Heroes, each awarded the honour over the past 12 months for their various contributions to their respective sectors. Artist Maser, former Women’s Rugby Captain, Niamh Briggs and Professor Louise Kenny were named Guaranteed Irish Heroes for art, sport and science respectively.

Speaking about her appointment, Guaranteed Irish Food Hero Darina Allen said: “I’m overjoyed to be announced as the Guaranteed Irish Food Hero. I have always been convinced of the superb quality produce that we can produce here in Ireland and I would encourage anyone who comes within earshot of Guaranteed Irish to support their local farmers and food producers, and serve Irish food proudly, just as we have been happy to do here at Ballymaloe and the cookery school for generations.”

Having founded the Ballymaloe Cookery School with her brother in 1983, Darina Allen is one of Ireland’s best-known ambassadors for food and has helped establish Ireland as a leading location for first class food. In 2013 Darina helped launch the Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine, attracting a stellar line up of top international chefs and writers to Ireland. 

The announcement comes as we enter the month of March, which has been designated the inaugural Guaranteed Irish Month to celebrate the membership of the organisation and showcase Ireland’s exceptional international reputation as a great place to work and do business. A range of activities are planned for the month-long initiative including a ‘Meet Guaranteed Irish’ event in Dublin on 27 March which will offer members the opportunity to exhibit their businesses and network with other members. Guests, including political representatives, will be invited to learn first-hand the contribution Guaranteed Irish members make to the Irish economy.

Turnover generated in Ireland by over 300 Irish companies which are members of Guaranteed Irish has now reached €11bn. Globally, these companies generate a turnover of €25.84bn. In Ireland, these companies directly employ 49,873 people, with 46% currently exporting, primarily to the UK, US and mainland Europe.

Brid O’Connell CEO of Guaranteed Irish said: “We are delighted to announce that legendary Irish chef Darina Allen is our Guaranteed Irish ‘Food Hero’. The calibre of individuals already credited with Guaranteed Irish Hero status is bolstered by Darina and her incredible contribution to the Irish food sector at a national and international level.  

With exports of Irish foods achieving record levels in 2017 and reaching over 180 markets worldwide, it’s important to recognise individuals responsible for helping establish Ireland as a world leader of food products and expertise. Darina’s stellar work in this field has contributed greatly to establishing a youthful generation of new foodies and cooks as well as securing Ireland’s status as a world leader within the food industry. There were many excellent nominations for the Food Hero award, but Darina’s contribution to the food sector is unparalleled.”  

Membership of the Guaranteed Irish organisation spans all sectors including pharmaceutical; healthcare; technology; construction; energy; professional services; manufacturing; tourism; food and drink; craft and design; retail; lifestyle; and more. Members include KPMG, FBD, Dairygold, MSD, Matheson, Ervia, Dublin Port Company, Irish Cement, Roadstone, Tegral Building Products, Foxford Woollen Mills, Rathborne Candles, Ballymaloe Foods, Manor House Hotels, Kingspan, Bord na Mona and Brennan’s Bread. The organisation considers three core criteria when assessing an applicant for membership – jobs, community and provenance.


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