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Armagh chefs create 'hospitality forum'


Simon Dougan, owner and chef of The Yellow Door

Simon Dougan, owner and chef of The Yellow Door

Simon Dougan, owner and chef of The Yellow Door

Top chefs are attempting to turn the Orchard County and beyond into a new food destination.

They have teamed up to create a 'hospitality forum' as part of the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council's Food Heartland initiative.

Since its launch, the forum has taken part in a range of demonstrations, pop-up cookery schools and restaurants, and events attended by over 40,000 people.

Simon Dougan, owner and chef of The Yellow Door, said: "The forum wants to promote the entire food experience and encourage greater consumer appreciation of food integrity.

"By working with other chefs, producers and the local council, we're already starting to see the benefits.

"There's greater awareness of what produce is out there and restaurants are looking for ways to source local ingredients where possible. We're also getting to know producers, sharing best practice and developing new products."

Speaking during a visit by the forum to producers, Mervyn Steenson, chef at Groucho's On The Square in Richhill, said: "In the past decade the dining scene in the Food Heartland has been transformed with new gourmet restaurants opening due to demand.

"Together, we want to go further and make this area Northern Ireland's premier foodie destination."

Part of the hospitality forum's job is aiming to raise awareness of top produce and introduce new food-related experiences.

The next hospitality forum meeting is at the 4 Vicars restaurant in Armagh.

Coming up are the Armagh Food & Cider Festival, which runs from tomorrow to Sunday, the Richhill Harvest Fayre at Halloween and the Georgian Banquet in Armagh in November.

Belfast Telegraph