The Northern Ireland Hotels Federation’s Taste of Tourism Summit will take place in the Culloden Estate and Spa on April 3rd and 4th when a range of speakers will talk about using food and drink to attract new customers, improve profits, and enhance your reputation.

For any business in the tourism spectrum, food and drink have a central role,” says Janice Gault, Chief Executive of NI Hotels Federation. “It’s important to understand emerging trends, changing consumer needs and what’s in vogue for the traveller seeking an authentic culinary experience. Given that the number of international tourists to Northern Ireland rose in 2015 and in the first six months in 2016, it’s really important that we understand how to make our culinary offering both authentic and attractive. As a society, we want to be involved in our food and we want to know what produce has been used to create the dishes on the menu. For people who enjoy good food, the story behind the dish is equally as important as the way in which it is served and presented. Last year’s inaugural Taste of Tourism Summit was a real success. Delegates had the opportunity to meet artisan producers, sample their unique produce, and then garner insights from experts in the sector who are producing exceptional menus, building loyal customer bases and thriving.”

Attendees at this year’s Summit will also have the pleasure of meeting and sharing in the experience of renowned Michelin star chef, Jun Tanaka, Head Chef and owner of The Ninth, a contemporary restaurant in the heart of London’s buzzy Fitzrovia. Jun has over 20 years’ experience working in London’s top restaurants such as Le Gavroche, The Restaurant Marco Pierre White, and The Square, where he was trained in classic French cuisine by Marco Pierre White, Phillip Howard and the Roux brothers. The Ninth serves up simple but refined French-Mediterranean style dishes that are all made for sharing. Having only opened in November 2015, Jun’s hotly anticipated opening of his first solo restaurant since The Pearl received glowing reviews and it didn’t disappoint, receiving a coveted Michelin star within a year of opening. The restaurant brings a new social element to Michelin dining with sharing plates and dishes for the table. This style of dining will feature at the Taste of Northern Ireland dinner, where Jun will create platters using local star ingredients for a tasting menu. Delegates will also enjoy a Taste of Northern Ireland Breakfast featuring iconic brands, traditional fare and a range of healthy options. This will be followed by a Picnic NI Lunch, which includes a food hamper for sharing, grazing and enjoying the best local products. Curated artisan food and drink will also be served up at an artisan marketplace throughout the day.


The event is sponsored by Tourism Northern Ireland, Invest NI, Tourism Ireland, and the Food Standards Agency NI, along with a range of local suppliers. The Taste of Northern Ireland Gourmet Dinner is supported by Bunzl McLaughlin and the artisan food market is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.