Meet our food champions...

Olivia Duff

We need to tell our food stories; the stories of the people behind our food and the stories of the land. I want to support those around me to tell their food stories.

Olivia Duff

Contact details

Olivia Duff

Portrait of Olivia DuffBringing together the many facets of Ireland’s food story | Kells, Meath

Olivia Duff is “happiest in wellies, collecting eggs, checking livestock in the morning” on Maperath Farm outside Kells, County Meath. There, she and her husband Eoin Sharkey raise turkeys, geese and lambs for direct sale. That’s all before she gets suited and booted for her management role in the family business in which she grew up, The Headfort Arms Hotel & Vanilla Pod restaurant in Kells. On top of this, she chairs a large group of local businesses developing and promoting food tourism in the region.

Olivia’s perspective is multi-faceted; she is at the coalface in the hospitality industry dealing with suppliers, chefs and customers, but she is also a food producer and is passionate about “the journey food takes, the journey it should take, from farm to kitchen to dining-room”. She believes that this is something the visitor wants to experience and something that is on offer in the “amazing landscape, great people, good food and incredible heritage” of the Boyne Valley region.

This passion and belief, coupled with the ability to communicate it, has been strong enough to bring together almost 50 food businesses in her region. Inspired by her trip to Canada as a Fáilte Ireland food champion in 2012, she set about establishing a food tourism initiative at home. In 2013, the Meath Food Series was created, expanding to become the Boyne Valley Food Series in 2014 – a calendar of over 45 food events across Meath and Louth throughout the summer and autumn.

Olivia believes that by creating local networks, and finding great local people who will work together, we can build something significant, “Championing what is closest to us, we can create something special that will radiate outward.”