Born and Braised named Northern Ireland’s New Signature Dish

The public had their say in the tastiest vote in NI but only one dish could win!

‘Born and Braised’ has been announced as Northern Ireland’s New Signature Dish at a grand unveiling, in front of a crowd of foodie fans, at Belfast’s St George’s Market.

As part of Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink 2016, Tourism NI tasked four of our top chefs to create Northern Ireland’s New Signature Dish and following weeks of testing, collaboration and deliberation, the chefs produced a shortlist of three dishes before the winner was crowned.

The three shortlisted dishes – ‘Born and Braised’, ‘Jowled Eel’ and ‘Buttermilked Lamb’ – have all been battling it out in a public poll over the last number of weeks. The votes have been counted and verified and ‘Born and Braised’ has now been named, Northern Ireland’s New Signature Dish.

The four creative minds, referred to as the ‘cooking collective’, who created the final three dishes are Niall McKenna from James Street South in Belfast; Ian Orr from Browns Restaurant and Ardtara House in Derry~Londonderry; Kelan McMichael from Bull and Ram in Ballynahinch and Chris McGowan from Wine and Brine in County Armagh.

Naomi Waite, Director of Marketing Tourism Northern Ireland has all the details: “So many people have got involved in the search for Northern Ireland’s New Signature Dish and we’d like to thank each and every one of you. The winning dish, ‘Born and Braised’ will appear on restaurant menus and dinner tables across Northern Ireland, but as the final three were all so delicious there really isn’t any downside for food lovers.

“The three dishes prepared by the ‘cooking collective’ are completely new to the dining scene in Northern Ireland and are made from only the best of our local produce. While the Born and Braised, Buttermilked Lamb and Jowled Eel dishes are of restaurant quality the recipes are available on the Discover Northern Ireland website and can easily be cooked, adapted and enjoyed at the dinner table at home.”

Ian Orr, Browns Restaurants and Ardtara Country House Hotel, said: “It’s been lots of fun working with the other guys to come up with a new signature dish for Northern Ireland. I am really pleased with how all the dishes have turned out and delighted that the people of NI have chosen the winning dish for themselves!”

Chris McGowan, Wine and Brine, said: “Myself along with the other chefs have been on quite a journey to come up with the dishes for this campaign and whilst it has been challenging, it has also been hugely rewarding. The diversity and quality of produce available across Northern Ireland is astounding and we have showcased just some of it in our three finalist dishes. We hope that everyone enjoys making the winning dish at home – and remember to support local producers when buying your ingredients!”

Kelan McMichael, Bull and Ram, said: “I have really enjoyed working on the initiative to find Northern Ireland’s new signature dish and am delighted with what we came up with. We chose the final three dishes because they bring together the very best local produce we have on offer but also because the ingredients are affordable and accessible for people to buy in their local butchers, deli’s and shops. All the ingredients chosen work really well together and are easy to cook so we hope that everyone enjoys cooking the winning dish at home.”

Niall McKenna, James Street South Restaurant Group, said: “Coming up with a new signature dish for Northern Ireland has certainly been a challenge but a worthwhile one! All three dishes really embody a taste of Northern Ireland and are stellar examples of the quality, flavour, value and diversity of the amazing produce we have on our doorsteps, and all the ingredients are widely available making each dish accessible to everyone across the country. Working with Ian, Kelan and Chris has been a fantastic experience and I hope everyone has lots of fun at home creating these dishes for themselves.”

Find out more about Northern Ireland’s New Signature Dish by logging on to, and share your thoughts on the Discover NI Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages with the hashtag, #SignatureDishNI.

All ingredients used in the dishes was sourced from Northern Ireland food and drink producers and suppliers. Comber Early Potatoes currently not in season and wild garlic, usually available from late January onwards, must be washed before use.