L-R: Derek McClelland, Saoirse Mooney, Danielle Kehoe, Thomas Phelan, Shannon Kingston, Aine Lyng, Sinead O’ Sullivan, James Dunne, Hanna Mathe
Culinary Students of Waterford Institute of Technology engaged with members of the Oireachtas to bring forward and discuss their personal views on issues within the industry. They presented their well-formed thoughts on critical changes, they believe, need to happen within the industry. Issues such as unfair pay, working conditions, mental health and wellbeing of the culinary practitioner and hot topics pertaining to sustainability were all on the menu.
On their trip to Leinster House, last week, the students were greeted by Minister John Paul Phelan, Minister for State for Local Government & Law Reform, who facilitated the panel discussion. Among those in attendance on the day, to hear the student views were; Deputy Pat Deering, FG, Deputy Bobby Alyward, FF, Deputy Kevin O’ Keeffe, FF, Deputy David Cullinane, SF, Senator Jennifer Murnane O’ Connor, FF and members of the Finance Committee.
Final year students in Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Culinary Arts as part of their Media & Visual Arts-Writing about Food module impressed the elected representatives with their thought provoking and critical thoughts, showcasing the need for tighter legalisation in the culinary and hospitality industry. The gathered audience were unaware as to the inadequacies in the industry and invited the students to submit a memorandum of their thoughts for greater reflection.
The students were very impressed with their visit to the Dail and indeed the level of consultation and discourse which they engaged in on the day. Lecturer Edward Hayden said “The student group presented excellently on the day and came across as passionate, affable and articulate to the gathered members of the Oireachtas and it was heartening to see Minister John Paul Phelan and his colleagues receive them so positively”. The group is made from students all around the country and includes Kilkenny based students Thomas Phelan and Aine Lyng.
Also on the day the students consolidated their understanding on other aspects of their students by meeting with PR Guru Joanne Byrne from Presence PR, Aine Toner, Editor Woman’s Way magazine, Helen Cooke, content manager Taste of Dublin as well as celebrity chef Neven Maguire who gave the group a full understanding as to the impact that the media can have on a product/brand/individual.
The WIT bus next travelled to Bord Bia on Mount Street where the students met with David Deeley from the Insights team who went through the work the Irish Food Board does with customers and brands to create and uphold culinary/market integrity
The day was completed by a meal experience at l’Ecrivain restaurant where chef/patron team Derry and Sallyanne Clarke served a six course tasting menu, which the students will now review as part of their media studies.