Meet the Commish (091, Nov 2014)

Did you know that Dublin now has a commissioner for start ups? Her name is Niamh Bushnell and her gig is to sell the city as the place to be to start, develop and grow tech and innovative businesses.

Dublin's new commissioner for start-ups Niamh Bushnell

Dublin’s new commissioner for start-ups Niamh Bushnell

So, how she’s going to do this? What exactly does Dublin have to offer domestic and foreign start ups that they won’t get anywhere else? Is it all about tax and jobs and allowing Enda and the suits press shiny buttons and make big announcements? What’s the real effect on the city’s rep as a start up hub of gatherings like the Web Summit? Has the Commish got pots of cash to offer the would-bes, newbies and tyros?

Join us for the very first Banter Uptown at the lovely MVP pub (29 Upper Clanbrassil Street) on Tuesday November 4 as we hear from the commissioner about her plans and aims. Doors open 6pm, the Bantering starts at 6.30pm, admission is free and you can book tickets here.

We’ll be doing more Banter Uptown events at the MVP in the coming weeks and months so stay tuned for that.

Banter at Savour Kilkenny (090, Oct 2014)

The Banter bandwagon is hitting the road again this month and the Marble City is where we’re going. Savour Kilkenny is now in its eighth year and will be providing cooking demonstrations from chefs like Rory O’ConnellBrian McDermott and Kevin Dundon, tastings, fine dining events and various other sideshows (we like the sound of the Spud & Hurl race) in the city from October 24 to 27.

SAVOUR LOGO

We’re hosting four panels over the weekend, all in the National Craft Gallery where we hosted a Banter session about Irish fashion at last year’s Arts Festival. You’ll find a bunch of food writers and commentators talking and musing about a whole range of topics.

Saturday October 25

Writing about Food (12.30pm)

Being able to put together a great recipe is one thing, writing it in a way which makes the reader want to reach for their spices and larder staples is quite another. While we all can’t be Nigel Slater, there is a definite upswing for people who can combine good writing with great food. An A to Z guide from Dee Laffan and Catherine Cleary about what it takes to turn a great dish into a great read.

What will we be eating this time next year? (2.30pm)

Description: A decade ago, you’d have been hard pressed to find ripe avocados or padron peppers in the aisles of your local supermarket. Go back even further in time and the list of foods which we now take for granted would be completely absent from the weekly shop. Chalk it down to more sophisticated palattes and widespread travel and the influence of such foodies as Yotam Ottolenghi and Thomasina Myers, but we’re far more savvy eaters in 2014. As we reach peak burrito time, we ask Yvonne CartyAoife Ryan and Marie Claire Digby to tell us what comes next for our palattes.

SAVOUR BANNER

Sunday October 26

War Stories from the Kitchen (12.30pm)

Are the people who start cafes and restaurants mad, driven, crazy, otherwise unemployable or all of the above? Meet some of the people who’ve already gone through all of those sleepless nights, stressful months and successful times to find out what drove them to open their doors to the public – and the restaurant reviewers who reveal what attracts them to a restaurant, what they like and what they dislike. The panel: Denise McBrien (Pichet, Dublin), John Healy (RTE The Restaurant), Paul O’Connor and Blathnaid Bergin (School of Restaurant & Kitchen Management).

What’s on your plate? (2.30pm)

It’s a question which more and more people are asking as issues of food miles, provenance and health become more commonplace. But in an age when huge reductions in the price of food mean we’ve never had to pay less for the basics, do we actually give any thought to why those sweet potatoes or that chicken cost so little? Fiona Dillon and  Yvonne Carty will discuss and dissect these points.

Admission to all the Banter panels at Savour Kilkenny are free of charge. You’ll find the full programme for the weekend here. Big thanks to Marian Flannery, Paul O’Connor, Rose Mulvey and the Savour team for the invite and their help with this.

Banter at The Beatyard: has Dublin really lost its creative edge? (089, Oct 2014)

Over the course of the last year, Banter’s ongoing Living for the City series has delved into many nooks and crannies of living, working and playing in Dublin in the 21st century, from transportmedia and housing to food and immigration. We’ve had really strong turn-outs for all of these events, with the audience keen to get stuck in and have their say (as was also the case with last night’s discussion around privacy).

One of the topics which has bubbled to the surface a few times in many of the discussion panels has been the state of creativity in the city. There are many who will agree with Una Mullally’s recent opinion column that the capital is becoming “a twee, beige place, devoid of spontaneity and creative risk”, thanks to the departure of young Dubliners for other cities and a reduction in spaces in which to be adventurous.

But there are many others who would point to the fact that there’s a hell of a lot going on in Dublin right now right across the artistic, cultural and entertainment boards and, as has always been the case, you just need to go look for it. Just as the city has always had its “Dublin is dead” proponents (1990s’ band Puppy Love Bomb even had a t-shirt bearing that slogan), it has also always had its share of people doing stuff, be it underground ventures of old or the pop-up events of today. And yes, the latter coterie of do-ers includes plenty of twentysomethings.

Smithfield, Dublin, July 2014. Photo: Giuseppe Milo http://www.flickr.com/photos/giuseppemilo

Smithfield, Dublin, July 2014. Photo: Giuseppe Milo http://www.flickr.com/photos/giuseppemilo

As part of the The Beatyard citywide festival, Banter presents an evening for poking and prodding to see if Dublin still has a creative edge – or if it ever had one to begin with – what’s going on beneath the surface in arts and culture, where the bottlenecks are and what’s on the way.

Banter panel: Una Mullally (The Irish Times, TG4’s Ceol Ar An Imeall), Sinead Kelly (Hunt & Gather), Dave Smith (Mabos) and Richard Seabrooke (creative director Thinkhouse, founder Offset). Contributions from the audience are, as always, welcome

Date, time and venue: Wednesday October 22, Twisted Pepper (Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1), doors open 6pm, Bantering begins 6.30pm. Limited invite list and tickets here.