The Hunt is on Belfast Restaurant Week special

James Street South Bar and Grill Launches Cooking Competition to Find newest addition to menu.

 ​– Hunt is on for Belfast Restaurant Week Special —

Ever thought of becoming a star chef and having your favourite recipe on the menu of a top Belfast restaurant menu?  Now’s your chance, as local award-winning eatery James Street South Bar and Grill is running a competition to do just that.

The cooking competition is one of a host of innovative culinary initiatives taking place during Belfast Restaurant Week, 5th- 12 October, with the winning dish featuring  as a ‘Restaurant Week Special’ on the menu.

Budding chefs and passionate cooks are challenged to create a starter, main course or dessert inspired by locally sourced and seasonal ingredients.  The challenge shouldn’t be too difficult with the fantastic home grown produce, meat, fish, game and poultry available in the region.

Entries will be scrutinised by Nail McKenna, Head Chef and owner, in addition to a judging panel of food experts including, renowned food critic Joris Minne, well-loved chef and BBC radio personality Paula McIntyre and  influential food blogger John Ferris.

So if there’s a favourite dish you think is worthy of sharing with the diners of Belfast or if you are inspired to invent a stunning new recipe, simply submit a list of ingredients, cooking instructions and a photograph of your finished creation to James Street South Bar & Grill by Monday 23 September.

Five finalists will be invited to James Street South Bar and Grill on Monday 30 September to prepare their dish for the discerning judging panel in a MasterChef style cook-off, after which the difficult decision of choosing the winner will be made.

The winner and three friends will be treated to a master class with Niall McKenna, a unique opportunity for aspiring chefs and foodie-lovers to pick up cooking hints and tips directly from the gifted culinary expert, plus a £200 voucher to spend in Le Creuset, the premium French cookware manufacturer best known for its colourful enamelled cast iron kitchenware.

The competition is open to aspiring chefs and passionate cooks of 16 years or over and entries will not be accepted from professional/qualified chefs.  Entries can be submitted by post to BRW Competition, James Street South Bar & Grill, 21 James Street South Belfast BT2 7GA or email but must be received by 5pm on Monday 23 September.

Visit for further competition details, terms and conditions.

Judging panel biographies

Niall McKenna

Niall is the creative and visionary chef and patron of James Street South in Belfast which opened its doors in September 2003, and its recent sister culinary enterprises – the Bar & Grill, cookery school and private dining room. He has over 20 years’ experience in the kitchen and has worked and trained with many of today’s great chefs. Niall himself is a former Great British Menu winner and is a passionate advocate of learning new skills in the kitchen and is keen to pass on his knowledge to kitchen enthusiasts.

With Niall at the helm, the James Street South group has established itself as a centre of excellence, restaurants which consistently serve some of the best food in Northern Ireland using quality, sustainable produce from local farmers and suppliers that you want to eat every night of the week.

 John Ferris

John is a journalist by trade but has moonlighted as a food blogger and newsprint restaurant critic since 2006, writing more than 1,000 food and drink articles – reviewing hundreds of local restaurants as well as some of the world’s best.

John also found time to set-up, which is recognised as Northern Ireland’s most influential food blog and shortlisted in the 2012 Irish Food Blog category until it closed down to make way for

A long-time judge of various awards, John also writes features for Hospitality Review NI and makes regular appearances on U105’s Lunchtime Bistro show with Carolyn Stewart. John loves simple food done well but hates truffle oil and mediocrity!

Joris Minne

Joris is a passionate foodie with an eye for detail and a palate for distinguishing flavours. As a Northern Ireland food critic he has a weekly column in the Belfast Telegraph which has given Joris the opportunity to eat out every single week for the last five years.

A member of Restaurants Association of Ireland judging panel, Joris is a committed supporter and promoter of the variety of establishments on offer in Belfast – from restaurants, cafes, bistros, and takeaways and strongly believes that food should be treated as a cultural experience.  As soon as he puts down his knife and fork, Joris juggles his appetite for food with a busy schedule combining his love of the arts by chairing The Mac, an arts investment project in Belfast and his full time career as an award-winning PR consultant.

Paula McIntyre

As BBC Radio Ulster’s resident chef, Paula brightens up the airwaves each Saturday with her weekly Magazine recipe spot, giving local food enthusiasts handy tips and secrets of the trade to get your dish just right. It’s like having Paula with you in the kitchen!

Paula is a well-loved chef and radio personality who is also a member of Restaurants Association of Ireland and Hotel & Catering Review Magazine Gold Star judging panel.

Paula strongly believes that local produce is best and proudly uses the finest Northern Ireland ingredients to make her exceptional mouth-watering dishes.