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BrookLodge Hotel Shows Students That The Future is Food
17 May 2016
Manor House Hotels has long enjoyed a reputation for the quality of its food offering, not least because our 28 members’ menus are created around the wonderful local ingredients found in the fields, rivers and sea close to their properties.
The BrookLodge Hotel & Macreddin Village, which is located in Co. Wicklow (known as the Garden of Ireland), has joined forces with Bord Bia (Irish Food Board) and The TASTE Council of Ireland to help inspire the next generation of Irish food entrepreneurs.
Last week proprietor and vice chair of The TASTE Council Evan Doyle and head chef James Kavanagh played host to 22 transition year students from St. Mary’s College, Arklow who are among the thousands of young people from schools right across Ireland engaged in The Future is Food programme.
The Future is Food is a programme created jointly by Bord Bia and The TASTE Council of Ireland to engage transition year students with Ireland’s artisan food industry through practical insight and real-life experience as a way of inspiring the next generation of Irish food entrepreneurs and advocates. It contains twenty NCCA (National Council of Curriculum Assessment) approved lesson plans that focus on topics such as entrepreneurship, food origin and Bord Bia’s Origin Green sustainability programme, as well as research, new product development and marketing.
The students kicked-off their food marketing project with a whistle-stop tour of The BrookLodge Hotel & Macreddin Village’s two restaurants, including The Strawberry Tree, Ireland’s only certified Organic and Wild Restaurant, kitchens, bee hives and wild foods pantry and were given an exclusive wild foods masterclass as an introduction to the artisanal food sector and some of the ways in which small local producers are creating cordials, chutneys, jams, pestos, pickles and jellies from ingredients freely available in Ireland’s woodlands and hedgerows.
At the end of the visit, Evan Doyle and James Kavanagh briefed the students on the project that they will be working on right up to the summer break. Breaking into two teams, the group has been challenged to work with two small local artisan producers – the Organic Herb Company and Woodenbridge Cottage Preserves – helping them to develop their marketing in a way that will enable each producer to reach more consumers right across Ireland.
Evan Doyle, proprietor of The BrookLodge Hotel & Macreddin Village and vice chair of The TASTE Council of Ireland said that it was a joy to be able to introduce the students to small artisan producers and to mentor them as they work on their project.
“The programme allows for a unique insight into what it is to be an artisan producer or food professional running a real-life commercial enterprise with all the opportunities and challenges that presents,” he said.
“The hotel sector relies heavily on the food industry and, as we see right across the Manor House Hotels portfolio, local, seasonal ingredients and artisan food products are what makes our menus authentic.”
“The food sector of the future relies on creative individuals who have what it takes to run viable businesses. We are delighted to be working with St. Mary’s College and really look forward to seeing how the students approach their marketing project and the ways in which they think small local producers can better promote their products.”
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