GMIT Foodie Forum to merge with Gastronomy West to hold largest culinary event in the region

The Foodie Forum team, (l-r): Cormac Handy, Colin Gilligan, and Jacinta Dalton, lecturers in GMIT’s College of Tourism and Arts.

The Foodie Forum team, (l-r): Cormac Handy, Colin Gilligan, and Jacinta Dalton, lecturers in GMIT’s College of Tourism and Arts.

Following two successful events in 2012 and 2013, the Foodie Forum is to return to Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology on Tuesday February 3. This hugely successful event, the only one of its kind in an educational environment, is already attracting significant interest from chefs, food producers, craft brewers, restaurateurs, and culinary enthusiasts from around the country.  

Next year’s event will see the GMIT Foodie Forum team merge with Gastronomy West, a symposium which brings together experts and keynote speakers on gastronomy and tourism. Speakers will present on a range of topics such as eco and adventure tourism, ‘Seaweed and longevity – Improving the Irish diet with the consumption of Seaweed’, ‘The tourism experience in a rural environment’, ‘Food trail development’, and ‘Managing your digital shop window - A case study presentation’.   

As well as participating in these contemporary debates, delegates will have an opportunity to partake in food, wine, spirits, and craft beer masterclasses as well as visit some of the best artisan producers from the region who will be displaying and offering food tastes in the Made in Galway artisan market. An impressive line-up of contributors has joined the Foodie Forum team in their quest to educate on the growing importance of the provenance of food, the support of local suppliers, and the use of seasonal Irish food.

Some of Ireland’s most celebrated chefs will be present on the day, and a collaborative demonstration by Sally McKenna and Kevin Thornton will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the event. Speakers on the craft beer industry include Caroline Hennessy and Kristen Jensen, authors of the hugely successful Sláinte -The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer and Cider, and in the Meet the Brewers area visitors will have an opportunity to speak with the craft brewers and sample some products.

“The Foodie Forum is a particularly inspired initiative because it gives students what is the rarest thing in their days as a student: real live events under real live pressure in live time,” said  John McKenna, a leading food commentator and author of the McKenna’s Guides series. “They have to step out of their student skins into the real world, and while it's certainly a cathartic experience it's an experience they will never forget.”

According to Jacinta Dalton, GMIT lecturer and one of the event organisers, the event takes food education to a different level. “As well as giving our students the opportunity to interact with key players in the Irish food industry, it creates an opportunity for chefs, restaurateurs, producers, academics,  business advisors, and members of the general public to debate, mingle, network, and in many cases forge very successful and lucrative business relationships,” she explained.  

“The event has proved to be a highlight on the national food events calendar and is a huge success due in part to the interactive nature of the day. We believe that this enhanced format with Gastronomy West for 2015 will offer even more choice to visitors and look forward to yet another hugely successful, educational food event.”

The event is open to the general public and industry colleagues. Admission is by ticket only and the event is expected to attract a large number of visitors. All wishing to attend can reserve tickets on www.thefoodieforum.net For regular updates follow the team on Twitter @thefoodieforum and @gastrowest.

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