Restaurant & Food news

Milestone year ahead as IFEX celebrates 25th expo in NI

From left, Caroline McCusker, IFEX event manager; Paul Cunningham, head chef at Brunel’s Restaurant and IFEX 2018 Chef of The Year; and Soraya Gadelrab, IFEX event director.

IFEX 2020 will be home to thousands of visitors, hundreds of exhibitors and Northern Ireland’s hottest culinarians, as the event returns to the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast, celebrating its 25th anniversary, since the biennial expo first opened its doors in 1970.

Taking place over March 24-26, 200-plus companies from across Ireland will be making IFEX their home for three days in a bid to make new valuable contacts and increase business from some of the expected 6,000-plus visitors expected.

“Spanning over 6,000 square metres, IFEX is the biggest event in Northern Ireland for the food, drink, hospitality and retail sectors,” said Caroline McCusker, IFEX event manager.

“As a trade event that really galvanises all of those within the industry, it is important for us to keep evolving and growing the show to ensure that IFEX remains the industry event to attend. With six months to go, we’re delighted that so many key industry players as well as new brands have already joined the growing exhibitor list, so we’ve high hopes for the 2020 event.”

IFEX is one of Northern Ireland’s most successful trade shows and central to the show is the Salon Culinaire, which includes the ChefSkills Theatre, and the highly contended Chef of The Year title.

Since winning IFEX Chef of the Year in 2018, which coincided with the launch of his new restaurant, Brunel’s in Newcastle, Chef Paul Cunningham, has had an incredible journey.

“ChefSkills at IFEX is one of the most-respected culinary competitions in the UK so it really was a huge honour to be named NI Chef of the Year 2018,” said Cunningham. “The list of former winners is so impressive and to have my name included in such illustrious company is a real honour.

“Winning the title came after a lot of determination, hard work and practice but it was worth it, especially after coming so close in 2016 when I was named as runner-up. This year, some of my team will be competing so I plan on visiting IFEX to support them, but also to source new suppliers and hopefully discover new ideas and solutions that’ll be of benefit to Brunel’s.”

Approximately 200 exhibitors are expected to showcase their goods and services at IFEX over the three days, with exhibitors including some of Northern Ireland’s biggest names in foodservice including: Henderson Group, Hugh Jordan, Golden Glen, Matthew Algie, and JD Catering.

Mark Stewart-Maunder, business development director, Henderson Foodservice, said: “Following on from a successful IFEX Exhibition in 2018, we are really looking forward to the show returning early next year. It’s an incredibly important event for Henderson Foodservice as we can showcase to thousands of visitors from the hospitality industry our inspiring range of solutions, products and new ideas for their menus.

“By delivering a strong presence at the show, we’ve high hopes of securing significantly business for the year ahead.”

IFEX is taking place over March 24-26, 2020 at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast. For further information, visit

To find out more about IFEX and to secure exhibitor space, please contact IFEX Sales Manager Caroline McCusker at [email protected] or call Fresh Montgomery on +44 (0)28 9043 1000.

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