herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Donal Skehan puts Irish food in spotlight with major US TV talk-show appearance

Donal Skehan
Donal Skehan
Sophie and Donal

The country's resturants and culinary industries will be hoping for a major tourist boost thanks to Donal Skehan's upcoming appearance on the NBC Today Show.

The popular chef is expected on the network show tomorrow and Tourism Ireland chiefs hope the spin-off could be immense.

"I'm doing the Today show with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda and I'm thrilled to be invited back to the show again," Skehan said.

"I'm cooking a special Paddy's Day dish, inspired by where I live in Dublin," said Donal who intends to film behind-the-scenes footage at the show for his YouTube channel, which has nine million TV viewers."

The Dublin celebrity chef is no stranger to international TV with an impressive roster of credits under his belt.

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Sophie and Donal

His new series, Grandma's Boy, will air on Fox International, and he is also a judge on the BBC's Junior MasterChef on top of his RTE duties.

One of his more challenging roles came with his morning slot on popular Swedish breakfast show Mitt Kök where he struggled to master the language.

Despite his busy lifestyle the 28-year old plans to find time to wed his long-term girlfriend, Sofie Larson, later this year.

The pair have been engaged since last May when the Howth man proposed in Paris.

He has been dating the Swedish woman for eight years. She works on the team which has helped build his global brand.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland confirmed the State body are "working hard to ensure that 2015 is the best year ever for Irish tourism".

"We aim to welcome 1.3 million American visitors - surpassing the previous record year of 2007," he said.

As part of their multi-faceted St Patrick's Day push, Tourism Ireland have partnered with the Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine, which runs May 15-17.

The event was launched at Studio 1 in Manhattan last week to an audience of influential US foodies from the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living and CNN.

Mr Gibbons congratulated Darina Allen, her brother Rory O'Connell and the Ballymaloe LitFest team on the success of their annual event and the tourism boss said "we will be pulling out all the stops to send lots of US visitors to keep the momentum we have seen in the last two years going".

Irish chef Catherine Fulvio is also on the Today show, doing a beef cook off against chef Brian Duffy.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to promote Irish Food and Ireland," Catherine said. "And sure if 1pc come and visit me at Ballyknocken when they are in Ireland, we will all be happy."

hnews@herald.ie

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