Banter at Ballymaloe Litfest (133, May 2016)

Banter is going back to the country’s premier food and drink festival. After a successful debut at the Ballymaloe LitFest of Food & Wine in 2015 when we did what we were supposed to and didn’t annoy too many people, the festival team have invited Banter back for another round of conversations, discussions, talks and interviews in the Garden Tent as part of this year’s festival from May 20 to 22. Here’s the a la carte menu for the weekend

The Banter interview: Yotam Ottolenghi (Saturday, 4pm)

Yotam-Ottolenghi-009

Inbetween juggling cookbooks, TV shows, colourful newspaper columns, shops and restuarants, our favourite Middle Eastern cuisine champion takes time to join us at Banter to discuss taste, dishes, vegetables and spices.

The next big trend (Sunday, 11am)

One for the early noshers in the audience. We ask noted food watchers Seamus Sheridan (Sheridans Cheesemongers), Hilary Quinn (Dublin Doughnut Co) and Sally McKenna (John & Sally McKenna’s Guides) what comes next after kale, chorizo and doughnuts.

So you want to open your own restaurant? (Sunday, 2pm)

All you ever wanted to know about the art, business, blood, sweat, tears and occasional cheers of running a restaurant in Ireland in 2016, but didn’t know who to ask. Jess Murphy (Kai, Galway) and John Farrell (Dillingers, The Butchers Grill, Super Miss Sue, Luna, 777 etc, Dublin) The most rock’n’roll discussion you will hear this year about what it really takes to run a successful food gaff.

Fire and smoke (Saturday, 10am)

Forget about the 1916 rising, the real revolution is the one involving copious amounts of fire, smoke and meat. Grilling connoisseurs Fingal Ferguson (farmer, charcutier, cheese maker, butcher and knife maker), Francis Mallmann (1884, Argentina), John Relihan(Duagh BBQ Festival and Holy Smoke, Cork) and Andy Noonan (Big Grill festival) tell us what gets them hot under the collar above slow and low.

Buzzing (Saturday, 1pm)

Do you have a caffeine habit yet? You may well do after this panel. Steve Leighton(Hasbean Coffee, London), Colin Harmon (3FE, Dublin), Joanna Alm (Drop Coffee, Stockholm) and Mark Kingston (Golden Bean, Ballymaloe) discuss the fine art of coffee, the recent innovations, the operators they like and what will be arriving into your cup in the coming years.

Banter will share the Garden Tent space with Joe McNamee’s Rants, Raves and Ruaille BuailleJohn Bowman’s Questions & Answers’ food specialCaroline Hennessy’s Cookbook ChroniclesIrish Food Writers GuildKathy Whyte of Change for HealthApril Danannthe Lalala Choir and a real bread workshop. You’ll find the full schedule for the Garden Tent and the full programme for the LitFest here. Admission to the Garden Tent and all the Fringe Festival events is €5 per day (kids under 12 go free)

The news agenda (132, April 2016)

One of the questions which comes up again and again at different Banter discussions is to do with who sets the news agenda. Be it the general election or Syria, people are curious about why certain stories make the mix, the filters which are used to make those decisions and the stories which don’t make the cut as a result.

Journalists work in the main newsroom area of the new Al Jazeera America television broadcast studio on West 34th Street August 16, 2013 in New York. Al Jazeera America, which will launch on August 20, will have its headquarters in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA

Journalists work in the main newsroom area of the new Al Jazeera America television broadcast studio on West 34th Street August 16, 2013 in New York. Al Jazeera America, which will launch on August 20, will have its headquarters in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA

This Banter discussion brings together a number of editors and producers to talk about their work, the decisions they make, the factors which inform those decisions and other issues around the editorial process. No doubt the question “is this news?” will be asked at least once on the night.

Banter news agenda panelSusan Daly (editor, The Journal), Richie Oakley (editor, The Times Ireland edition) and Vincent Murphy (editor, Morning Ireland, RTE Radio One)

The small print: Banter on the news agenda takes place at Wigwam (Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1) on Wednesday April 27. Doors open at 6pm and the discussion begins at 6.30pm sharp. Tickets can be reserved here.