Cheese will get people cooking, says top Belfast chef
Cheese could be the answer to getting people back into the kitchen, according to chef Trish Deseine.
The Belfast woman became a household name as a chef on French TV and was named one of French Vogue's 40 most influential women of the noughties.
After graduating from Edinburgh University, she moved to Paris, and then lived in the south of France - before moving home.
Ms Deseine chaired the European Cheese Symposium, hosted by the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland, at the Merchant Hotel.
Ms Deseine, who has written 12 cookbooks and hosted three cookery shows for RTE, told the Belfast Telegraph how she was supporting the cause of the Northern Ireland Dairy Council and its campaign to bring cheese back to the province's fridges.
"Food TV doesn't get people back into the kitchen - people watch TV, but they don't cook. It's actually the opposite which is happening," she said.
"And they are cooking fewer and fewer recipes from cookbooks - it's absolutely soul destroying when you do the job I used to do.
"Cooking is becoming much more of a weekend hobby and people are not cooking as much as they used to.
"Food TV is actually something that is not helping people to start cooking. And that's why cheese is such a wonderful product.
"It really is an easy 'in', it's fantastically creative and it's such a wonderful product.
"That we do have all these artisan cheese makers with lots of ideas, we have a sort of cocktail culture that's come in with cheese - it pairs brilliantly with lots of cocktails - so it fits with all the new trends."
Guest speakers at the event also included a neuroscientist, a food historian and a super-taster as well as representatives from the Danish and Norwegian dairy councils.
Professor Edmund T Rolls, Oxford Centre for Computational Neuroscience and University of Warwick, and Lisbeth Ankersen, super-taster and chief executive of Innova Consult, Denmark, examined the science of taste, analysing the scientific basis behind what makes cheese taste the way it does.
The pair invited guests to sample five Northern Ireland cheeses and to record the flavours in tasting notes.
Dr Mike Johnston, chief executive of the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland, said the event was aimed at getting people to talk more about cheese as a means to increase cheese consumption.