Writing Workshop and Food Tour

Food With a Story to Tell...

A Food Writing Workshop and Food Tour in West Cork, Ireland

Food With a Story to Tell…

A Food Writing Workshop and Food Tour in West Cork, Ireland

with Dianne Jacob and Kate Ryan

8th – 11th October 2020
The Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarbery, West Cork, Republic of Ireland

Early Bird €1300 (available until 31st March 2020)

Standard Price €1500

The view from above… Warren Strand viewed from the Cliff Walk and just across from our Workshop Venue…

Food with a Story to Tell is a four-day writing workshop and food tour in the bread basket of Ireland, West Cork. Home to 70% of Ireland’s artisan food producers, West Cork is on the south-westerly edge of Ireland on the Wild Atlantic Way. It is a fertile and creative space where pioneers of food culture have created some of the most revered produce in Ireland and on the global stage.

Workshop Session at a previous Dianne Jacob event in France

An intimate grouping of food writers, from all backgrounds and different stages of their writing life, will be immersed in a workshop and food tour over four days packed with culinary inspirations. Our days will combine guided writing sessions by award-winning food writer Dianne Jacob with tours and meals organized by food writer and tour guide Kate Ryan. We will visit local artisan food producers, dine on sumptuous gourmet lunches and dinners, and take time to enjoy the glorious scenery and beaches of this coastal community.

The tastes, sights and stories of the food we will connect with, the landscape surrounding us and the tales from the people we meet will be channelled into our writing. The goal is to discover or develop your writing voice through food, as storytellers.

Our Food Writing Workshop takes place over four days. As well as workshops, there will be excursions, lunches and dinners each day and also free time to enjoy the local area, or simply to write using what you have learned and experienced.

Non-writing guests are welcome to join us on all outings and meals. Not included for guests are the writing sections and private consultations.

About the Workshop and Food Tour

Our Workshop Space at the Celtic Ross Hotel

Inspired by beautiful views from our writing space of Warren Strand beach and the Atlantic Ocean, we will explore the importance of storytelling in food writing through instruction and workshopping. We selected the excursions, chefs and food producers not just for the quality of food they produce, but also because of their rich story. There are lineages stretching back generations; stories of a different life before the pursuit of creating the perfect cheese or organic vegetables; and seasonal plates to eat, layered with flavour and texture.

Through these experiences, the workshops will guide you on how to find your authentic writing voice through personal essay and first person writing; and develop the importance of story in food writing.

Our group will be small, so there will be lots of time to write, talk, explore and gain insights from your instructors as well as the other members of the group. Our time together, whether around the workshop table or the dinner table, provides an opportunity to share stories, engage your senses to absorb the atmosphere and environment, and consider how those experiences shape what and how you write and how to convey your message.

This event includes a private half-hour consultation with each instructor, providing a one-on-one opportunity to discuss your writing and career goals. At the end, you will leave the writing retreat with improved writing skills, a better understanding of the importance of story in food and how to use it, and practical, inspiring advice on pursuing your own writing projects.

About West Cork

Crashing Waves at Owenahincha

Ireland is well known as a nation of story tellers. In Irish folklore they are known as Seannachaí, and they revel in stories filled with humour and humility – from the grandiose notions of one, to the humble appreciations of life’s daily gifts by another. There is a world of stories to tell and be told as well as space for new ones too.

West Cork is the beating heart of small scale food production in Ireland. Time-honoured traditions and the legacy of ages produce some of the finest food and drink in the world. The BBC has called it the “food capital of Ireland,” and the Irish Times named the area the “top foodie destination” in the country. In 2017, West Cork was named the Restaurants Association of Ireland’s No. 1 Foodie Destination.

We will visit a selection of these producers and taste food made on their land. We will dine in a Michelin-starred restaurant, and sample expertly-crafted plates of food from chefs who work with the seasons and know the people who grow and make their food by first names.

From sweeping ocean vistas atop rocky cliffs, crystalline seas, and plains of pastureland so vibrant and verdant they seem to glow, West Cork is crafted by the weather. It is warmed by the sun, drenched by the rain and sculpted by the wind. The unending pounding of the Atlantic Ocean beats against its coastline and shapes it. It has the most bounteous seas in all of Europe. You might think you know Ireland, but West Cork is indeed a place apart.

What’s Included

In addition to the writing workshops and private consultations, we include:

  • A private dinner on our first evening, complete with drinks pairings
  • A visit to a nearby dairy farm, with an orchard and bee hives, where we will enjoy lunch made with produce from the farm;
  • Dinner in a local restaurant that regularly wins plaudits for its hyper-local food ethos and minimal waste;
  • A visit to one of the greatest of all Irish food producers for an exclusive tour of its award-winning cheese and charcuterie production, organic vegetables, drinks and world-renowned knife-making, (acclaimed Argentinian chef Francis Mallman cited these as the best knives in the world!), with smorgasbord lunch;
  • Dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurant where Head Chef Rob Krawczyk takes us on a seasonal culinary journey with a multiple-course tasting menu designed around nature.

Not included: Accommodation and any personal travel costs.

What’s Different About Our Workshop?

The instructors: Dianne Jacob is an award-winning Food Writer based in California. She is the author of “Will Write for Food,” the seminal book for any aspiring food writer, and teaches food writing around the world. Local food tour guide, Kate Ryan is the founder of Flavour.ie, and is a West Cork-based food writer and member of the Irish Food Writers Guild who writes food stories about the region.

The format: You are not trapped in an airless hotel room for four days. There are short bursts of writing and instruction between tours of artisan producers and excellent local meals.

The food: Food writers engage with their senses more than any other kind of writer. We are already formulating our writing before we pick up a pen or sit in front of a screen – our sense of smell or taste trigger the emotion, memory or story which we will later go on and construct.

For these reasons, we chose West Cork as a food lover’s destination. And it’s why we selected the most accomplished food producers and restauranteurs of the region. You will dine well at lunch and dinner. If staying in the retreat hotel, you can expect a robust breakfast of local meats and cheeses, comforting bowls of warming Irish oatmeal and locally smoked fish. Not forgetting, of course, a good aul Irish Traditional Cooked Breakfast of local bacon, sausages, black and white pudding with all the trimmings!

You can bring a friend: At most writing workshops, instructors expect you to come alone. But here you can focus on your writing and bring your partner, a friend or a family member. Past students of Dianne’s workshops have brought spouses, mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends who are travel partners. For a reduced fee, guests attend all meals and outings, which take place every day. While you are writing or in a class, they can find their own adventure or just walk on the beach or hang in the hotel with a good book.

The Instructors

Dianne Jacob

Dianne Jacob is the author of the multiple award-winning book Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Memoir, Recipes, and More (Da Capo/Lifelong Books). She is also the co-author of two cookbooks with Chef Craig Priebe: the national award-winning The United States of Pizza (Rizzoli, 2015) and Grilled Pizzas & Piadinas (DK Publishing, 2008).

As a freelance writer, she has written for Lucky Peach, The Washington Post, and Gastronomica. Her 2016 essay “The Meaning of Mangoes,” was the grand prize winner of the M.F.K. Fisher Awards for Excellence in Culinary Writing from Les Dames Escoffier International. It also won Best Essay from the Association of Food Journalists, and was included in Best Food Writing 2016.

A former journalist and publishing company editor-in-chief, Dianne is a full-time writing coach, author, and freelance editor. Her well-known blog Will Write for Food is aimed at writers and covers trends, issues, and techniques. Dianne has spoken and taught at events and workshops around the world for more than a decade, including in London, Dubai, Vancouver, Turkey, France and Australia.

Kate Ryan, Flavour.ie

Kate Ryan is a freelance food writer based in West Cork, Ireland. Originally from Bristol in the UK, Kate grew up in a family growing their own food, cooking from scratch and making the most of seasonal gluts. She studied Law at Bristol University, but kept returning to her dual passions of food and writing until, in 2014, Kate established Flavour.ie as a way to share her food experiences in West Cork.

In 2017, Kate was commissioned to write The Artisan Food Guide to West Cork as a resource for others to connect with food producers in the region and re-establishing close connections between grower and eater.

In 2019, Kate was invited to become a Member of the prestigious Irish Food Writers Guild.

As well as writing for a number of Irish publications, both online and print media, Kate also curates experiential food events and tours that are fully immersive bringing people together over great local food.

What Students Say about Past Workshops and Tours

Dianne with her writing group and co-leader Jamie Schler. Chinon, France, December 2018

Dianne Jacob

“Dianne Jacob shared her extensive experience writing about food during a well-balanced blend of talks, writing exercises and food themed excursions. Expert tips on writing, editing, pitching and publishing were sprinkled throughout the experience. She more than delivered on her promise to inform, advise and encourage us as writers, including in one-to-one consults and to introduce us to exceptional regional foods and wines.” – Marian Dodds, Canada

Come ready to push your thinking, reflection and writing in a beautiful and highly stimulating environment that encourages experimentation and new growth.” – Ann Wilson, Canada

“I most appreciated that it was not hours of just sitting in a chair! The diversity of activities kept it interesting. I left feeling most enlightened.” – Belinda Sullivan, USA

Kate Ryan

“Kate delivers so much more than a food tour. She has interesting histories about each food producer, and not just sound bites that can be pulled from a guide book! At each stop, I learned something new and memorable. Highly recommended.” – Lisa Dowling, USA

“Kate is very knowledgeable about the delicacies of West Cork. She has an excellent rapport with the producers we visited, demonstrated by the warm reception we received on arrival to each location we visited. I have no hesitation in recommending her.” – Mark Fitzpatrick, Ireland

“The Clonakilty Walking Food Tour has grown to become one of West Cork’s flagship tourism events. It is an excellent overview of the rich local food culture.” – Joe McNamee, Food Writer, Irish Examiner

Our Location

Rosscarbery in West Cork is located 60 kms west of Cork Airport – just over an hours’ drive. This is the local regional airport, and the one we recommend to fly into for participants outside of Ireland.

Dublin Airport is approximately 4 hours’ drive, and Shannon Airport is just under 3 hours’ drive.

Cork City is well connected to both Dublin and Shannon by train, bus and coach services. There are scant regional bus services connecting Cork City to Rosscarbery. Journey time is just over an hour, followed by a short walk from the bus stop to the hotel.

A taxi from Cork Airport to Rosscarbery takes about an hour, and will cost upwards of €75. Please check and fix the price with the driver before starting off your journey. If at all possible, pre-book your driver ahead of your arrival for the best rates. Note that not all taxi drivers have the facility to pay with a credit card. It is not compulsory to tip taxi drivers.

Uber doesn’t operate in Ireland, but you can download the FREE NOW App and set up an account to hire registered and insured taxi drivers.

A typical West Cork Cow-Jam!

However, if you really would like to see the area and get around with ease, rent a car from the airport and take your time to drive to Rosscarbery. Budget 1½ hours for a gentle drive, allowing for traffic or one of our famous “Cow Jams” as farmers ferry their cattle across the road from field to dairy.

Once in Rosscarbery, your location at the Celtic Ross Hotel gives you easy access to West Cork’s market towns and villages and coastal driving routes with its beaches, hidden coves and stunning mountain passes.

Adjacent to the hotel is The Lagoon Activity Centre, where you can try your hand at Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP). Across the hotel on the dunes is a Pitch and Putt Golf Course, or simply enjoy the beauty of Warren Strand (beach), where you can take an invigorating sea swim, hang a line off the pier to catch seabass or mackerel, or ascend the cliff walk and take in the majestic view of rolling fields, the ocean and golden sandy beach from on high.

The Celtic Ross Hotel – our workshop venue

The Celtic Ross is a modern, friendly family-run hotel offering the best in Irish hospitality in comfortable surroundings. There’s an indoor pool with bubble pool (hot tub), steam room and sauna. An onsite leisure centre is free for hotel guests and includes a regular programme of classes, should you wish to keep on top of your fitness regime. Always happy to help, they are great ambassadors for West Cork too, and any need you have will be met without hesitation. 


If you’d like to stay in the host hotel during the Food Writing Workshop and Tour, we’ve negotiated a special room rate for you. It must be booked direct with the hotel. We will provide details once we receive your Food Writing Workshop Deposit. 

You’ll find that many of the spacious rooms feature an ocean view. They are furnished for your comfort and enjoyment, and flooded with natural light. The fee includes free WiFi, in-room tea and coffee, a television, hairdryer and complimentary bathroom toiletries. Breakfast is included in the fee. Room service is available during restaurant hours – just in case you need something to tie you over until our next delicious meal!

If you wish to share, twin rooms are also available.



“Food with a Story to Tell” Food Writing Workshop and Food Tour includes all workshop sessions with food writing instruction, 2 personal consultations, 2 lunches, 3 dinners (one in a Michelin-starred restaurant), a selection of drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) served with meals, 2 excursions and round-trip transportation to those excursions.

Not included: Accommodation and any personal travel costs.

Reserve early and get our Early Bird offer of €1300 per person up to 31st March, 2020. The Early Bird Offer applies for payment in full at the time of your reservation only.

If booking after March, 2020, the price increases to €1500 per person with the following payment options available:

  • One time in-full payment of €1500, OR
  • Payment in two equal installments: €750 upon booking, €750 due one month later.

All monies must be fully paid by 8th August, 2020.

Non-writing partners, family members or friends can join us for all meals and outings. Not included are the writing sections and private consultations. The cost is €750 each.

Let’s Get Booking!

Only 15 workshop places are available, so sign up today to secure your spot!

Additional Notes

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations will be refunded except for a service fee of €150 until 7th August 2020.

If you need to cancel between 8th August and 31st August, you will receive a 50% refund. There will be no refunds from 1st September 2020.

If “Food with a Story to Tell” Food Writing Retreat is cancelled by the organisers, all workshop fees paid will be refunded.

Travel Planning

Please do not make any non-refundable travel arrangements before 8th August when we will be able to confirm that Food with a Story to Tell Food Writing Workshop and Food Tour will be going ahead.

We would strongly advise you to take out comprehensive Travel Insurance in the event that the Food Writing Workshop and Food Tour is cancelled after this date due to unforeseeable circumstances. This will also protect you and your belongings during transit and throughout your stay in Ireland.

If you have a question this page doesn’t answer, email co-host Kate Ryan at kate@flavour.ie.

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