IFEX 2016 underway after ‘Fresh’ investment

IFEX 2016 underway after ‘Fresh’ investment

Chef diploma students Kimberly Anderson, Tori Gourley, and Nicolas O’Kane from Belfast Met with Toby Wand, managing director, Fresh Montgomery. Photo by Simon Graham/Harrison Photography

Northern Ireland’s largest food, hospitality and retail event, IFEX, has been launched for 2016, with new sponsorship from a major NI company.

Fresh Montgomery, one of the UK’s largest event organisers and owners of IFEX, announced during the launch event on Tuesday November 17 it had invested significantly in the future of the event.

The company played an integral role in working with the NIEO (Northern Ireland Event Organisers) and Titanic Quarter Ltd to bring the new Titanic Exhibition Centre to fruition, and from March 8 to 10, 2016, the 5,000 sqm centre will be home to IFEX 2016.

Toby Wand, managing director of Fresh Montgomery said: “IFEX is firmly-rooted in NI’s hospitality industry and it’s a fantastic event, however, having a venue that remained in the heart of Belfast was key to its future success due to the nature of our exhibitors and visitors.”

As one of the region’s longest-running trade exhibitions, IFEX attracts approximately 5,000 visitors from the food, retail and hospitality sectors over three days. It’s the event where many of Northern Ireland’s most notable chefs – including Michael Deane, Chris Bell and Roisin Gavin – were first recognised and ‘ChefSkills’, which hosts approximately 250 industry and student chefs, remains the heart of the show.

Sean Owens, Salon Culinaire director, IFEX; Caroline McCusker, IFEX event manager, Fresh Montgomery; and Kimberly Anderson, Belfast Met culinary student
Sean Owens, Salon Culinaire director, IFEX; Caroline McCusker, IFEX event manager, Fresh Montgomery; and Kimberly Anderson, Belfast Met culinary student

Licencing and Catering News, sister magazine of Neighbourhood Retailer magazine, is this year’s media partner for the event, and its publisher Bill Penton said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming thousands of people throughout the licencing, catering, and food service trade to this magnificent event, which is set to be one of the biggest celebrations of Northern Irish hospitality ever.

“Taking place during Northern Ireland’s Year of Food, this will be one of the outstanding events of a calendar packed with celebrations of the local industry, and will act as a major driver for the trade and the economy.

“It is especially exciting that this year’s IFEX will for the first time take place in the incredible Titanic Exhibition Centre, a sensational modern venue that is set to attract a bigger and better crowd than ever before.”

Caroline McCusker, Event Manager of IFEX added: “Almost 80 per cent of available floor space is now secured and we’re working with the Guild of Fine Food to introduce the first-ever Great Taste Market to IFEX, which will feature around 20 ‘great taste’ winning producers from the Province.”

Confirmed exhibitors include show stalwarts – Stephen’s Catering, Henderson Foodservice, Masseys for Catering Equipment, Lynas Foodservice, Matthew Algie, Golden Glen Catering, BD Foods, Nestle Ireland, Suki Tea and Frylite – and there’s also many new names committed to the event including First Choice Catering (full list of exhibitors available at www.IFEXexhibition.co.uk).

IFEX, has a history of being the stomping ground for talented young culinarians. Skills is high on the agenda and the Salon Culinaire, which raises the bar in terms of culinary skills in Northern Ireland, includes La Parade des Chefs, the ChefSkills Theatre and Cold Display/Edible Art.

The ChefSkills Theatre recognises some of the industry’s most promising chefs from both colleges and industry.

Long-standing Salon Culinaire director, Sean Owens said: “ChefSkills at IFEX is one of the most-respected culinary competitions in the UK. Over the years, judges from both the UK and Ireland have witnessed the quality of our culinary students and it’s fitting that in NI’s Year of Food & Drink, we’ll be awarding both student and industry chefs for their talent in working with the finest NI produce.”

IFEX 2016 is taking place on March 8 to 10, 2016, at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, which is situated opposite Titanic Studios. For further information see www.IFEXexhibition.co.uk of follow @IFEX_NI.