The first wild salmon in five years goes to…

… Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II!

Burren Smokehouse smoked salmon for Queen Elizabeth II

If it is good enough for the Queen, it is good enough for us!

This is a most precious quote by Diane Stopford, at the time buyer at Dean & Deluca in New York, when she was asked on TV3’s “Morning Show” in 2012 if Dean & Deluca carried Irish food products.

The quote refers to the State Dinner in honour of Queen Elizabeth II’s historic visit to Ireland in May 2011.

And this is the fantastic story behind this quote.

As you might know, we have not smoked any wild salmon since 2006 when a drift net fishing ban was introduced to Irish waters. For the salmon season of 2011, the strict fishing ban was lifted for small outfits fishing in rivers only in order to maintain a healthy level of salmon in the breeding grounds. Read more here about wild salmon fishing.

One afternoon in May 2011, Birgitta got a phone call from Ross Lewis, the co-owner and head chef of the Michelin starred Chapter One Restaurant in Dublin at the time. He and Garrett Duff from With Taste were going to cook for a Very Important Person which he could not reveal the name of, and asked if we had wild salmon available.

We had not. Up to then, Birgitta had not given much thought to buying wild salmon.

A few minutes later, she got a phone call from a fishery outfit in County Waterford who were fishing in the Blackwater River offering us wild salmon.

They had four full salmon for us which we smoked – on their own – in the big kiln which has a capacity of 250 sides. Birgitta then took the eight fillets as they were and brought them to Dublin herself. The picture shows Birgitta with Garrett Duff from With Taste (on left) and Ross Lewis from Chapter One.

After she dropped off as many sides of the wild salmon that were needed there, she got a phone call from craft butchers Nolan’s of Kilcullen just outside Dublin asking if she had wild salmon, they would need it for a lunch for a Very Important Person. So, on her way back to Lisdoonvarna, she made a little detour and hand-delivered the remaining sides of salmon to Nolan’s.

As we know now, it was Queen Elizabeth II who everybody was cooking for. But it is a little-known fact that she ate our Burren smoked Wild Irish Salmon twice during her historic visit to Ireland: once at the State Dinner on 18 May 2011 at Dublin Castle with over 170 guests, and then again a day later for lunch in Kilcullen.