(Sean Owens, IFEX Salon Culinaire Director, Mena Khan Jalil, chef competing at IFEX and Michael Deane)

Michael Deane to officially open IFEX as event gets set to welcome 6,000 visitors following easing of restrictions


IN JUST under two weeks’ time, Northern Ireland’s premier food, drink, retail and hospitality event – IFEX 2022 – will open its doors at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast.

Taking place from Tuesday 29th – Thursday 31st March, approximately 6,000 industry professionals are expected to attend IFEX, where over 150 suppliers and manufacturers will be showcasing the latest products and services in the industry. Free to attend, registration for the show is now open.

Marking the show’s 25th edition, Restauranteur, Michael Deane - who was the first-ever winner of Chef of the Year - will officially open the show, which will also be home to over 250 industry and student chefs who will descend on the Salon Culinaire at IFEX, making it Northern Ireland's largest and most prestigious culinary competition. 

Featuring a jam-packed schedule of culinary competitions, two of the most hotly contended accolades are the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs-supported IFEX Northern Ireland Chef of the Year and Northern Ireland Junior Chef of the Year competitions. 

Reinforcing the importance of IFEX’s Salon Culinaire to the hospitality industry, Michael Deane says: “IFEX is a chance for all chefs – both from industry and education – to benchmark their skills against the best.  It’s imperative to our industry that we compete both on skills and with our incredible produce therefore IFEX is instrumental in helping young chefs to raise their game. 

“It’s where I first earned my stripes and winning Chef of the Year brought considerable publicity to my first venture in Helen’s Bay, Deanes on the Square.  Today, we encourage many of our chefs at Deanes to enter the various competition as it’s hugely beneficial in terms of upskilling, instilling confidence and learning from peers.”

In addition to the ChefSkills Live Theatre at Salon Culinaire, there’s Street Food International and Edible Art competitions.  Ensuring skills is high on the agenda, new for 2022 is the World Skills NI Hospitality Skills Hub, supported by the Department for the Economy.

Organisers are confident that IFEX will demonstrate how business-to-business trade fairs can operate safely and effectively, whilst still driving new business to exhibitors and showcasing the latest products and services to visitors.

Toby Wand, Managing Director of 365 Events Ltd., owners of IFEX, comments: “Celebrating its 25th edition in 2022, IFEX has been the cornerstone expo for the foodservice, catering, and hospitality industries in NI. Needed more than ever before, IFEX is crucial for galvanising the industry and driving new business for exhibitors.”

Toby adds: “Trade exhibitions provide a platform for businesses to meet and collaborate, creating opportunities for businesses both large and small to grow and expand their market reach. It is critically important for businesses, particularly those in the foodservice and hospitality sector to have a location where they can trade, display new products, be inspired, and share their knowledge - It is for this reason we’re excited to see the show open its doors on Tuesday, 29th March.”

Organised by 365 Events Ltd. over 150 companies from Northern Ireland and further afield will be exhibiting and welcoming approximately 6,000 industry professionals who attend the event to do business, source new products and services, make new contacts and learn from fellow industry experts.

IFEX runs from 29th – 31st March 2022 at the TEC, Belfast. A business-to-business event, you can register to attend for free at ifexexhibition.co.uk