Winners of 2016 Mighty Spud Awards announced

(L-R): Ivor Ferguson, UFU Deputy President and Chef Paula McIntyre are pictured alongside the four winners of the 2016 Mighty Spud Awards. Angela Morton from Mortons, Ballycastle won Mightiest Chip in Northern Ireland, Simon Dougan, The Yellow Door, Portadown is honoured with serving the Mightiest Innovative Potato dish in the province, Adam Harding, Chef at The Hillside Bistro, Hillsborough won Mightiest Mash and Jenny Curran from Tony and Jen's, Belfast picked up the accolade for Mightiest Healthy Potato Dish
(L-R): Ivor Ferguson, UFU Deputy President and Chef Paula McIntyre are pictured alongside the four winners of the 2016 Mighty Spud Awards. Angela Morton from Mortons, Ballycastle won Mightiest Chip in Northern Ireland, Simon Dougan, The Yellow Door, Portadown is honoured with serving the Mightiest Innovative Potato dish in the province, Adam Harding, Chef at The Hillside Bistro, Hillsborough won Mightiest Mash and Jenny Curran from Tony and Jen's, Belfast picked up the accolade for Mightiest Healthy Potato Dish

This year the Mighty Spud Awards recognised Northern Ireland’s top potato dishes.

The popular competition attracted hundreds of entries from across the province.

After a tough few days of short listing the judges crowned winners in each of the four competition categories: The Mightiest Chip in Northern Ireland was awarded to Mortons, Ballycastle who were a standout in the category, The Hillside Bistro, Hillsborough won Mightiest Mash, Tony and Jen’s, Belfast picked up the accolade for Mightiest Healthy Potato Dish and The Yellow Door, Portadown is honoured with serving the Mightiest Innovative Potato dish in the province.

Launched in January, the public were called upon to nominate restaurants, takeaways and pubs in Northern Ireland that should be recognised for their culinary expertise when it comes to the ‘spud’. The entries were shortlisted by a judging panel made up of Chef Paula McIntyre, Michele Shirlow (Food NI), Michael McKillop (Glen’s of Antrim Potatoes) and Angus Wilson (Wilson’s Country Potatoes) who then visited venues across Northern Ireland for a week of tasting before selecting the winners.

Head Judge and Chef Paula McIntyre said of the awards and the winners for 2016: “Firstly I would like to congratulate the four winners for their award winning creations. Personally I am a huge fan of the potato - for me it is one of life’s simple pleasures. But it was amazing to see the innovation and energy that the finalists brought to the table and how the winners transformed the humble spud into four very different, but equally, mighty tasting potato dishes.

“It wasn’t an easy job shortlisting the hundreds of nominations entered and we had some really tough decisions to make. One thing is for sure - people in Northern Ireland are passionate about the potato,” continued Paula.

Commenting on the awards, Ivor Ferguson, UFU Deputy President and chair of the NI Stakeholder Potato Promotion Group, said: “We are totally overwhelmed by the positive response from people across Northern Ireland to the Mighty Spud movement. The awards are part of an ongoing campaign to support the Northern Ireland potato industry, and what better way to do that than showcase the culinary talent that exists in Northern Ireland. The spud is more than just a bit on the side – each of the winning dishes are mighty in their own right.

“Too often we forget about the nutritious value of simple local foods such as the potato. It is hoped the Mighty Spud Awards will raise the profile of the potato, highlight the endless ways it can be cooked and re-establish its position as a mealtime must-have. After this year’s success we’re already excited about what next year will bring,” said Mr Ferguson.

Visit www.themightyspud.com to learn more about the winning venues, their award worthy dishes and The Mighty Spud campaign. Join the conversation on Twitter @MightyNotHumble