Did you hear about the Lough Neagh Eel which married the Bramley Apple?

Neither did we – but we are about to find out when an Australian chef marries the pair next week to create a unique dish as a flavour of what’s to come at this year’s Northern Ireland CountrySports Fair at Scarvagh House in Banbridge (28th and 29th May).

Dean Coppard, the Australian chef who has been making waves across our region’s cooking scene since he arrived here 12 years ago, will be showcasing his authentic cuisine by combining two of Northern Ireland’s  finest PGI products at next week’s Fair – the Lough Neagh Eel and the famous Orchard County Bramley Apple.

The Sydney ex-pat, who runs Uluru Bar & Grill in Armagh and manages a kitchen full of passionate chefs cooking produce with an Australian twist, will demonstrate his rationale for pulling together these two unique products to celebrate our connection with our land and our loughs.

Dean, husband to Sara and father to Mia, 6, and Dylan, 4, is continuing his monthly celebrations of  Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink initiative by cooking to May’s theme ‘Places and Landscapes’, to create this speciality dish which is guaranteed to whet the appetite of the crowds on May 28th and 29th at Scarvagh House.

Speaking about the event, which is a must in the Northern Ireland country events calendar, Dean said: “From sourcing new products from the field, sea or loughs and cooking them with an Australian twist, this year’s CountrySports Fair is about to be served up something completely unique.

“The dish I’ll be cooking – ‘Lough and Apples’ – was created out of our desire to show people what we believe – and that’s with so many great local producers our job is made a lot easier.

“We champion our producers because they deserve the credit for all the blood, sweat and tears they put in to produce, what we feel is, the very best produce, not only in Ulster but, in Ireland.

“With our recent ability to be able to source Lough Neagh Eel we have developed this dish which Uluru Bar & Grill customers are loving so we know it will go down a treat at the Fair.

“To showcase the authenticity of our cooking, we have married the Lough Neagh Eel with the flavour of the Bramley Apple wood from local orchards, which have been worked by generations of apple farmers in the Co. Armagh area. This creates a really authentic dish, which people at the CountrySports Fair will love.”

Dean’s style and authenticity created a storm in the Food NI marquee at this year’s Balmoral Show. In March, his chefs at Uluru Bar & Grill in Armagh, returned to the ecclesiastical city with two gold medals, two silver medals, seven bronze medals and one certificate of participation from this year’s IFEX Exhibition.

The Michelin Guide recommended Uluru Bar & Grill, headed by Dean Coppard, is going from strength to strength, and, the dish on offer at the Northern Ireland CountrySports Fair 2016, has already been  recognised by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s ‘Food Heartland’ initiative and is on the shortlist at the first ‘Food Heartlands’ awards.

Dean added:  “We’ve always been big believers that we have some of the best produce right here on our doorstep. We take pride in our ingredients and I am proud to say that every element used in our ‘Lough and Apple’ dish is a match made right here in Northern Ireland.”

Attending the popular country fair will also be Armagh Cider, Baked in Belfast and Peppup Sauces and joining them in the food marquee will be many other producers showing the results of their hard labour.

The Northern Ireland CountrySports Fair will showcase the very best in country sports, crafts and local food. It will incorporate new events such a Country and Western concert on Saturday, May 28 the world’s first ferret ‘Grand National’ and a charity Donkey Derby. For more information, visit