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IFEX 2016 underway after ‘Fresh’ Investment

Sean Owens, Salon Culinaire Director, IFEX; Caroline McCusker, IFEX Event Manager, Fresh Montgomery and Kimberly Anderson, Belfast Met Culinary Student

Kimberly Anderson, Tori Gourley and Nicolas O’Kane, VRQ Level 3 Advanced Professional Chef Diploma Students from Belfast Met with Toby Wand, Managing Director, Fresh Montgomery

Kimberly Anderson, Tori Gourley and Nicolas O’Kane, VRQ Level 3 Advanced Professional Chef Diploma Students from Belfast Met with Toby Wand, Managing Director, Fresh Montgomery

AT THE launch of IFEX 2016 – Northern Ireland’s largest food, hospitality and retail event – it was revealed that Fresh Montgomery, one of the UK’s largest event organisers and owners of IFEX, has invested significantly in the future of IFEX.

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 8th – 10th March 2016, the 5,000 sq.m. Titanic Exhibition Centre will be home to IFEX 2016.

Toby Wand, Managing Director of Fresh Montgomery explains: “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.

“We joined forces with our fellow event organisers in the NIEO to help to establish the Titanic Exhibition Centre, and through our involvement, Fresh Montgomery has given a long-term commitment to ensuring IFEX remains the market-leading food, drink, retail and hospitality trade expo in Northern Ireland.”

As one of the Province’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.

Caroline McCusker, Event Manager of IFEX adds: “With 2016 being Northern Ireland’s Year of Food & Drink, there’s a huge appetite for IFEX 2016. Almost 80% 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)

Once again, the show is retaining its excellent relationships with industry associations in the Province and will be working hard to ensure cross-industry support.

As the TRADE event for the food, retail and hospitality industry, 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. Running over the three days, there’s a series of exciting back-to-back live hot competitions, including the hotly contended Northern Ireland Chef of the Year and Northern Ireland Junior Chef of the Year accolades.

Long-standing Salon Culinaire Director, Sean Owens concludes: “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 the 8th – 10th March 2016 at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, which is situated opposite Titanic Studios.  For further information see www.IFEXexhibition.co.uk @IFEX_NI.

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