was crowned the best cookbook in the world at an international awards ceremony in China last week.
Sea Gastronomy: Fish and Shellfish of the North Atlantic was awarded the top prize at the Gourmand World Cookery Book Awards in Yantai, China, on Sunday May 29.
The ceremony is often referred to as the ‘Oscars’ of the food industry, and represents the most illustrious award available to culinary writers worldwide.
Published by Artisan House, Connemara, Sea Gastronomy is only the fourth book which has been procured by the small printing house which oversees every step of the publication process.
Directors Mary Ruddy and Vincent Murphy were delighted with the prize having opened the doors of Artisan House, just three years ago, in 2013.
“For a young publisher to compete on a world stage is a great honour, and to come first is almost unbelievable,” said Ms Ruddy.
Shortlisted in two categories, and with international competitors from Ecuador, Japan, and the UK, the cookbook reeled in both awards, and was labelled the best seafood cookbook in the world.
Written by Michael O’Meara, head chef at Oscar’s Seafood Bistro, Dominick Street, the cookbook is a testament to his passion for all that the sea has to offer.
“We believe in the quality of Sea Gastronomy, Michael O’Meara is not only knowledgeable but passionate about fish and cooking,” said Mr Murphy, “He is also a wonderful photographer and he brought all those skills to this book.”
With more than 380 sealife photographs, some 220 seafood recipes, and detailed information on hundreds of seafood species in the north Atlantic, the book is a comprehensive guide to the waters which surround Ireland.
“Dr Peter Tyndall who acted as our marine consultant, and food and wine writer Ernie Whalley who provided an introduction were pivotal in encouraging Michael to write this book,” added Ms Ruddy.
The combination of Mr O’Meara’s photography skills and his expert knowledge, the book promises to be an immersive experience for fish lovers.
Speaking about the awards, Mr O’Meara said, “Just before they were going to announce the winners, they put the shortlisted books up on the big screen in no particular order, and all I could see was Japan. ‘How are we going to beat Japan in seafood’ I thought to myself, and when they announced that we had won I nearly fell off my seat.”
“Over 200 nationalities were represented at the awards, and the amount of people that we met was unbelievable. It was just brilliant.
“The most amazing thing about this book was not my name on the screen, but to see ‘Ireland’. Representing my country on an international stage was something that I never imagined doing.”