Potato producers in Northern Ireland have recruited Great British Menu contestant Mark Abbott to help grow sales through the industry’s Mighty Spud campaign.
The initiative, launched last year to encourage more consumers to buy and cook potatoes, is led by the Northern Ireland Potato Promotion Group, which represents the local industry.
Born in Antrim in Northern Ireland, Abbott showed his love for potatoes when he was awarded maximum marks during an appearance on the BBC2 cookery show for creating 14 potato dishes, using six different varieties. These included pomme soufflé, champ croquette, buttermilk mash, and purple potato salad.
The chef said: “The Mighty Spud is a great example of an innovative industry campaign which supports growth, awareness and a continued contribution to Northern Ireland’s agri-food industry.”
Abbott, who is head chef at the two Michelin star Midsummer House in Cambridge, will be presenting his creations at a special event hosted by award-winning chef Michael Deane in his Michelin star restaurant in Belfast.
“I was delighted when the group approached me to take part in this fantastic event and can’t wait to be back in a Northern Ireland kitchen using, in my opinion, one of the best ingredients in the world,” Abbott said.
Ivor Ferguson, deputy president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union, which is at the forefront of the campaign, added: “We are delighted one of Northern Ireland’s top chefs is supporting the Mighty Spud campaign through this unique event.
“The potato is part of our culture and who we are, inextricably linked to Northern Ireland's story. The industry forms an integral part of our food and drink sector and continues to make an important contribution to the regional economy.
“The Northern Ireland Stakeholder Potato Promotion Group has worked tirelessly over the past three years to raise awareness of the humble spud’s enormous potential within the world of modern cooking, and Mark is a fitting ambassador.”
The Mighty Spud event in Belfast is part of a programme of activities being held to increase awareness of local potatoes.