Food For Thought

Irish Food Writers’ Guild announces new members for 2020

Seven new food writers join the Irish Food Writers’ Guild


The Irish Food Writers’ Guild has announced the names of the seven new members invited to join the Guild in 2020. Membership is by invitation only to established food writers with an acknowledged and substantial corpus of work. The Guild currently has over 60 members.

The new Guild members announced today, 10 November 2020, are Russell Alford and Patrick Hanlon of the GastroGays blog; Caitríona Devery, Food & Drink Editor at District Magazine and Research Manager at UCD’s Earth Institute; JP McMahon, Michelin-starred chef and Irish Times contributor; Russ Parsons,former editor at the Los Angeles Times and an Irish Times contributor; and renowned culinary historian and academic Regina Sexton; and Katia Valadeau of the Proper Food blog (biographies below).

The chair of the Guild, Kristin Jensen, said: ‘High-quality, fact-based and unbiased food writing is more important today than ever before. We believe our new Guild members are a worthy addition to the ranks of writers who support food writing excellence and integrity in food reporting.’

Russell Alford and Patrick Hanlon

Russell Alford and Patrick Hanlon are the food- and travel-writing duo behind the GastroGays blog. What began as a food-focused hobby blog in 2013 blossomed into a full-time career and GastroGays has become one of the most high-profile, respected and established feature-led food websites and digital content brand names in the country. Russell and Patrick also co-present Chew the Fat, a food-focused podcast that delves into interesting personalities in and around the food industry in Ireland and beyond. As freelance writers, Russell and Patrick have been widely published in food and travel publications and appear regularly on TV and radio. As in-demand recipe developers, food stylists and photographers, Russell and Patrick have also developed food content for clients such as Lidl Ireland, Marks & Spencer, Fáilte Ireland, Bord Bia and among many others.

Caitríona Devery

Offaly born and Dublin based, Caitríona Devery is a writer and radio broadcaster with interests in food, culture, politics and environmentalism. Since 2018 she has been the food and drink editor for District Magazine and its food offshoot, CHAR. Caitriona also writes for UK-based food publication Feast Journal and was made a contributing editor in 2017. Outside of food, she has a strong interest in art, heritage and the natural environment. In 2019 she wrote a local history book with Pollagh Heritage on brickmaking in County Offaly. In 2020, Caitríona joined the team of Nervous State, a magazine show on Dublin Digital Radio, where she presents features and interviews on diverse topics including food, agriculture and art. She is also the research manager for UCD’s Earth Institute, which brings together UCD’s environmental researchers.

JP McMahon

JP McMahon is a chef, restaurateur and author. He is culinary director of the EatGalway Restaurant Group, which comprises Michelin-starred Aniar Restaurant, award-winning Spanish restaurant Cava Bodega, and Tartare Café & Wine Bar (Bib Gourmand). He also runs the Aniar Boutique Cookery School. JP is committed to the educational and ethical aspects of food, to buying and supporting the best of local and free-range produce, and engaging directly with farmers and producers. JP is also the founder of and plays host to one of the biggest and most talked-about international food events in Europe, Food on the Edge, which features the best international chefs from across the globe. Director, founding member and current chair of the Galway Food Festival, JP is an ambassador for Irish food and is currently a commissioner for Euro-Toques Ireland. He is the author of Tapas, A Taste of Spain in Ireland and The Irish Cookbook and has a weekly column in the Irish Times on Saturday. He is a regular contributor to Radio One and Newstalk radio and has a monthly slot on RTÉ TV. He was twice the winning mentor for the RTÉ series Taste of Success.

Russ Parsons

Russ Parsons is a food writer and columnist. He served as the food editor and columnist of the Los Angeles Times for more than 25 years before leaving in 2015. He has written about food for more than 30 years, including during his career at the Times, where he also served as managing editor and deputy editor. Before coming to the Times, he was food editor at the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, food editor at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and food editor at the Albuquerque Tribune. He is the author of the cookbooks How to Read a French Fry and How to Pick a Peach. In 2008 he was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food and Beverage, the hall of fame of American cooking. He has won many food journalism awards, including those from the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the Association of Food Journalists, the James Beard Foundation and the Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Awards. He has a wife and one daughter and now lives in Waterford, Ireland, where he is a monthly columnist for the Irish Times.

Twitter: @Russ_Parsons1

Regina Sexton

Regina Sexton is a food and culinary historian, food writer, broadcaster and cook. She is the Programme Manager of UCC’s Post-graduate Diploma in Irish Food Culture. Regina has been researching and publishing in the area of Irish food and culinary history since 1993. She has published widely at academic and popular levels. Her publications include A Little History of Irish Food and Ireland’s Traditional Foods. She contributed to the Royal Irish Academy’s 2015 publication Food and Drink in Ireland and to the award-winning Atlas of the Great Irish Famine published by Cork University Press in 2012. Regina has worked as food history consultant with Bord Bia, Teagasc, FáilteIreland, RTÉ and the Irish Heritage Trust and has worked as historical food stylist for a number of television productions. At University College Cork, she lectures in the area of food history with the School of History, the Food Industry Training Unit and Adult Continuing Education. She is also the co-ordinator of the Food Writing module for the MA in Creative Writing with the School of English, UCC. Regina is committee member of the Agricultural History Society of Ireland. In December 2019, Regina was one of three recipients of the McKennas’ Food Person of the Year Award for her work on Irish food culture and heritage.

Katia Valadeau

Originally from France, Katia Valadeau has lived in Ireland for over 20 years. Financial crime manager by day, Katia is a food blogger and avid cook by night. She started Proper Food in 2015 and regularly posts inspiring recipes. She has a particular interest in helping small producers reach a wider audience and is a passionate promoter of the women of the Irish food industry. She offers varied freelance services, such as food writing, recipe creation, social media management or in-house training and food and marketing consultancy. She is a true champion of Irish food and the people within the industry.


The Irish Food Writers’ Guild was formed in 1990 to promote high professional standards of knowledge and practice among writers about food, nutrition, food history and related matters and to assist in the formulation of links and networks amongst all involved in the food industry.

Membership is by invitation only to established food writers with an acknowledged and substantial corpus of work. The Guild currently has over 60 members. By the nature of their daily work, Guild members are in constant touch with food producers, food retailers, restaurateurs and other professional bodies in the industry throughout the country. Today the Guild enjoys close links with associations like Euro-Toques, the Irish food boards and other professional bodies in the food industry, both in Ireland and abroad.

For further information on the Guild’s members, mission statement, principle directives and policy areas click here.

Twitter @foodguild

Instagram @foodwritersguild