Bord Bia announces Belleek Castle as Just Ask! Restaurant of the Year 2014


Consumers rate value and great service as key factors when eating out
Bord Bia launches Just Ask 2014 and urges diners to look for food origin information

Thursday 23rd January, 2014: Bord Bia has today named Belleek Castle in Ballina, Co. Mayo as the Just Ask Restaurant of the Year 2014. The announcement was made at the launch of Bord Bia’s Just Ask 2014 campaign, which encourages diners around the country to look out for information on where the food on their plate comes from and urges restaurants to provide such information on menus.

Recent research from Bord Bia* shows that when it comes to dining out, consumers rate value for money and efficient service as the key factors when choosing a venue. Another priority for Irish diners is the importance of supporting the local economy. The availability of local produce on the menu featured in the top three influencing factors when selecting a restaurant, pub or hotel.

Speaking about his sourcing policy, Belleek Castle’s Head Chef Stephen Lenahan said “Our philosophy is to use local, seasonal ingredients from our land, sea and air which wouldn’t be possible without our fantastic local producers and suppliers. Winning the monthly Just Ask award back in March 2013 has really made a difference – our restaurant is busier and our customers are interested in talking with us about our sourcing and suppliers. We’re absolutely thrilled to have been chosen as the overall winner for 2014 and we appreciate how lucky we are to have such a wealth of high quality produce on our doorstep.”

Dry-aged in-house, the restaurant’s beef is sourced from local farmers and supplied by Michael Mc Hale in Castlebar and Michael Carr in Ballina who also supply Belleek Castle with lamb, pork, bacon and chicken. Game is supplied by Pat White in Claremorris and Wild Irish Game in Co. Wicklow. Most of the fish is sourced from Joe Garvin of Ballina and gravlax is produced in-house. Paddy Ward in Co. Donegal supplies fresh crab while mussels are picked by Padraig Gannon in Achill Island. Vegetables and organic herbs are supplied by Enniscoe House in Crossmolina and Alfred Devers from Ballina and seasonal produce grown in a polytunnel on the castle grounds is also used.

First launched by Bord Bia in 2009, support of the Just Ask campaign has grown significantly among the restaurant trade in recent years. It acknowledges eateries around the county that display a commitment to transparency with regard to the sourcing of ingredients they use.

Speaking about the launch of the Just Ask 2014 campaign, Maureen Gahan of Bord Bia said, “I’m delighted that we’re in a position to recognise Belleek Castle for the effort that they have put into working with and sourcing from local suppliers. The development of their polytunnel on the grounds of the castle is just one example of the commitment by Stephen and his team to the philosophy behind the Just Ask campaign. Not only can diners enjoy the freshest food but they can also play their part in supporting the local economy. It’s very encouraging to see the rise in support for the Just Ask campaign over the past 5 years.”
For further information on previous Just Ask winners, visit

For further information:
Anna Kavanagh, FTI Consulting (01) 66 33 615 / 087 0900 259
Aoife Kelly, FTI Consulting (01) 66 33 630 / 087 4101 818

Notes to the editor:
* The Foodservice Channel Insights Report was carried out on behalf of Bord Bia by MINTEL. Included in the report is a bespoke consumer survey undertaken to ascertain frequency, spend and motivating factors by foodservice channels. The nationally representative online survey was completed with a total of 1,010 RoI and 412 NI consumers aged 18+ during September 2013. Full details of the Channel Insights Report and the Irish Foodservice market Directory are available on request by contacting

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