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TUCO takes Winter Conference to Belfast

On Wednesday 5 December, The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) will host their annual Winter Conference at Queen’s University, in the capital of Northern Ireland, Belfast. The theme for this year’s winter conference is ‘Forks in the road’ and will focus on how Brexit will affect the foodservice industry.

Matthew White, chair of TUCO, said, “As an organisation, we are always looking for ways in which we can share best practice, whether it be during a big networking event like our conferences or at one of our brilliant study tours, here in the UK or abroad. Our Winter Conference is a great opportunity to do this, With a stellar line up of speakers secured, delegates can expect to be will be spoiled.”

Kelly Hart (pictured), Campus Food and Drink Manager at Queens University in Belfast and newly appointed TUCO non-executive director, commented, “We are excited to welcome delegates to Belfast to show off our fantastic city and the wonderful campus that we have. We have involved partners such as Food NI to make sure that delegates have the chance to experience true Irish hospitality.”

The one-day event will deliver a host of speakers including Professor Chris Elliott from the University’s Global Food Security Institute. Professor Elliot led the Governments inquiry into horsemeat in the food chain and will deliver a keynote speech on food security post Brexit.

Other speakers on the day include; Stewart Wood, Lord Wood of Anfield who will present a session titled ‘Brexit & UK Universities: What Next for HE after March 2019?’, Professor Paul Smeets, who will give delegates an insight as to why healthy eating might be challenging, and Donald Sloan, founder of the Oxford Cultural Collective. Sloan will be presenting the outcomes of a TUCO commissioned research, covering the impact of hospitality, catering and residence staff on the student experience.

In addition to the day conference, delegates can make the most of taking in the beautiful city of Belfast and attend the Northern Ireland Winter Conference study tour, organised by the award-winning TUCO Academy. The tour will be held from Wednesday 5th December, immediately after the conference, through to Friday 7th December, and offers delegates the opportunity to meet growers, framers and fishermen, as well as some of Northern Ireland's finest chefs.

Hart added, “The study tour promises to highlight the quality and passion of local producers, many of which not only sell their produce in Northern Ireland but across the United Kingdom. Delegates will also have the opportunity meet local chefs including the Michelin award winning Michael Deane, who the university has a partnership with at his restaurant Deanes at Queens, in Belfast.”