Inishowen's Chef Brian and Brenda McDermott have won a top award to be counted among the best food, drink and hospitality businesses in Ireland.

The McDermotts reopened the Foyle Hotel in Moville just a few months ago, but it has already picked up the Newcomer of the Year 2019 title in the highly-coveted Georgina Campbell Awards.

After receiving the award yesterday, Chef Brian told Donegal Daily: “This is beyond belief and I’m overwhelmed by such an award nationally. I can safely say that this is the pinnacle of my career to date.”

Chef Brian McDermott, Georgina Campbell and Brenda McDermott at the Georgina Campbell Awards 2019, held at Bord Bia, Dublin. September 2018.Photographer – Paul Sherwood

The Georgina Campbell awards are Ireland’s longest-running independent food and hospitality awards, and highly respected by the industry.

Georgina Campbell Awards are set apart from the rest because businesses are judged by anonymous assessments undertaken by Georgina Campbell, one of Ireland’s leading food and hospitality writers, and her team of experienced assessors

Tuesday’s awards ceremony was an annual celebration of excellence associated with the trusted Georgina Campbell’s Ireland independent hospitality guides.

The McDermott family with Neven Maguire at the Foyle Hotel Moville

Campbell was full of praise for the new Foyle Hotel by Chef Brian McDermott:

She wrote: “A wide main street lined with impressive Victorian buildings hints at the significant history of this handsome town on the shores of Lough Foyle. Once a port used by transatlantic travellers, it now plays a more relaxed role as a northern stop-off on the 1,700 mile Wild Atlantic Way driving route – and the Foyle Hotel by Chef Brian Mc Dermott will be first port of call for many.

The Foyle Hotel Moville

Campbell continued: “Well known throughout Ireland as a TV chef and teacher with a great commitment to promoting the superb produce of his native Donegal and the North-West of Ireland, Brian McDermott and his wife Brenda have restored the old Foyle Hotel to create a boutique hotel, wine bar and informal dining destination that is sure to attract many more visitors to this beautiful area – and with another well known and like-minded chef, Derek Creagh, as Head Chef, and Monto Mansour as Head Pastry Chef, this now one of the most exciting kitchen teams in the region.”

On the Newcomer of the Year award, Campbell said:

“This is always one of our most exciting awards … the ‘short list’ is anything but – and how could it be otherwise when the establishments under consideration are all fresh and new and full of enthusiasm? Recent openings have mainly been in cities, especially Dublin, so it is particularly pleasing to give recognition to an exciting new business in a much less obvious location.”

Commenting on this year’s Awards, Georgina said “The pace of change, rising standards and the sheer volume of great new businesses opening – especially in Dublin and other cities – has made the selection process tougher than ever this year.

“But it is always exciting to see newcomers to the hospitality industry who understand the importance of standards and want visitors – domestic and from abroad – to enjoy Irish food and hospitality at its best.

“And, while the market is getting crowded in some areas, competition from new kids on the block often motivates established businesses to up their game. And, whatever the age or type of business, what we have always looked for is not perfection but real food and hospitality with real heart, and we’re finding it more and more, in clusters of excellence all over the country.”