Food On The Edge 2019 explores the role of food in migration and identity

Food On The Edge 2019, which took place in Galway this week, saw more than 600 people attend to hear from some 50 of the world's best chefs and experience some of the best in Irish produce in the artisan food village.

The two-day international food symposium, which took place in NUI Galway on Monday and Tuesday, featured a programme of talks, debates, and masterclasses around the topics of identity, migration, and food as an act of diplomacy.

Alex Atala (DOM, Brazil ) closed proceedings on the first day of the event with his talk on ‘Knowledge, Eating, Cooking, Producing and Nature’. “If cooking is a political act, I am an activist," he told the audience. "We can create the change. We eat at least three times a day, we can act at least three times a day.”

Ben Shewry (Attica, Australia ) opened the second day of the symposium with a similar line of thought with his food story titled ‘Shut Up and Listen’. “Food can be the thing that changes the mainstream," he said.

The main theme of Food On The Edge 2019 was migration, and both days of the symposium saw important conversations take place around the topic of how food travels and how that affects people's perception of food.

Arlene Stein (Terroir Hospitality, Toronto ) spoke today about ‘#noborders: Food as a Tool for Diplomacy’, and Romy Gill MBE (Romy’s Kitchen, Bristol ) also spoke about the theme of migration with her talk ‘From One Homeland to Another’, describing the challenges she faced as a woman opening a restaurant in a small town.

Rosio Sanchez (Hija de Sanchez, Copenhagen ) spoke about ‘Authenticity in Migration’ in a talk which was moderated by Jacinta Dalton from GMIT, where she argued that the word ‘authenticity’ was redundant. Ivan Brehm (Nouri, Singapore ) also addressed this concept of authenticity and identity in food in his talk ‘Crossroads Cooking: Challenging Authenticity in Food’. “Culture is always in flow," he said. "Once you try to capture or contain it, like a bird you kill it. Tradition turns into heritage. There is no culture without appropriation.”

JP McMahon said: “We had a great diversity of speakers and topics this year, with a particular focus on the theme of migration and how we can think about Irish food, not only at home but also abroad. We’ve had many speakers talk about the issues that are challenging for them. The concept of identity is a really important part of what we’re talking about, and also food sovereignty in terms of how the food that we produce reflects upon us. Lastly, the issue of family came up so much, and not only family in terms of how you run a restaurant or food businesses as a parent, but also how you create a family in your restaurant or in your food space, and how you take care of people and mind them going forward.”

For more information see www.foodontheedge.ie, check out @FoodOnTheEdge on social media and follow the official hashtag #FOTE2019.

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