Over three days of keynotes, discussions, academic presentations and social events, delegates will consider how to develop cities, regions and even countries as food and drink destinations, in ways that deliver tangible benefits to local people. They will share practical solutions to achieving lasting and inclusive community regeneration, including in locations that are facing considerable social, cultural and economic challenges.
The event is inspired by Northern Ireland’s ongoing development as a leading food and drink destination, and reflects a collective desire share knowledge and experience from around the world.
Breaking with the format of traditional conferences, Gastronomy Summit 2022 will unite academics, chefs, producers, writers, activists and destination managers, who are committed to achieving positive change for the communities they represent.
Gastronomy Summit 2022 has three ambitious objectives:
- To build a supportive and sustainable network of organisations and individuals who are committed to developing food and drink destinations in ways that benefit local communities.
- To showcase ways in which food and drink are transforming locations worldwide, as a source of learning and inspiration for others.
- To place Northern Ireland at the centre of an international discussion about the social, cultural and economic power of food, drink and hospitality.
Delegates will be encouraged to share their knowledge and experience and to build working relationships with those who have complementary interests. A diverse range of keynote contributors will reflect on their own projects, which have helped communities flourish.
Keynote speakers include Duncan Morrow, Professor of Politics at Ulster University, who has assisted with the peacebuilding process across Northern Ireland since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. He will consider the role of civil society, including food professionals, in embedding peace and community cohesion.
Chef, author and entrepreneur Gaston Acurio, will reflect on his pivotal role in shaping perceptions of Peru as a world-class gastronomic destination, and on his efforts to extend opportunities to young people from deprived communities through culinary education.
Anna Pollock, leading advocate for regenerative tourism, will consider how those working in food, drink and hospitality can help communities thrive through belief in a higher purpose, combined with collective action.
Author of ground-breaking book Sitopia, Carolyn Steel, will imagine a positive future, in which strong local food systems enhance our health and wellbeing.
The role of education in building community-focused food destinations will be explored by Joxe Mari Aixega, Director of the Basque Culinary Centre in Northern Spain and Andrea Pieroni, who leads the University of the Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy.
Dr Jessica B Harris, widely regarded as the world’s leading commentator on the food of the African Diaspora, will consider how the study of food history can reveal hidden and suppressed stories, and in doing so can build confidence across communities.
Michael Caines MBE, one of the UK’s most respected chefs, will be joined by food, wine and travel writer Marc Millon, to reflect on the cultural transformation of Devon, led by those who support and promote its distinctive culinary culture.
Urban regeneration, through food-focused community projects, will be the focus for chef, writer and activist Zoe Adjonyoh and for Martin Morales, founder of the Ceviche restaurant and arts group, who is now working to support ‘circular economy’ food initiatives.
Why Ulster University?
Professor Una McMahon Beattie, Head of the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management commented:
“Ulster University is committed to making a meaningful civic contribution – to enhancing the wellbeing and economic prosperity of Northern Ireland. We do this by encouraging students and graduates to be active citizens, by producing research that is relevant to local challenges, and by engaging with businesses and cultural bodies that share our values. We also seek to build valuable international relationships, which inform our thinking and approach.
“Gastronomy Summit 2022 should be seen as a statement of our support for developing Northern Ireland as a food, drink and hospitality destination. It will enable us to explore how this can be achieved in ways that engage local people and help communities flourish. Delegates from many different parts of the world will share their distinct experiences, from which we can all learn. The summit should not be seen as a one-off event. It will help to create a community of professionals who will continue to work together to effect positive change in their home locations.”
Giving delegates time to interact informally will be a valuable dimension of Gastronomy Summit 2022. This is when shared interests can be explored in depth and consideration can be given to future collaborative projects.
On the evening of 12th April, chef Martin Morales will prepare a Peruvian dinner, with the assistance of Culinary Arts Management students from Ulster University. Martin will incorporate fine Northern Irish ingredients, to achieve a marriage of cultures. On 13th April, a group of Northern Ireland’s most respect chefs will prepare a dinner that celebrates local produce. To be held in Belfast City Hall, this event will showcase the role that food and drink are playing in stimulating local pride and enhancing the reputation of Northern Ireland around the world.
Optional walking tours will highlight aspects of local culture. One will explore the history of Northern Ireland’s years of conflict, often referred to as the ‘troubles’, and the peacebuilding that has been ongoing since 1998. Others will focus on Belfast’s emblematic street art (murals), which document aspects of the city’s divisive politics; and the recent development of Belfast as a gastronomic destination.
To book a place for the event or to find out more, visit: Gastronomy Summit 2022 (ulster.ac.uk)