Document Type

Book Chapter


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Máirtín Mac Con Iomaire, ‘From the Dark Margins to the Spotlight: The Evolution of Gastronomy and Food Studies in Ireland’, in Catherine Maignant, Sylvain Tondour and Déborah Vandewoude (eds), Margins and Marginalities in Ireland and France: A Socio-cultural Perspective (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2021), 129-153.


For many years, food was seen as too quotidian and belonging to the domestic sphere, and therefore to women, which excluded it from any serious study or consideration in academia. This chapter tracks the evolution of gastronomy and food studies in Ireland. It charts the development of gastronomy as a cultural field, originally in France, to its emergence as an academic discipline with a particular Irish inflection. It details the progress that food history and culinary education have made in Ireland, suggesting that a new liberal / vocational model of culinary education, which commenced in 1999, has helped transform the gastronomic landscape in Ireland. The chapter also discusses the power of the Michelin Guide and its system of consecration within haute cuisine. Up until 2008, there were rarely more than three restaurants in Ireland awarded Michelin stars. In 2020, the Michelin Guide distributed 24 stars between 21 restaurants and awarded Bib Gourmands to a further 27 restaurants on the island of Ireland. This chapter will discuss how gastronomy and food studies in Ireland moved from the dark margins to the spotlight and will discuss some of the key factors pivotal to this transformation.