Rugby star Tommy Bowe helping to find the country’s top carvery

Irish and Ulster rugby star Tommy Bowe launches the Great Carvery of the Year competition with Business Development Chef and head of the judging panel Mark McCarthy from Unilever Food SolutionsDirector.
Polish off your carvery knifes – the Great Carvery of the Year competition is back! Now entering its fourth year, the all-island competition is firmly established as the premier carvery competition on Ireland and Northern Ireland’s culinary calendar.

Polish off your carvery knifes – the Great Carvery of the Year competition is back! Now entering its fourth year, the all-island competition is firmly established as the premier carvery competition on Ireland and Northern Ireland’s culinary calendar.

Lining out with the Great Carvery team again this year is Ireland and Ulster rugby star Tommy Bowe, who, as competition ambassador, is calling on pubs and hotels across the country to fire up their carvery units in a bid to be crowned Ireland’s Great Carvery Public House of the Year and Great Carvery Hotel of the Year.

Speaking at the launch of this year’s competition, Tommy Bowe said: “Last year’s competition was really great fun. I was blown away by the response from pubs and hotels across the country, and was even more impressed by the calibre of venues that made it through to last year’s Grand Final.

“Looking forward to this year’s competition, I’m excited to see how the pubs and hotels in Ireland and Northern Ireland will raise the bar again. Last year’s winners – the Elm Tree in Cork and Harvery’s Point in Donegal – have set an exceptionally high standard, but, looking at the number the quality venues in all 32 counties, I’m confident that we’re going to have some serious competition served up.”

Each year, the Great Carvery of the Year competition acknowledges Ireland and Northern Ireland’s love of carvery, recognising the very best pub and hotel carveries that the island has to offer. Looking forward to this year’s competition is Mark McCarthy from Unilever Food Solutions, who will lead the judging panel for the third year running.

“Great Carvery is a really special competition,” he explains, “and, judging by the response we get year on year, it is clear that carvery is something that remains close to the hearts of the nation. At Unilever Food Solutions, we know that times are tough for a lot of pubs and hotels because of the difficult economic climate, but we strongly feel that carvery is something truly unique to Ireland and that we should be showcasing it as one of the Irish foodservice industry’s unique selling points.

“The aim of this competition is to recognise and awknowledge the very best that Irish, and Northern Irish, pubs and hotels have to offer. For me, a great carvery meal is about more than just the quality of the food served. It is about atmosphere, value-for-money and top-drawer customer service and attention. I can’t wait to see – and sample – what the 2013 competition serves up!”

Launched in 2010 by Unilever Food Solutions Ireland, Great Carvery of the Year is an all-island search for Ireland’s best pub and hotel carvery. Due to a hugely successful first year, the competition was expanded to create two seperate categories of winner in 2011: the Great Carvery Pub of the Year and Best Hotel Carvery of the Year. Last year was the biggest year yet, however, as the competition was extended to include Northern Ireland for the first time. An online public vote was also introduced from which a top three shortlist of Best Hotel Carvery and Best Pub Carvery from each region – Munster, Leinster, Connacht and Ulster – was determined.

Due to the success of last year’s online public vote, this year it has been decided to introduce a text vote alongside the online campaign.

“The Irish and Northern Irish public really got behind the competition last year,” continues Mark McCarthy of Unilever Food Solutions, “which is why we decided to introduce an additional way to vote this year. At the end of the day, the competition is about finding the very best carvery on the island, and we couldn’t do this without the support of the public.”

Once the public has chosen its regional shortlist, Mark McCarthy and a team of mystery shoppers will have the unenviable task of whittling these venues down to just eight regional winners. This will involve mystery visits to venues across the country before the eventual Great Carvery Public House of the Year and Great Carvery Hotel of the Year, along with the regional winners, will be unveiled at the Great Carvery of the Year Grand Final this September.

The overall winning venues will each receive PR to the value of €2,500 and marketing support also valued at €2,500 for each venue. The winners’ prize also includes a specially commissioned wall plaque and commemorative chalkboard to remind customers that they are about to sit down and enjoy the best carvery in Ireland.

The registration deadline for Great Carvery of the Year 2013 is Sunday, 26th May 2013 after which voting will be opened to the public. This year, the public can vote via text message or through the Great Carvery website – www.greatcarvery.com. The regional winners and overall Great Carvery Pub of the Year and Great Carvery Hotel of the Year will be announced at the Great Carvery of the Year Grand Final in Dublin in September 2013.

For registration details and more visit www.greatcarvery.com.