A CORK smokehouse operator is the first Irishman to be honored with the gourmet food industry’s ‘Oscar’.
rank Hederman is the first Irishman to receive the Walter Scheel Medal, a prestigious annual European culinary award recognizing outstanding contributions to food culture.
The smokehouse operator, based at Belvelly in the Port of Cork, now joins such renowned names in the European food industry as Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger of Taittinger Champagne and Spanish chef Ferran Adrià of El Bulli, all with Walter Scheel- medals were honored.
The award was confirmed as the Belvelly Smokehouse celebrates 40 years of successful operations.
Such is the reputation of Frank’s smokehouse production that his products have been acclaimed by TV chef Rick Stein and have appeared in the finest delis and restaurants around the world.
Belvelly Smokehouse products have been stocked by Fortnum & Mason for decades.
The Walter Scheel judges praised Frank’s traditional smoking methods as well as his “four decades of dedication to producing smoked salmon of the highest quality.”
They said Frank had successfully “redefined one of the most iconic products in Ireland’s culinary heritage”.
A local and family-oriented business, Frank’s late father and mother, his brother and children have all been involved in the operation over the years.
The smokehouse is now run by Frank and his wife Caroline.
It employs eight people – but that number doubles during the Christmas and New Year seasons, when their products are in high demand around the world.
Frank admitted he was thrilled with the honor.
“This award is a recognition from a renowned European organization for the authenticity and unique quality of the food we produce, the skill and hard work that goes into it and the perseverance it takes to keep a food company like ours running to hold,” he said.
“Today is a great day for Irish food. It is the first time the Walter Scheel Medal has been awarded in Ireland and it also recognizes the excellence of our commodity and food markets and independent businesses – all of which define our food culture.”
In addition to smoked salmon, Belvelly Smokehouse also produces smoked mackerel, eel, haddock, mussels, butter, spices, nuts and a wide range of artisan pies, fish cakes and Hederman at Home dishes made in the smokehouse.
These products are also available locally from their English Market shop and at Farmers’ Markets across Ireland.
Caroline said the award recognizes her perseverance in a challenging market over the decades.
“It’s a really rough world out there and we feel incredibly fortunate to have been able to survive and thrive for this long and to have all the support and friendships that we enjoy through the business,” she said.
“Above all, it is very satisfying to know that so many people enjoy eating what we enjoy preparing. This award is They are just as important to our customers as the producers are in creating the vibrant food community that recognizes this award.”
The tributes to the Hederman operation were spearheaded by Foreign Secretary Simon Coveney, who said it was a great honor not just for Frank and the Hederman family but for the Irish food industry as a whole.
https://www.independent.ie/life/food-drink/food-news/we-feel-incredibly-lucky-to-have-survived-and-thrived-irish-smokehouse-operator-wins-oscar-of-food-industry-41510289.html “We are incredibly fortunate to be able to survive and thrive” – Irish smokehouse operator wins food industry’s ‘Oscar’