Rathangan woman wins top French award

Bernadette Byrne receiving her award.
Now living in Paris, Bernadette Byrne, who originally hails from Rathangan, has made waves in the food world.

Now living in Paris, Bernadette Byrne, who originally hails from Rathangan, has made waves in the food world.

Since she came to France in 1981, she has worked her way up the ladder to become An Bord Bia’s Meat Marketing Specialist for France, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Her work has received great praise and just recently she scooped a top French culinary Award.

She became the first Irish person, and only the third ever woman, to be awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre Mondia by the L’Académie Culinaire de France, the French Culinary Academy.

According to the experts, this is one of the highest honours available from the oldest association of culinary and pastry chefs in the world.

Her work in promoting Irish beef in the French market has been very successful.

Bernadette was a key player in ensuring Irish Beef was selected as the key ingredient for the 2013 Bocuse d’Or, by the organisers of the prestigious French culinary competition.

Heralded as the Olympics of the culinary world, the finals took place in Lyon in January.

“The selection of Irish Beef followed a rigorous and lengthy process by the competition’s International Organisation Committee was based on its grass fed nature meaning the beef is of a high quality in terms of tenderness, taste and texture. Securing this accolade is a valuable endorsement and recognition for Irish Beef,” said An Bord Bia.

This award seeks to honour those, who through their work, strive for the recognition and development of agricultural food products.

Bernadette started working for the Irish Livestock and Meat Board in Paris and then with Bord Bia, since its inception in 1994.

She is the daughter of deceased barber Andy Byrne. Andy was hugely involved in community issues and in particular Rathangan GAA.

He lived on the Main Street where his barber shop was one of the town’s landmarks.

- Niamh O’Donoghue