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Top Local Food on the Menu at Enterprise Week

10 February 2016

As Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink gets into full swing, businesses in the local food industry are being invited to take part in a special Industry Development Day in Derry as part of Enterprise Week.

The ‘Taste Our Best’ day takes place in the Guildhall on Monday 22nd February featuring a whole host of guest speakers including the BBC’s Paula McIntyre and celebrated Irish food critic Georgina Campbell. The event is open to chefs and producers and will celebrate local food heritage and the food provenance of the region.

The event is organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council with support from Tourism NI and the NI Regional Agri-Food programme under the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Elisha McCallion, encouraged local businesses to sign up for the event. “The North West is starting to really establish a foothold in the food tourism market, which led to the city being acknowledged as runner up last year in the Foodie Towns of Ireland Award.

“We are determined to keep that momentum going, and through supporting and nurturing the wealth of local talent we hope to make food tourism one of the major attractions of the region. I hope to see a great turnout of chefs and food producers for the Industry Development Day and I know it will inspire and inform all those who attend.”

Tourism Officer with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Mary Blake, who organised the event, said the day would offer some invaluable advice for local chefs and producers: “I would really recommend the event for anyone working in the industry as it will offer the opportunity for them to find out more about the many ways they can engage with the programme for NI Year of Food.

“I am delighted to welcome so many influential figures who will explore various aspects of the industry. This is a fantastic year of opportunity for our local food businesses and I hope to see a great turn out on the day. This year the theme is ‘Love Local’ and the focus is on the use of high quality locally produced ingredients, cooked to the highest standards. We are inviting chefs, producers and real foodies to register their interest.  Places are limited so booking is essential.

The organisers are delighted to welcome among the top speakers, Charlie Turnbull, whose success in the cheese industry in Dorset has led to him becoming a judge in the World Cheese Awards.

A number of local businesses will also be speaking at the event including Martina Rogers from Northbound Brewery who will talk about her passion for the production of craft beer and the journey towards establishing a successful craft brewery. She will be joined by Sean Harrigan from the Sooty Olive whose travels to locations like Iceland and Sweden have added an international twist to the locally sourced ingredients which the restaurant prides itself on.

As a director of Slow Food UK and Chair of Slow Food NI local chef Paula McIntyre will be looking at the shifting focus from fast food to slow, and the resulting movement which has recently seen the establishment of a new NW Slow Food Convivium for the region.

A whole host of top local foodies will be there including Derry based chef and food writer Emmett McCourt, whose growing international profile is carrying the local message far and wide. Donal Doherty from Harry’s Restaurant, Una Kinkaid from Pier 59 Seafood Restaurant and Simon Dougan from the Yellow Door will also be on hand to talk about the importance of celebrating local produce.

For more information on the Industry Development Day and the full Enterprise Week programme go to www.derrystrabane.com/enterpriseweek