Members of the tourism industry from Kilkenny and across the South East gathered recently at a master-class and networking event on “Making Food and Dining Trends Work for Your Business” at the Brandon House Hotel in New Ross.
The event, organised by Fáilte Ireland, was an opportunity for attendees – a mixture of hospitality owners, managers and executive chefs from the Newpark Hotel, Zuni Restaurant and Town House, Pembroke Hotel and Rivercourt Hotel – to get advice from chef and kitchen consultant John Wood and The Restaurant maître d’ John Healy.
Keynote speaker John Wood, who has worked in some of the best kitchens in the world, focussed not only on the food, but also on the financial success of the business in Ireland. Mr Healy used his expertise to offer the restaurants and hotels tips on how to optimise profits, increase staff retention and perfect the guest experience.
“We are extremely encouraged by the level of interest from our senior hospitality professionals in Kilkenny for this master-class event,” said Amanda Horan from Fáilte Ireland in the South East. “It truly demonstrates a strong commitment by industry leaders to ensure that here in the South East we are up to date with the latest international food and consumer trends and are able to apply these through our use of local foods and ingredients to create unique and distinctive-quality Irish food experiences.”
“Fáilte Ireland’s involvement in food tourism reflects a recognition of the importance of Irish food to the overall tourist experience,” she said. “Time and time again, when asked about their holiday, visitors to Ireland always credit the scenery and the people – we believe food is a great way to link the two and deliver even higher satisfaction.”
Jacinta Dalton, a GMIT lecturer who led the recent interactive platform event “The Foodie Forum” in Galway, completed the day’s expert lineup. She challenged the audience for ways of being more innovative in using social media and marketing to tell their food provenance story and grow their business reputation and success, while Oisin Davis, an all-Ireland Cocktail champion, demonstrated how local food ingredients can play a role in showcasing great Irish culinary cocktails.