The 2018 Sodexo Live Ireland Salon and Innovation Day was once again held in the glorious surroundings of Cliff at Lyons in Kildare on Thursday 13 September 2018 at which ‘flexatarianism’, experiential dining, fermentation and the relationship between gut bacteria and mental health were some of the thought-provoking topics on the menu for the company staff. Six full-time front- line employees, who successfully completed the two-year Graduate Hospitality Programme at Dublin Institute of Technology in partnership with Sodexo Ireland were recognised and seven more staff are due to graduate in 2019.
The 2018 Sodexo Ireland Chef of the Year competition results were announced and Nicholas Reid (pictured) executive head chef at Almac, Craigavon, retained his Chef of the Year Ireland title with a Silver and Best in Class for his chargrilled Winter vegetable salad with black truffle custard and bulgar wheat, followed by Himalayan salt aged rack of lamb with smoked kohlrabi and a dessert of blood orange chocolate tart, blood orange sorbet and brûléed blood oranges.
Julianne Forrestal, executive development chef, said, “Sodexo Live celebrates the culinary skill of our people and showcases the latest innovations in food trends and FM, with thought leadership workshops, a supplier retail village and a host of street food concepts and ideas to savour. It’s a vital element of our people and craft development programme.”
Ciran Madanes, insight manager, Sodexo UK and Ireland spoke about the rise in ‘flexatarianism’ - people eating plant-based proteins, and experiential dining, where people were actively seeking dining experiences with others. The second speaker, Ailbhe Walsh, who has a Masters in Nutrition, is fermentation specialist with the Fumbally Café in Dublin and generated considerable interest with her talk on creating and nurturing all things fermented and the link between gut bacteria and mental health. In the afternoon, David Mulcahy, food innovation director, Sodexo UK and Ireland, presided over an audience with Ciran, Ailbhe, Nathan Dimond, head chef, Cliff at Lyons, Tom Doorley, restaurant critic for the Irish Daily Mail and TV show, ‘The Restaurant’ and Dee Laffan, the newly appointed editor for Food & Wine magazine.