`Fresh thinking tops the menu at Sodexo innovation exhibition and Salon Culinaire
September 15, 2017
The stunning setting of the Cliff at Lyons estate in Co. Kildare was a fitting backdrop to the extremely successful Sodexo Ireland Innovation Exhibition, supplier showcase and Salon Culinaire on Thursday 7 September 2017.
Organised by Julianne Forrestal, executive development chef for Sodexo Ireland, fresh thinking in food topped the menu at a packed day of innovation and insights into international trends and best practice in addition to the showcasing of the culinary expertise of the company’s craft teams at Salon Culinaire and the Chef of the Year Competition. Margot Slattery, country president, opened the day’s proceedings, which was attended by staff and suppliers from all over Ireland.
Grace Binchy, consumer and market insights specialist at Bord Bia, Ireland’s food agency, spoke about national and international food trends. She said, “Achieving a balance of emotional and physical wellbeing is top of the consumer agenda and pure and natural products are still the order of the day. Stripping away the artificial and unnecessary is an important as adding more ‘good stuff’. Food waste is a particularly hot topic for consumers and sustainable actions speaker louder than words. Companies and brands should do all they can to minimise waste in their own supply chains.”
Ciran Madanes, strategic insight manager with Sodexo, spoke about challenging perceptions and consumer trend predictions over the next two years. She said, “While customers are always looking for best value for money, they have shown they are prepared to splurge on selected quality items. Fuzed, the Japanese pop-up, stood out for me at the Salon as it’s a very on-trend cuisine at present. Furthermore, having your food made in front of you provides you with an experience and allows you to customise your food to your personal tastes.”
In the afternoon, David Mulcahy, food development and innovation director for Sodexo UK and Ireland was master of ceremonies for an engaging question and answer session with guests Derry Clarke, Sodexo’s culinary ambassador and chef patron of the Michelin-starred L’Ecrivain in Dublin; Maurice McGeehan, executive chef for Airbnb; Ruth Hegarty, head of community for Chef Network Ireland and James Devine, the UK Craft Guild of Chefs’ 2017 National Chef of the Year.
The Chef of the Year competition was won by Nicky Reid, executive chef for Sodexo at Almac Craigavon who took home the gold medal and Best in Show title, plus a gift voucher from Unilever the competitor sponsors, for his kohlrabi linguine, pecorino emulsion and truffle pesto, followed by
pan roasted hake in dulce butter, smoked cockles, celeriac pomme puree, sea aster, peas and shoots. His dessert was a caramel pink pepper pineapple with pistachios, lime and avocado ice cream.
Nicky will now represent Ireland in the Sodexo UK and Ireland Chef of the Year Grand Final at Hotelympia in London in March 2018.
Julianne Forrestal, executive development chef for Sodexo Ireland, commented, “This year’s combined our annual Salon with the opportunity for our culinary team to take some time away from day to day business to focus solely on food and be exposed to new trends and innovation. Our chefs and business teams were also able to meet suppliers on a one to one basis. We were very happy with the turnout and response.”
Sodexo Ireland is a leading provider of food and facilities management services to clients in business and industry, education, financial services and healthcare. It employs approximately 2,300 staff in 200 locations across Ireland, serves 90,000 people daily and spent over €19 million on Irish food in 2016.