Zoe Nicholson interviews Irish food blogging Guru’s the Gastro Gays
Russell Alford and Patrick Hanlon make up GastroGays, a foodie-driven blog filled with recipes, food-based travel guides, and coverage on their favourite obsession: Eurovision.
“We started GastroGays in 2013 within the depression in Ireland,” the duo explain. The dismal job prospects and economic thriftiness the nation was adopting during the crisis led them to write about the up and coming Irish food scene. “People were being thrifty with their money and going out to eat was a rare treat.” In the process they created GastroGays, which was originally a hashtag they used. After six months of restaurant reviews and job hunting, the duo packed their bags and moved to London, where job prospects were brighter.
”TODAY, THE GASTROGAYS ARE BACK IN IRELAND FOCUSING ON THE BOUNTY OF FRESH INGREDIENTS AND THE HIDDEN CULINARY CORNERS NOT YET DISCOVERED BY LOCALS AND VISITORS.”
“A UK audience quickly became interested in us and we realised that this was the new direction,” they said of their move. With a new angle, one that barred all reviews and focused on recipes and food-focused travel, Hanlon and Alford grew their brand for four years in London.
GastroGays said of themselves “The art of writing has been a bit lost and that’s sad to us because we’re writers. We’re journalists. We’re content creators specialising in communicating stories and information to our audience.”
Today, the GastroGays are back in Ireland focusing on the bounty of fresh ingredients and the hidden culinary corners not yet discovered by locals and visitors. “Irish produce has never had a better platform. It’s incredible right now and it’s amazing to see both produce and producer being championed so fervently,” they said.
With companies now using influencers for advertising, GastroGays don’t think it will last, “this influencer culture will wain when both advertisers and audiences see that the tangible ‘influence’ from these notable personalities is actually a percentage of a percent and that the whole online content creation sphere is just a stream of ads, sponsored content and partner campaigns now.”
Hanlon and Alford carved out a spot as one of Ireland’s top bloggers, with an engaging wit focused on the written word and an emphasis on eating farm-to-table. On their site, you can find recipes for everything from a Tayto Chicken Fillet Roll to Whole Harissa Spiced Cauliflower, along with “48 Hours in…” guides to cities across Europe. The GastroGays release a diverse selection of content regularly and create conversation around Ireland’s food scene, which is continuing to become more exciting every day.
Don’t feel like cooking? Check out the GastroGay’s top places to grub in Dublin:
Etto, Delahunt, Woollen Mills and Camden Kitchen for contemporary Irish cuisine and fresh produce.
Cornucopia for vegetarians and vegans.
Goose on the Loose for breakfast, according to the duo, “The definition of a little hidden gem!”
The Pepper Pot for lunch.
777 and Luna for a luxe night out.[“Source-universityobserver”]