Food is an essential part of the visitor experience. Northern Ireland's food, like our golf, is coming to the fore. The UK Guild of Fine Foods has awarded produce from Northern Ireland with the title of 'UK Supreme Champion' two years running. Three local foods have gained 'Protected Geographical Indication' status from the European Union meaning they are held in similar regard as 'Parma Ham' and 'Champagne'.
The strength of our produce means we have opportunities to differentiate ourselves as a destination through our food offer, tell our stories and even motivate travel. This Masterclass will explore Northern Ireland's potential to develop an all round excellent core food offer, look at the ways in which we can develop our food tourism offer and will also provide an opportunity to meet some of NI's 'Great Taste Award' winners and to sample their produce.
Matthew O'Callaghan is Founder and Chairman of Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association. He has led a ten year campaign to protect the pie under European legislation including in the High Court and Court of Appeal. Matthew is also Founder and Chair of the UK Protected Food Names Association - fifty of the UK's most iconic foods, worth over £1 billion. He has supported a number of applications for protected food name status e.g. Newmarket Sausages, Cumberland Sausages. This is a scheme that Matthew has actively promoted throughout the UK.
Matthew is a member of the Leicestershire Tourism Forum and has promoted the concept of food tourism in the Melton area of England, now worth £65m. Matthew also established the East Midlands Food & Drink Festival, British Pie Awards (900 pies judged in 2012) and Artisan Cheese Fair (largest UK cheese fair). Recently Matthew was recognised for his work in food tourism and received the East Midlands Award for Outstanding Contribution to Tourism.
Matthew is often recognised from his appearances in all three series of Great British Bake-Off, BBC The One Show and many UK news programmes. Matthew has also been a guest on the BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine Show, BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, and Radio 5's Live and World Service.
Michele Shirlow - NI Good Food
Michele is a founder of Food NI which works to enhance the reputation of Food from Northern Ireland. Via events, festivals, social media, press and the Taste of Ulster guide Michele promotes our food, so good and the response is overwhelming. 'We want to grow our visitors' food experience, tell them what we've got and bring them back for more...'
Michele is a passionate believer in using our food story to spread a positive message about Northern Ireland. She raised the £800K private sector funding required to create the 'Northern Ireland - Good Food is in our Nature' message delivered via local television and she is a regular contributor to local radio.
Join Michele to hear the story behind what's on our plate, the rise in new local artisan producers and how food is emerging as a key pillar of our tourism message in 2013.
Joining these speakers will be some of Northern Ireland's 'Food Heroes':
• Glenarm Castle Organic Farm
• Punjana Tea
• William Orr and Sons - Comber Potatoes
This Masterclass will include:
• Opportunities to meet other like minded food tourism businesses
• A chance to gain insights from speakers with vast food tourism expertise
• Opportunities to meet local food producers including NI 'Great Taste Award' winners
• A complimentary brunch and light lunch of local produce prepared by 'Yellow Door'
• An optional tour of Montalto Estate
Tourism Northern Ireland
Floors 10-12, Linum Chambers
Bedford Square, Bedford Street
BELFAST BT2 7ES
Tel 028 9023 1221
Fax 028 9024 0960
Textphone 028 9044 1522
This is the industry site of Tourism Northern Ireland. Click here to visit our consumer website, DiscoverNorthernIreland.com