Food Writer

For me, food is about storytelling: a story about tradition and skill; history and legacy; community and individuals. So, when I write about food, I write about the farm to fork journey and the people who produce wonderful things for us to eat and drink.

For me, food is about storytelling: a story about tradition and skill; history and legacy; community and individuals. So, when I write about food, I write about the farm to fork journey and the people who produce wonderful things for us to eat and drink.

I started writing about food in 2012 with my recipe blog, The Flavour Files, still alive and kicking today. Soon after, I began writing articles for magazines, newspapers, and online media. In 2017, I was commissioned by A Taste of West Cork Food Festival to write The Artisan Food Guide, a definitive guide to the best West Cork artisan food producers, farmers’ markets and speciality food shops from Bandon to Beara, and described as “a sumptuously illustrated guide written with clarity and passion by Kate Ryan.”

Paul Sherwood Photographer 00 353 87 230 9096 Irish Food Writing Awards 2022, held in Fallon & Byrne, Dublin. October 2022

In 2019, I was invited to become a Member of the Irish Food Writers Guild, alongside myriad prestigious Irish food writers and between 2020 and 2023 held the position of Secretary, and now Treasurer. I am proud to be a food judge for Blas na hEireann and the Irish Quality Food Awards, and I hold a Post Graduate Diploma in Irish Food Culture and a Post Graduate Certificate in Creative Food Writing from University College Cork.

In 2022, my food writing was recognised at the Irish Food Writing Awards, winning in the Food Writing category which was judge by Colman Andrews of Saveur Magazine. This was his citation:

“This was a very tough choice, as the quality of the writing was first-rate across the board and all the subject matter was engaging. If I were still an editor, there wasn’t an entry that I wouldn’t have been happy to publish. In making my final determination, I looked not only for writing style but also for good reporting and for insights into today’s Irish food scene. I got both in spades from Kate Ryan’s pieces, which brought key personalities in the Cork food world alive and placed their food in a societal context without downplaying the personality of the food itself, so I am happy to recommend that she be the recipient of the award.”

Photographer: Joleen Cronin

In 2023, I was named Blas na hEireann Irish Food Producers’ Champion. This award was nominated by producers in the Blas network and is to celebrate those they believe are representing and supporting Irish produce, food makers and growers in an effective and helpful way. Blas founder, Artie Clifford, said:

“Kate’s contribution to the Irish food scene is deeply appreciated, as is her continued support for producers. We have known Kate for many years, as a judge for the awards and as a supporter and friend of Blas, so we understand how passionate she is, and how genuine her dedication is to what she has made her cause. She is incredibly well-regarded in the industry so I know that the extended Blas family will see this award of Producers’ Champion 2023 for Kate as something that is extremely well-deserved.”

In gratefully receiving the award, I join a wonderful panel of past Producers’ Champions like Simon Coveney TD, Neven Maguire, John & Sally McKenna, Shane McArdle, Kai’s Jess Murphy, Darina Allen, Rory O’Connell, Rachel Allen, Brian McDermott and last year’s winners Johnny McDowell & Laura Bradley from Indie Füde.

In November 2023, and an even bigger surprise, came news that I was being honoured with the inaugural Listowel Food Fair Food Writer & Content Creator of the Year 2024 – or Food Storyteller of the Year, for short! Winning an award is one thing, but for it to be the first of its kind and from a festival that is so closely linked with food, writing and writers, was truly an extra special moment for me, and a heartfelt thank you to the Committee of Listowel Food Fair for this recognition and award.

In selecting me for the award, Committee Member and publisher and founder of JM Agency, Publishing & Marketing Consultant, Jeremy Murphy, said in his citation:

The Listowel Food Fair ‘2023 Food Storyteller of the Year Award’ is an inaugural award that has been in development for some time. In creating the Food Storyteller of the Year Award, the Listowel Food Fair committee wanted to celebrate and acknowledge food writers and food content creators who excel in both traditional print, including newspaper columns and books, and new digital media, including social media content and blogging.Storytelling is an ancient craft. It is one of the oldest ways to celebrate and increase our understanding of food. In the modern world, this takes many forms, including in new digital media. What the Listowel Food Fair wanted to achieve with this award was to recognise the achievements of a great writer, who embraces digital technologies while celebrating food through the written word in all its forms.

Listowel Food Fair Chairman, Former Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Jimmy Deenihan said:

“On behalf of the 2023 Listowel Food Fair I would like to extend our warmest congratulations to Food Writer Kate Ryan on receiving the ‘Food Storyteller of the Year Award’ – Food Writer & Content Creator. Kate is a very worthy recipient and she has made her mark on the world of food writing and food journalism in all its current digital and traditional forms.”

I am always writing – whether that’s books, articles, research papers, blog posts, newsletters, essays; even the occasional ghost writing! Here is where you will find published articles, interviews, and podcasts.

Find out a little more about where it all began! I was recently interviewed by Katia Valadeau of for her Women of the Irish Food Industry series, and was a guest on Anna Healy’s Podcast “West Cork Women in Business”

Samples of Writings

Lobster Mac n Cheese

I couldn’t tell you how long I had waited and wanted to make this recipe. Mac n Cheese has seen a boom in popularity that, based on absolutely no fact-based proof at all, feels to me to be a result of the explosion of popularity of BBQ restaurants in Ireland.  It’s not the BBQ restaurants […]

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2017…that was the year that was

I owe this post to Fiona Uyema. This morning, she shared a post on Facebook of a letter written by a 27 year old Australian woman terminally ill with cancer. Not many things make me want to burst out into tears but this one did. Sentiments obviously resonate with people differently at different times. But […]

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Deity to Hag. Women, Butter, Folklore, and the Image of Limited Good

Reference Number: FL6802-115141319 This essay was written for assessment in the Food, Festival and Folklore module of the Postgraduate Diploma in Irish Food Culture. It was submitted on 4th May, 2021. Question: “Irish folklore, legends and popular beliefs often reveal something of the traditional Gaelic society’s relationship with and understanding of the natural world.” Discuss […]

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