Meet our food champions...

Martin Bealin

Chefs need to connect with what is happening around them. Supporting local food producers is key to a great food destination with a unique sense of place.


Martin Bealin

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Martin Bealin

Image of Martin BealinSafeguarding and championing local food, quietly and without compromise | Dingle, Kerry

You won’t hear chef Martin Bealin shouting about anything in the media and you probably won’t see him at awards events and glitzy galas. Instead, you will find him quietly ploughing a furrow and planting the seeds of a food community on the Dingle Peninsula, as he has been doing through his restaurant Global Village and local initiatives for the past 20 years.

Dingle is now associated with good food; its 9-year-old food festival is one of the most successful and respected in the country, and the area is fast becoming recognised as a food destination. Due in no small part to the work of this modest and understated chef. He established the Global Village restaurant in 1997 and was committed to creating something unique that reflected the place.

He now grows his own produce in two polytunnels, which “completely changed our attitude and the way we work. We use what we have”. Since the early days he has bought his fish direct from in-shore fishing boats and sourced meat from local farms, and has a huge respect for these suppliers who “are all humans; businesses with a human face”.

It was his desire to support these local producers, to bring local food to a wider audience and build pride in it that led him to instigate the set-up of the Dingle Food Festival. The community spirit and inclusiveness of this event is a testament to the founder’s determination to “get everyone involved, make it accessible to everyone, not elitist”.

As part of the festival he was also involved in establishing the Blas na hEireann awards, which have now become a huge annual event recognising food producers from throughout Ireland.