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IFEX Cooked Up A Storming Event

01/04/2014 11:06:11

“We had high hopes for Fresh Montgomery’s first-ever IFEX event as visitor pre-registrations were ahead of previous years in the lead up to the show, however IFEX 2014 exceeded all of our expectations!” comments Soraya Gadelrab, Event Director of IFEX.

"We had high hopes for Fresh Montgomery's first-ever IFEX event as visitor pre-registrations were ahead of previous years in the lead up to the show, however IFEX 2014 exceeded all of our expectations!" comments Soraya Gadelrab, Event Director of IFEX.

With footfall up 15%, exhibitors reporting excellent business and overwhelming positive feedback from visitors and exhibitors alike, IFEX 2014 really did serve up a show that will benefit all of those involved in the months and years ahead.

5,300 people attended IFEX, which took place over three days at the King's Hall Pavilion, and trade was brisk. The doors opened daily at 10am, visitors flocked to the show to be met by a wealth of new products and services from almost 100 exhibitors.

Exhibitor stands were both impressive and innovative, with IFEX stalwarts, Lynas Foods housing an 'in-stand' café for both customers and new contacts. Henderson's Foodservice hosted many of its suppliers and launched a number of new artisan products including cheese handcrafted in the Sperrin Mountains from family-run Tamnagh Foods.

Exhibitors' efforts to showcase their businesses in the best possible manner really added vibrancy to the event and for visitors, they came hungry sampling some of the thousands of quality food and drink products that were on offer. Many of the stands had sizzling chefs cooking up a storm with their daily demonstrations and there was not just one, but two Irish Latte Art Champions at the show.

DAY ONE: IFEX was officially opened on Tuesday 11th March by Mr David Small, Deputy Secretary at the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, who joined Toby Wand, MD and Soraya Gadelrab, Event Director, both of Fresh Montgomery, and Sean Owens, Director of the Salon Culinaire on the podium.

Mr Small praised the quality of local produce on display and also welcomed the large crowds on the first day of the event saying: "Employing almost 27,000 people*, the food and drink processing sector is one of the most important to our economy in the north, worth approximately £4 billion.

"The sector is targeting further significant growth through the aims and objectives outlined in Going for Growth, the report of the Agri-Food Strategy Board. The Report outlines the need for a single, secure supply chain underpinned by sustainability for producers and processors alike and events like IFEX will only help to secure further expansion for the sector."

Also taking place on the first day was the Federation of Small Businesses' networking event that was attended by approximately 50 delegates. Award-winning chef, Michael Deane, delivered a seminar for members and InterTradeIreland informed attendees of the financial support available to help them develop new cross border export sales opportunities.

DAY TWO: On the second morning of the show, the highly-respected Product of the Show Awards were announced. Taking home the top accolade, Stephen's Catering Equipment Co. were awarded Overall Product of the Show for its Garland Group Induction cooking technology by an independent panel of judges that included Glyn Roberts, CEO of NIIRTA.

The Judges were looking for all-round excellence among the exhibitors' products in categories such as catering equipment, food & drink and technology.

Glyn Roberts, CEO of NIIRTA and Product of the Show judge commented: "The Garland Group Induction equipment from Stephen's Catering is an extremely smart piece of technology. It was a worthy winner for the Overall Product of the Show accolade due to its efficiency and green credentials, which includes delivering significant energy savings of 50% for food establishments.

"All of the finalists' products were extremely impressive and they're great examples of the innovative food, drink, retail and hospitality products and solutions that were exhibited at IFEX."

Other award-winning companies included CBE, Suki Tea and Golden Glen Catering who were awarded gold. Receiving a silver accolade for their products or services were Masseys Catering and Yummy Bakes, and Luscombe Organic Drinks, Cunninghams ACR and Leggygowan Farm Ltd all received bronze awards.

Soraya Gadelrab, Event Director of IFEX adds: "For the Overall Product of the Show winner – Stephen's Catering – and to all of the finalists, we sincerely hope that this industry endorsement and recognition that you received at IFEX will help to generate new business in the months ahead."

SALON CULINAIRE: Celebrating skills and excellence were the 250 strong contingent of student and industry culinarians who took part in the Salon Culinaire. With 14 individual category competitions in The ChefSkills Theatre, Edible Art and the La Parade des Chefs culinary colleges team event, hundreds of medals were awarded over the three days.

Supported by the Department for Employment and Learning (DELNI), Stephen's Catering Equipment Co. and Flogas, Salon Culinaire was a hotbed of activity with top accolades being announced for Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) Northern Ireland Chef of the Year, Junior Chef of the Year and Student Culinarian of the Year.

Shaun Hanna, chef and co-owner of the Linen Hill Kitchen & Deli at The Outlet in Banbridge was named the DARDNI Chef of the Year. Competing at the Salon Culinaire since he was 16, Sean has won many accolades over the past 20 years however this was his first entry into the prestigious Chef of the Year competition.

The DARDNI Chef of the Year trophy was presented to Shaun by Permanent Secretary for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Noel Lavery, who added:

"DARD has been supporting the IFEX Chef of the Year competition since 1995. The competition helps show the links between our farming industry, the culinary environment and the successful agri-food supply chains that we have in Northern Ireland.

"Chefs here are incredibly fortunate to have some of the finest producers and artisan companies on their doorstep and it's a testament to our agri-food industry that Northern Ireland's international reputation is continuing to grow.

"I would like to congratulate Shaun and the other five finalists for their creative and talented use of our local products and I wish each of them well in their culinary careers."

Tadgh McNamara from The Apartment, Belfast, was named runner-up in the Chef of the Year. The judges commented that standards in this competition were exceptionally high with three silver and three gold medals being awarded to the six finalists.

Other notable winners from the Salon Culinaire events included:

  • IFEX Young Chef of the Year: Andrew Leonard from Lough Erne Resort
  • Student Culinarian of the Year: Paddy Phillips with Zoe Keller (Commis) from Galway Mayo Institute of Technology.
  • Northern Ireland Caloriewise Award, sponsored for the Food Standards Agency: Cathy Adamson from Sodexo
  • Northern Ireland Culinary Ability Award, gold B: Michael Auld from Dr B's Kitchen
  • Decorative Exhibit, gold honours: Kevin Ward, Sheraton Hotel, Athlone

FIT FOR A KING: La Parade des Chefs team competition featured four teams of eight from NI culinary colleges, operating in a glass-fronted, 'real time' restaurant setting, preparing, cooking for and serving 60 covers each.

Each of the teams delivered a performance that was fit for a king, delivering 5 star cooking and service to diners at La Parade des Chefs. For the second consecutive IFEX, students from Belfast Metropolitan College came out on top, and for the first-time ever, the winning team was awarded a gold medal with honours by the judges.

IFEX, Northern Ireland's biggest food, drink, retail and hospitality event took place from Tuesday 11th March, 2014 until Thursday 13th March 2014 at the King's Hall Pavilion, Belfast.

Exhibitors included Stephens Catering Equipment Co, Lynas Foodservice, Masseys for Catering Equipment, Bunzl Rafferty, Bunzl McLaughlin, Henderson Foodservice, Golden Glen, B.D. Foods, Timepoint, Little Big Shot, Suki Tea, Morelli's Ice-cream, Bewley's, Brakes, Bunzl McLaughlin, Bailies Coffee Company, Nestle Professional, Niks Tea, Scomax, Rich Sauces, Solmatix and Trailblazer BBQ amongst others.

As THE trade event for the food, retail and hospitality industry, IFEX returns in 2016! Register your interest now with the team at Fresh Montgomery.

-ends –

*DARDNI Northern Ireland Agri-Food Sector, Key Statistics document, June 2013

IFEX Product of the Show winners:

Overall Winner: Stephens Catering Equipment Co. - Garland - Group-Induction

Gold Winners:

  • CBE - CBE/PayPal Mobile Payments Platform
  • Suki Tea - Dark Cocoa Tea
  • Golden Glen Catering - Middleton Gluten Free Batter

Silver Winners:

  • Massey Catering – High Speed Panini Grill
  • Yummy Bakes – Posh Scone

Bronze Winners:

  • Luscombe Organic Drinks – Sicilian Lemonade
  • Cunninghams ACR - PAR EverServ Sure Check FS
  • Leggygowan Farm Ltd - Soft Cheese Curd 

What the industry says about IFEX…

"IFEX provided us with a great platform to launch our new FoodCheck solution into the Irish market." Ciaran Gallagher, Marketing, Kelsius


Opening Times

Tuesday 20 March: 10am – 6pm
Wednesday 21 March: 10am – 6pm
Thursday 22 March: 10am – 4pm

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