Trudy Brolly of Ocho Tapas in Portrush is Ulster Chowder Champion

Trudy Brolly of Ocho Tapas in Portrush has won the Ulster Chowder Championship held as part of the popular Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival.

Trudy, assisted by husband Sean, came out on top in the championships which attracted entries from nine other chefs. Gary Stewart and Stephen Lampard, both from Tartine Restaurant at Distillers Arms in Bushmills, were placed second and third respectively in the successful event. Ocho Tapas and Tartine are both Taste of Ulster members.

The championship celebrates the superb seafood available in Ballycastle and other parts of the Causeway coast in particular.  

Trudy will now represent the region in the world famous Kinsale Chowder Cook Off in 2020.

Commenting on the award, Trudy said: “I was thrilled to win this award against such a distinguished group of competitors. It’s a great boost for our restaurant in Portrush.”

The Spanish restaurant has been an enthusiastic supporter of Food NI’s Chefs’ Steering Group, throughout the years. These are visits to food producers and restaurants across Northern Ireland, for local chefs.

Sean and Trudy Brolly are committed to using as many local ingredients as practicable in their popular bistro. They opened Ocho Tapas in 2015 on the back of successful careers in catering. Trudy brought her passion for Spanish cooking to Ireland after spending 19 years in the sun.

Trudy attended the now closed Hotel and Catering College in Portrush. She worked in local restaurants as a specialist in desserts. Her passion for Spanish cuisine (which led to the novel tapas bistro in Portrush) stems from periods working in Malaga and Alicante. As well as spending 13 years on the island of Mallorca.

Sean’s family has deep roots in the hospitality trade in the north coast. He continued the family tradition with posts in Culloden Hotel, Holywood and two years in Boston’s Ritz Carlton, returning home to set up an outside catering business and two cafes in Coleraine.