Hillsborough’s Hillside Bistro boasts the ‘Mightiest Mash’ in Northern Ireland, accoding to a panel of judges.
The bistro was one of four winners from among hundreds of entries in the inaugural Mighty Spud Awards 2016.
Each of the four were hailed as having stood out for their their mighty taste, quality and ability to push the boundaries when it comes to the humble spud.
Launched in January, the awards call on the public to nominate restaurants, takeaways and pubs that should be recognised for their culinary expertise when it comes to the ‘spud’.
Entries were shortlisted by a judging panel made up of chef Paula McIntyre, Michele Shirlow (Food NI), Michael McKillop (Glens of Antrim Potatoes) and Angus Wilson (Wilson’s Country Potatoes) who then visited venues across Northern Ireland for a week of tasting before selecting the winners.
Head Judge Paula McIntyre said: “Firstly I would like to congratulate the four winners for their award winning creations.
“Personally I am a huge fan of the potato; for me it is one of life’s simple pleasures, but it was amazing to see the innovation and energy that the finalists brought to the table and how the winners transformed the humble spud into four very different, but equally mighty tasting potato dishes.
“It wasn’t an easy job shortlisting the hundreds of nominations entered and we had some really tough decisions to make.
“One thing is for sure - people in Northern Ireland are passionate about the potato!”
Ivor Ferguson, UFU Deputy President and chair of the NI Stakeholder Potato Promotion Group said:“We are totally overwhelmed by the positive response from people across Northern Ireland to the Mighty Spud movement.
“ The awards are part of an ongoing campaign to support the Northern Ireland potato industry, and what better way to do that than showcase the culinary talent that exists in Northern Ireland.
“The spud is more than just a bit on the side – each of the winning dishes are mighty in their own right.
“Too often we forget about the nutritious value of simple local foods such as the potato.
“It is hoped the Mighty Spud Awards will raise the profile of the potato, highlight the endless ways it can be cooked and re-establish its position as a mealtime must-have.
“After this year’s success were already excited about what next year will bring.”
The Mightiest Chip in Northern Ireland was awarded to Mortons, Ballycastle; Tony and Jen’s, Belfast picked up Mightiest Healthy Potato Dish and The Yellow Door, Portadown credited with serving the Mightiest Innovative Potato dish.