Chowderfest 2018

World Seafood Chowder Champions


Update: 10th October 2018

Nancy’s Barn have made another successful trip across the Atlantic, taking up a VIP invitation from the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, New Jersey, Long Beach Island (LBI) and participating in their “Great Chowder Cook Off” in New Jersey on September 30th this year.  This prestigious invitation was extended when the Southern Ocean CCC had heard news of Nancy’s Barn World Championships win in Newport, Rhode Island in late 2017.

A total of 3,162 miles was clocked up by a core Nancy’s Barn team, while the rest of the crew remained at home and did a fine job of keeping the home fires burning in Nancy’s Barn, Ballyliffin.

A principal team of seven made the journey from Donegal to Long Beach Island – Kieran Doherty (Duey) and his sister, Edel Doherty (Duey), Ronan Gildea, Gavin McNulty, Sheila Smyth, Tracey Doherty and Bernard Harkin.  Bolstering this amazing Irish effort was Kieran’s brother, Sean, who travelled all the way from Sydney, Australia with his partner, Emily Kenny to assist and support for the week.  Another capable crew member who arrived following a seven-hour bus journey to New Jersey was Kieran’s cousin, Diarmuid “Murphy” Moyne.  In addition, the team were delighted to welcome Terry and Joe McCloskey from Philadelphia, who were the first ever customers to walk into Nancy’s Barn when it opened in 2010.

Nancy’s Barn received a HUGE reception from the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce and residents of New Jersey, LBI on the Wednesday night of arrival and they quickly settled in and had a good rest before the cooking began in earnest the following morning.  The team set up their base camp in the Ship Bottom Firehouse Kitchen who generously provided Nancy’s Barn full access to their premises, allowing them to begin their chowder manufacture.

A total of 250 gallons of their world-famous product was prepared by Kieran and the team, with over 1,000 individual seaweed and cracked black pepper soda breads hand-made by Edel.

Nancy’s Barn crew set up their stall at the Cook-Off on Long Beach Island at 7am on Sunday, 30th September and were absolutely staggered to see thousands upon thousands of excited seafood fans queuing to get into the event.  A host of VIP guests were first to sample the delicious Nancy’s Barn chowder and the team met Tony Luke Jr, actor, restauranteur and founder of the famous Philly Cheese Steak.  He gave Nancy’s Barn his number one vote and promised to visit Ballyliffin in Spring 2019. 


People from all over the USA queued all day at the Nancy’s Barn stand and raved about the Irish warmth and welcome and of course, the world-famous chowder and soda bread.


More live videos are available at

Thousands of copies of the Ballyliffin and Clonmany Tourism brochure were picked up by stand visitors who were astounded by the beauty of County Donegal, leaving with a promise to pay a visit to this part of Ireland within the next year.

Following the Rhode Island World Championship win last year, Nancy’s Barn provided stand visitors with a loyalty card.  In the past 12 months, almost 800 have been received back from USA visitors, representing thousands of individuals, proving that these cook-offs have provided a huge increase in tourism footfall to the Inishowen area.

When the results were finally in, a resounding cheer from the assembled crowd went up for Nancy’s Barn who received an astonishing four awards:

1st – Overall Rookie of the Year 2018

1st – Most Enthusiastic Team 2018

1st – International Competitor 2018

2nd – Most Creative Chowder 2018

Kieran Doherty and his Nancy’s Barn team have worked tirelessly to promote their independent Irish business and Irish tourism on a global stage and have enjoyed enormous success.  This success has all been achieved without local government funding and Kieran would love to encourage more investment into the promotion of local tourism particularly.  He highlights that overseas events such as the ones that he has been involved in have been ideal platforms in which tourism and government agencies should be using to their advantage.

“We plan to make a return journey to the States for a third year and would invite Fáilte Ireland and others to use the event to showcase Irish tourism and the Irish food industry by tapping into an enormous eager audience just waiting to be invited to visit here”.

Following their international adventures, the Nancy’s Barn team didn’t have time to let their feet touch the ground back in Donegal as they were invited to the Yes Chef Awards 2019 ceremony.  Held in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Sligo, this year’s event was attended by restauranteurs from all over Ireland. 

Secret diners visited Nancy’s Barn over the summer, sampling their wonderful menu and this led to the Ballyliffin bistro being put forward for two prestigious food industry awards. 

Winning the “Café of the Year 2019” award has certainly been the icing on the cake in the Nancy’s Barn success story this year. 

Kieran is elated to add this additional award to his already burgeoning collection and wants to thank “all those who have been involved in the achievements of the past few years.  These include my dedicated team, without them none of this would be possible; the amazing support of locals and visitors to Nancy’s Barn, the excellence of local produce suppliers, Ballyliffin and Clonmany Tourism and all my brilliantly supportive family and friends, who help steady the ship that is Nancy!  I would like to add that we live in a beautiful country with amazing people, food and scenery, all of which make it easy to sell to those willing to come and visit.  I would advise all foodies and people in tourism and hospitality to jump at any opportunity and go for gold.  It is only going to get better as more and more people find out about us here in Inishowen, County Donegal and Ireland”.

Kieran will now take a break and then get back into the Nancy’s Barn kitchen.  There are also plans afoot to take Nancy’s Wandering Wagon out and about around Inishowen, allowing more visitors to sample their world-famous and championship winning seafood chowder and much more besides.  With Christmas just around the corner, Nancy’s Barn will be welcoming Christmas parties to their cosy corner of Ballyliffin and serving up more of their “No Fuss Christmas Dinners” to those that would like someone to take the stress out of cooking dinner on Christmas Day.

Not one to rest on his laurels, this Isle of Doagh native will be bringing his own brand of Irish charm and great food back to America very soon.


September 2018:

We’re off to the 2018 Chowderfest World Championship!!

Our Seafood Chowder is on the road again! We are absolutely delighted to be representing Ballyliffin, Donegal and Ireland again this year at the Chowderfest World Championships in Long Island, New York, USA!

Nancy’s Barns crew had such a fantastic time last year in Rhode Island, which was topped off by walking away with the World Seafood Chowder Champion title. See that winning moment here.

We are hoping to be placed this year again at the Worlds, but our main aim is to bring a taste of Ireland to the US. We will promote Ireland as a food destination, as well as Donegal and our wee village of Ballyliffin… and who knows… you might actually see us on the Late Late Show (read the article below to find out why!). (who is the leading Irish digital media company in North America) has done a lovely write up about us and the up-coming competition – see below:

Irish chef seeks world champion chowder title

County Donegal chef and restaurant owner Kieran Doherty and his will battle for the title of best chowder at the Chowderfest World Championship, on Long Island, NY.

A young chef from Ballyliffin, County Donegal, and his team will travel to Long Beach, New Jersey to compete in the 2018 Chowderfest World Championship.

Kieran Doherty, owner of Nancy’s Barn, and his culinary team will be bring the heat to Jersey from Sept 29 to 30 having already walked away with first prize at the 2017 World Champion Chowder Competition, in Rhode Island.

The Donegal chef will be the first international chef to compete at the Chowderfest World Championship, in Jersey, later this month.

A team of five will accompany Kieran to New Jersey in order to compete.

The Nancy’s Barn Team participated in the World Champion Chowder Competition in Rhode Island last year and got first place. Winning this Championship last year was a great accomplishment for the young team and has given them the encouragement to go forward for this year’s competition.


The Secretary to the Ballyliffin Rural Enterprises Ltd, Susan McGonagle, told IrishCentral “Last year’s win and all the publicity attached to it has helped Kieran’s business enormously and has increased visitor numbers to the village of Ballyliffin greatly.

“As secretary of our local development group we wholeheartedly support Kieran and his team at Nancy’s Barn in their endeavor to win this competition again.

Lately Ryan Tubridy was in Donegal and was very impressed with Nancy’s Barn and has promised to have the Chowder Team on the “Late Late Show” if they end up in the first three in the competition.”

World Champion Chowder Competition, in Long Beach, NJ, has been running now for 30 years and this September they expect between 12 and 13 thousand people to attend over the weekend.