Spice Bags Podcast Panel


Co-hosts Blanca Valencia, Mei Chin, and Dee Laffan explore their mutual passion that is international food and the people who create it in fortnightly episodes. As Ireland’s most multicultural food media team, they talk about how diverse cuisines are shaping modern Irish palates;  do fun deep-dives into the global context and history of certain foods; and most importantly, they interview the individuals who are responsible for bringing their cultures to our plates and minds. Spicebags has collaborated with Taste of Dublin and is nominated for the Irish Food Writing Award for Best Food Podcast. This podcast is part of Headstuff, Ireland’s largest podcast network. 

 Mei Chin 

Mei is a writer who has contributed to Saveur, Gourmet, Gilt Taste, Lucky Peach, The New York Times, Vogue, Rolling Stone, Fiction, and Bomb. In Ireland Mei has written for the Irish Independent, the Irish Times and the Sunday Times. She was the 2005 winner of the James Beard MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award, as well as the recipient of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Bert Greene journalism award for Best Culinary Writing in 2010 and 2013. Her essays have been anthologized in Cornbread Nation and Best Food Writing, and she has taught food writing at Yale University, New Haven. A graduate of Wesleyan University, Mei is a native of Connecticut and a longtime resident of New York City. She currently spends her time between Dublin and New York. 


Dee Laffan

Originally from Tipperary, Dee has been editor of Food & Wine IrelandEasy Food MagazineYes Chef! Magazine and Publishing Director of fft. Magazine. She has written for the Irish IndependentSunday IndependentThe Irish Times and The Sunday Times. She is producer and host of Dee’s BiteSize Chats (IGTV series) and is a food contributor on Ireland AM  morning TV show. 

Her passion for Irish food has led her to many roles in the industry: a member of Irish Food Writers’ Guild, chair of Slow Food Dublin, host of the BasteCamp stage at The Big Grill Festival, a member of the crew with Theatre of Food at Electric Picnic & Latitude Festivals (UK), and a judge of the annual Blas na hÉireann – Irish Food Awards. 

Blanca Valencia

 Born in Spain, Blanca Valencia grew up in Central America and has lived in London, China, France and the U.S. She is a cook, teacher and speaker and a former management consultant. She has a Grand Diplome from London’s Le Cordon Bleu and her experience includes running the test kitchen Books For Cooks (London), a stage at elBullihotel (Seville, Spain), and running the school at Alambique (Madrid). She collaborates regularly with the Spanish Commercial Offices and Cervantes Institutes in the U.S. and Ireland. 

Blanca loves to help others, especially teaching young children to cook and making cooking classes affordable to a wider public. Her volunteer experience includes Common Threads, Purple Asparagus, the City of Madrid, and the Chicago Cultural Center.  

Currently, she is doing a Masters in Gastronomy and Food Studies at TUD.