Regina Sexton - Biography

 Regina Sexton is a food historian, food writer, broadcaster and cook. She has been researching and publishing in the area of Irish food and culinary history since 1993. Her research interests include food and identity, food and tradition and food in the Irish country house. She has published widely at academic and popular levels. Her publications include A Little History of Irish Food (Gill and Macmillan, 1999) and Ireland’s Traditional Foods (Teagasc, 1997). Regina holds a post-graduate degree from the Department of History, University College, Cork and a certificate in Food and Wine from the Ballymaloe Cookery School. Between 1995 and 2008, she wrote a weekly food column with the Irish Examiner; and in 1997, for work therein, she was short-listed for the Glenfiddich Regional Writer of the Year Award. Her publications have won her awards. She was joint winner of the Sophie Coe Memorial Prize in Food History, 1995 presented at St Anthony’s College, Oxford, for the paper ‘“I’d ate it like chocolate”: the disappearing offal food traditions of Cork city’. She was also winner of the Sophie Coe memorial Prize in Food History, Special Award, 1999, presented at St. Anthony’s College, Oxford for the paper ‘Porridge, gruels and breads: the cereal foodstuffs of early historic Ireland’. In 1999, she won the Jeremy Round Award, for the most promising first time author for A Little History of Irish food, presented by the British Guild of Food Writers. Following the success of this publication, Radio Telefis Éireann (RTÉ) commissioned Regina to research, write and present an eight-part television documentary, also called A Little History of Irish Food. Most recently, Regina has contributed to the award winning Atlas of the Great Irish Famine published by Cork University Press in 2012.

Regina has worked as food history consultant with Bord Bia, Teagasc, Fáilte Ireland, RTÉ and the Irish Heritage Trust. She has worked as historical food stylist for a number of television productions. Regina is also a member of the judging panel for Food and Wine’s annual food and wine awards.

At University College Cork, she lectures in the area of food history with the School of History, the Food Industry Training Unit and the Centre for Adult Continuing Education. At Adult Continuing Education, she co-ordinates the University’s short course programme.


1. ‘“I’d ate it like chocolate”: the disappearing offal food traditions of Cork City’, in Harlan Walker (ed.), Disappearing foods: proceedings of the Oxford symposium on food and cookery, 1994 (Devon: Prospect Books 1995), 172–88

2. ‘Introduction’, to Darina Allen, Irish traditional cooking (London: Kyle Cathie 1995 and 2012)

3. (with Cathal Cowan) Ireland’s traditional foods: an exploration of Irish local and typical food and drinks (Dublin: Farmer and Farmer, 1997)

4. ‘Porridges, gruels and breads: the cereal foodstuffs of early historic Ireland’, in Michael A. Monk and John Sheehan (ed.), Early medieval Munster: archaeology, history and society (Cork: University Press 1998)

5. A little history of Irish food (London: Kyle Cathie 1998).

6. ‘The re-discovery of gammelsaltet sei’, Petits Propos Culinaires: essays and notes on food, cookery and cookery books, 63 (London & Devon: Prospect Books 1999)

7. Alan Davidson (ed.) The Oxford companion to food (Oxford: University Press 1999). Exclusive Irish food contributor. Articles: ‘Ireland’, 404–06; ‘Ireland and the potato’, 406-07; ‘(Waterford) Blaa’, 78; ‘Bog-butter’, 84; ‘Boxty’, 91–92; ‘Buttered eggs’, 118; ‘Carragheen’, 140; ‘Celtic feasting’, 149–50; ‘Champ’, 155; ‘Colcannon’, 203; ‘Drisheen’, 255–56; ‘Dulse’, 259; ‘Fadge’, 286; ‘Fulachta fiadh’, 324–25; ‘Gur Cake’, 361; ‘Irish stew’, 407; ‘Yellowman’, 858

8. ‘Weddings and wakes: Irish food and rites of passage’, in Anne Wilson (ed.), Food and the rites of passage: Leeds symposium on food history, Food and Society Series (Devon: Prospect Books 2002)

9. Brian Lalor (ed.) The encyclopaedia of Ireland (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 2003). Principal Irish food contributor. Articles: ‘Country house cooking’, 245–46; ‘Diet, present-day’, 256–58; ‘Food, post-Famine’, 406–08; ‘Food, thirteenth to seventeenth centuries’, 408; ‘Medieval food, early’, 710; ‘Medieval food, late’, 710–11; ‘Potato and potato cookery’, 888–90; ‘Prehistoric food’, 892

10. ‘The role of fat in the diet of the early Irish penitent’, in Harlan Walker (ed.), The fat of the land: proceedings of the Oxford symposium on food and cookery, 2002 (Bristol: Footwork 2003)

11. ‘The food culture of Cork’, (with Colin Sage), in John Crowley, Robert Devoy, Denis Linehan and Pat O’Flanagan (eds.), The Atlas of Cork City, (Cork: Cork University Press 2005).

12. ‘Simplicity and integration, continuity and change’, in Darra Goldstein and Kathrin Merkle (eds.), Culinary Cultures of Europe: Identity, Diversity and Dialogue, (Strasbourg: Council of Europe 2005)

13. ‘Pre-Famine diet’ in John Crowley, William J. Smith and Mike Murphy (eds.) Atlas of the Irish Famine (Cork: Cork University Press 2012)

14.’Plant Foods in Ireland before AD 1500’, in Matthew Jebb and Colm Crowley (eds.), Secrets of the Irish Landscape, (Cork: Cork University Press, 2013)