Advent-ilicious

Buyers of the 2020 Cadbury’s Advent Calendar have taken to social media in the last few days to protest at a less than appropriate message featured behind the 4th door in this year’s calendar.

In a year when physical proximity to pretty much everyone outside of your immediate household has – of necessity – been discouraged or forbidden, it’s hardly surprising that exhorting people to “Give hugs at Christmas” seems a little insensitive.

It got me thinking about Advent and the huge seasonal business that has developed around the count-down to Christmas.

Advent is the Christian season beginning on the fourth Sunday before Christmas which involves the annual preparation for the birth of Christ. There are quite a few traditions that mark the Advent season but the one that is simplest and most popular is the Advent Calendar, typically beginning on December 1st and counting down to Christmas Day.

The tradition began when Protestant German families in the mid-19th century started chalking their doors and walls to count the days down to Christmas. Homemade calendars began to appear and by the early 20th century, a few publishing companies produced simple printed calendars.

A German printer named Gerhard Lang then decided to introduce the now very familiar design element of little cut-out doors that could be opened each day to reveal a devotional picture or bible verse. By the 1950s many calendars had started to include simple gifts such as chocolate or a small toy.  

Now though, the Advent Calendar tradition has segued into modern consumerism in a powerful way. For children it’s all about the sweets (with children it’s always about the sweets), for adults it’s a way of self-gifting in the run up to Christmas. And who doesn’t enjoy the indulgence? For many people, it’s been an increasingly weary struggle as this year has worn on and the prospect of a few extra treats in the last lap is a welcome diversion.

We were a little late to the party this year and by the time I got to buying our calendars in the local supermarket, there wasn’t much choice left. I took to the internet to do some research on what might be ordinarily available (as I’m sure I’ll be more organised next year) and discovered that the selection of calendars and brands that offer them is actually quite mind-boggling.

Essentially any product that can be packaged and inserted into a neat-ish sized box is fair game. Beauty and skincare, cheese, gin, wine, chocolate, perfume, nail polish, clothing, even pet treats. Exclusive department stores such as Liberty, Harrods and Fortnum and Mason all have their own versions. Online forums debate the merits and demerits of the various offerings, and offer comparisons with previous years.

The attraction for both buyer and seller is clear. The seller has the chance to introduce a wide range of products (some of which might stick) to a receptive audience; while the buyer gets to try out lots of variety from a favourite brand, without committing huge sums of money. 

In an increasingly secular society, the religious side of all of this can feel somewhat sidelined. We try to broaden things out in our own household, encouraging a moment of contemplation or reflection before the race to open each day’s door. Invariably this is greeted with a groan or two, but it assuages my guilt a little about the extra confectionery being brought into the house and it does allow for extra chat about the meaning of Christmas and the spirit of giving, as well as receiving.

And this year, in particular, that can only be a good thing.

Literal Comforts

From mid March onwards, my phone pinged constantly with new Whats App messages. School, sports club and hobby group updates, friends and family checking in. A constant shared stream of communication which was a welcome distraction against a backdrop of increasingly depressing news and wall-to-wall pandemic coverage.

And there were the jokes.

Memes, videos, song parodies. Twitter responses to evolving events. Much of the humour was cathartic, tapping into the general Zeitgeist and downbeat mood, and in itself a coping mechanism.

The absurdities and anxieties of “Pandemic Living” have lent themselves almost-too-well to dark comedic observations which have both entertained and informed. These have provided a shared release and emotional connectivity at a time when the world felt like it was spinning out of control.

For my own part, I’ve collated a short list of my own favourite quotes & extracts from past and present literary greats which have helped to make sense of this strange period.

On Family Life

“We were together. I forget the rest.” – Walt Whitman

On Coping With Fear and Anxiety

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou

On a Child’s Perspective

“‘Where are we going, Pooh?’ ‘Home, Piglet. We’re going home because that’s the best thing to do right now.’” – A.A. Milne

On Resilience

“If we winter this one out, we can summer anywhere.” – Seamus Heaney

On Isolation

“There are days when solitude is a heady wine that intoxicates you with freedom, others when it is a bitter tonic, and still others when it is a poison that makes you beat your head against the wall.” – Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

On Working From Home (and Home Schooling)

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are” – Theodore Roosevelt

On Community 

“Lean on me, when you’re not strong, I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on. Just call on me brother if you need a hand, we all need somebody to lean on” – Bill Withers (unsurprisingly this song with its uplifting and pertinent lyrics has become an anthem for collective caring during the pandemic)

On Bereavement 

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. That is to have succeeded.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delivering on the “Last Mile”

Many “norms” in how we purchase and eat our food have been well and truly turned on their head in the past few weeks as our habits have changed abruptly, and of necessity, as a result of the pandemic.

Eat-in restaurants have become takeaways. Delis are offering drive by and delivery shopping services. Artisan producers have been scrambling to get a direct to consumer offer up and running. Everyone in the business is ramping up their online presence and looking at new and different ways to reach their customers.

It hasn’t been all plain sailing for the food retailers either. Tesco has already flagged that extra costs to the business this year will be close to £1bn across its operations in Ireland and the UK. This is due to the reduced numbers allowed in stores, extra staff costs in overtime and bonuses and the cost of servicing online sales.

With people now queuing for up to an hour or more to get into supermarkets at busy times, shopping trips are no longer trivial affairs and are being kept to a minimum in most households. Top-up shopping trips in convenience stores are anything but convenient when they involve queuing for a prolonged period.

Add into the mix the fact that smaller retail shops don’t always lend themselves to social distancing. Narrow aisles and locations in urban locations adjacent to busy pavements can make for an uncomfortable customer experience.

While the number of actual shopping trips has greatly reduced, the amount of goods being purchased has increased substantially. In Ireland March 2020 was the biggest month of grocery sales ever recorded with shoppers spending over a quarter more than usual.

The early days of the pandemic saw, rather improbably, a run on toilet paper (no pun intended) as well as long-life cupboard staples such as pasta, rice and sauces. The prospect of an extended period indoors with young children prompted lots of would-be bakers to dust down their cook books and stock up on flour, eggs and sugar. Hungry teens needed extra snacks and sandwich supplies. And with adults being human, and also needing treats and small things to look forward to, chocolate and alcohol featured fairly prominently as well.

A few weeks into restrictions, and as shoppers realised that the food supply chain was intact and there were generally no issues with availability, spending has settled into a kind of normal or at least regular pattern.

An interesting framework developed by research company Neilsen defines different cascading behaviours throughout the trajectory of the pandemic. It’s fairly safe to predict that there will be a longish transition from the current Restricted Living stage to the Living a New Normal stage in the coming weeks and months.

abbreviated_6thresholds
Source: Neilsen

By far the biggest challenge for all players in the food supply chain however has been the so-called “last mile”. This is the final logistical stretch involving the transportation of goods from the point of sale to the end destination (people’s homes). And this has proven to be costly and problematic.

Demand for home deliveries has been unprecedented as people have sought to minimize exposure to crowded environments and the rather ardous chore that shopping has become. With demand far outstripping supply, securing a delivery slot has become equivalent to having the hottest ticket in town. Online shopping orders have increased fivefold. For those who can’t quite believe that they are queuing to get into their local Lidl on a Saturday night, the irony is not lost.

Some of the changes are – I would cautiously say – welcome. Shopping in bricks and mortar stores has, in some respects, become more enjoyable. The shops are less busy. Customers are less likely to push and barge about the place. Distancing at the check out makes for a much more pleasant experience. Perhaps because this is one of the few outside activities that people can do (currently) and everyone seems to be taking their time when they finally get in store.

What other changes might there be, in the short to medium term (and very possibly longer term), to people’s stay-at-home food habits?

  • More conscious and consistent efforts to make meals interesting with experimentation in new ingredients and recipes?
  • Increased frugality and care in food purchase and meal planning leading to a reduction of food waste?
  • Attempts to recreate the restaurant and “eatertainment” experience at home with aperitifs, cheeses and themed meals?
  • More thoughtful food choices which comfort, nourish and protect mind and body?
  • Greater emphasis on meal preparation skills, and handing over the reins to different (and younger) members of the family?
  • Takeaways – standard and new gourmet versions – may well become the ultimate weekly treat, providing a welcome break from monotony

All eyes are now on China to learn from their experiences of the pandemic. What is becoming apparent is that as Chinese people were compelled to stay at home for a lengthy period at the peak of the epidemic, the “homebody economy” has become the new normal. This reflects the ease with which people were able to shop, study, work and find entertainment online at home. Consumption trends may well have been re-shaped for the long term.

In spite of China having one of the most advanced e-commerce markets in the world, online retailers still found themselves tested and stretched in new ways during the height of the pandemic. During the quarantine, fresh food channels grew significantly, and 89% of Chinese mainland consumers have said they would be more willing to buy daily necessities and fresh products online after the pandemic. Huge efforts have been made to reduce human-to-human contact and ramp up “contactless delivery” by the deployment of autonomous vehicles or drones to deliver orders.

Here in the western world, habits which have evolved over the past few years have suddenly been quashed. People had grown accustomed to convenience, ease of access and immediate availability. For years convenience has been king and online shopping occupied a tiny (if rapidly growing) percentage of the market.

Now though, there is no doubt that on-demand delivery will continue to scale up; we’ll also see increased numbers of “smart” pick-up options; and a fairly relentless drive towards contactless. Buymie here in Ireland has reported a 300% increase in app downloads in recent weeks.

All the while, there is very much a feeling that the “rulebook” has been well and truly torn up and thrown away. Particularly when our sole comparator for the current situation goes all the way back to 1918.

As societies worldwide continue to navigate carefully and cautiously through this crisis, it is entirely possible that we’ll find ourselves in the not too distant future talking about the “old normal”.

“Stay Apart to Pull Together”

This is a very different piece to my normal posts.

But nothing is normal at the moment and like everyone else I’ve been watching the developments of the Covid 19 pandemic with increasing levels of alarm, dismay and, at times, horror. The speed at which world and societal order, norms and expectations have been turned on their head, has been shocking to say the least.

The tagline Stay Apart to Pull Together has become synonymous with Ireland’s fight against the current pandemic. An evolving series of business and leisure restrictions have been introduced to ease pressures on the health service and ultimately save lives. People have become very familiar with a whole new vocabulary which includes the terms “community transmission” and “social distancing”.

But while we must now of necessity cede control of so many aspects of our lives and personal liberties that we take for granted it’s just as important to feel in control of as much as is possible. Our thoughts for starters. Accept that this situation is what it is, reframe your perspective and things will get a lot easier. Anxiety will go down and you will find yourself making the best of the situation.

I’ve also found myself thinking about how this period of enforced downtime may reap some benefits or give rise to new (and better) ways of doing things or have longer-term implications as yet not clear. Some of my thoughts and observations below:

  • Life can be distilled to some pretty elemental basics – eating and drinking, taking care of immediate family, simple forms of exercise, work/study and at-home socialising and entertainment.
  • No more FOMO; everyone is staying in.
  • The mundane will become magnificent. Earlier this week, we spent 20 minutes admiring the teamwork of some bluetits eating bird seed from the dispenser in our garden.
  • A single tier health system in Ireland is possible.
  • Embrace your inner grey because, in just a few short weeks, your real hair colour will be revealed to the world.
  • The expressions “my personal space” and “giving someone a wide berth” will take on a whole new meaning.
  • It’s a great time to learn a new skill/hobby or revisit a lapsed one. We are gardening, baking, practicing our musical instruments, reading and exploring new ways to self-entertain. I’ve dusted down a pair of knitting needles and am midway through scarf number one, with wool ordered for a second. It’s very possible I’ll have scarves knitted for everyone in the family by the time this is over.
  • Many many things can be done remotely or online, with a bit of creativity. We are not just “moving” online, we are “living” online and virtualising our entire lives. I’ve spent much of the past week arranging digital playdates for my children via platforms such as Google Hangouts, Zoom and WhatsApp.
  • Life’s very small pleasures will fill you with delight. Seeing my preferred brand of toilet paper on the shelves of Tesco during my most recent visit (previously unavailable for reasons everyone will be aware of) practically put a skip in my step.
  • With all meetings and business engagement moving out of offices and into people’s homes, it feels weirdly intrusive and distracting to be seeing inside people’s domestic spaces while on calls.
  • Can the world function without cash? Very likely, given the wholescale acceptance of contactless during this crisis.
  • Our children will build resilience, knowing that world crises happen, that humankind adapts to cope and survive and – eventually – moves on.
  • Some of the new ways of doing things may actually be better than the old ones. Compare a 30 minute music lesson by Skype in the comfort of one’s own home with spending 45 minutes travelling to and from a music school in the city’s worst rush hour traffic, arriving late, frazzled and harried.
  • All the things you have bought in the middle aisle of Lidl will finally come in useful (eg the hair cutting kit).
  • Your children will become (ahem) aware of your academic and sporting limitations.
  • Subscriptions will become a lifeline. Without realising it at the time, taking out a Beano subscription for the older child a month or two ago was probably one of the best decisions I made this year. We will now have no fear of going without (whew).
  • With work the only distraction from domestic life for many employees working from home, employers could well see enormous productivity gains in the coming months.
  • If your job/income has been unaffected by the pandemic, you will probably save money in the short term (nothing to spend it on bar essentials).
  • When this is over, many businesses may have a wholescale rethink about their need for bricks and mortar premises.
  • There’s been some clever marketing. The other day a well known fashion brand emailed me a style edit for “self-quarantining track days”. Without question, fitted clothing may feel slightly uncomfortable following a prolonged period of leisure wear.
  • The vast majority of people will be wonderful. So far, we have seen a statesmanlike Taoiseach, temporarily out of work chefs preparing food for the elderly and well known – and not so well known – people and businesses sharing their knowledge, skills and services for free (Audible, Joe Wickes, NowTV, the entire GAA community to name a few). This will be remembered.
  • For the small minority who haven’t been so wonderful, a new term has been coined. No comment.IMG-20200322-WA0004 (002)
  • Above all, amidst all this awfulness, humour – some of it dark – will prevail. As people attempt to make sense of the insensible and come to terms with a few months of life a little less lived, sharing a joke to lighten the mood can feel therapeutic and helps to maintain connectivity with friends and family. (Just don’t forget to send me the best ones.)

Coming to the end of our second week of housebound-ness, we have now settled into  our new pared back daily routine. Making the most of the new normal has taken some adjustment but we are aiming to enjoy it as much as possible within the confines of our environment. When we emerge from this, we at least hope to feel rested, a little more educated and very much appreciative of all that regular life has to offer.

Stay positive; stay healthy.

Mickey and Me: Fab Rides, Forgettable Food

To be very frank I was feeling less than magical and closer to a vague sense of grumpiness as we began our recent visit to the huge and sprawling Disneyland complex of gi-normous hotels and theme parks located about an hour northeast of Paris.

A mistake with our online booking had proven very problematic to resolve. Disneyland may do magic and fairy dust, but they don’t, apparently, employ human beings to man telephone lines to deal with customer queries. Or at least, not enough of them. One’s patience wears very thin when waiting in interminable queues for a customer service representative while the same annoying, upbeat music plays incessantly in the background.

Storm Dennis had gifted us the bumpiest flight I’ve experienced in a long time. Hat’s off to the Aer Lingus pilot’s aplomb as he calmly kept us informed about what lay ahead.

And finally, our Magic Shuttle (aka a coach transfer) had failed to materialise in Charles de Gaulle airport, leaving us shivering in a wind tunnel for over an hour.

But finally we arrived.

Our woodland themed hotel – the Sequoia Lodge – was warm and comfortable, if dated. We had upgraded to a Forest Club package which enabled early access to the parks and Fast Passes for selected rides (in my limited theme park experience this is essential to avoid death by queuing). In a nice touch, our package also included a buffet style afternoon tea in the hotel on a daily basis and free (non alcoholic) drinks from midday onwards.

As for the food in the wider resort area, I had been well warned in advance.

“Don’t expect to eat well.”

“It’s burgers and chips all the way.”

“Endless fast food, at really, really, expensive prices.”

All of this was indeed true. At least we were prepared, with our pockets stuffed with lots of healthy-ish snacks to fortify us as we queued for some of the more popular rides, and an acceptance that excellent gastronomy just wasn’t going to be a feature of our few days at the parks.

What is a little weird about the food on offer is that the restaurant facades within the parks are often different, so as to give the impression that there is some variety. Really there isn’t, with pricing and menus pretty much homogenous across the whole resort. There is a strong emphasis on menu deals consisting of drink, main meal and dessert at fixed price points.

Some of these are eye wateringly expensive such as in the Café Mickey, with menus priced at €65 for an adult and €35 for a child. This does however include a guaranteed meet and greet with Disney characters at your table. In truth the food is probably not the highest priority here. We did catch a glimpse of Minnie Mouse sashaying through the restaurant and high fiving some very excited children.

Here and there, there are pockets of hope in the form of street style vendors. Alas the queues were so long (and the weather so chilly) that we quickly abandoned these as an option.

As I mused over all of this, I reflected on the very different experience we had had in another theme park in France the year before. Puy de Fou is perhaps Europe’s best kept theme park secret. It is the second most visited park in France, but is virtually unheard of outside of the country. There are no rides, but historically themed shows or “spectacles” that are quite breathtaking – real chariot rides in a Roman colosseum, Viking invasions, feuding knights at the round table. And we found the food on offer to be far superior. Still expensive, but authentically French and more than decent quality.

LeSigneduTriomphe4-StéphaneAudran
Le Signe du Triomphe, Puy de Fou

I’m also told that the food at Europa Park in Germany is reasonably priced and good quality. So too in Efteling Park in the Netherlands, the third most visited theme park in Europe. It’s clearly possible, with a little imagination and will, to provide good value and healthy food to the masses.

Disneyland please take note.

Tasting Tomatoes, Apples and Pears; Ancient Wisdom for a Modern Era

apple-256261__340

Strive

“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”

― William Martin, Author of The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents

Jameson Serves up a Clever and Creative Pop-up

With just a few shopping hours to go until Christmas 2019, the Jameson Black Barrel Pop-Up Experience in Dublin’s south inner city is well worth a visit, particularly if you have a whiskey lover in your life.

No ordinary pop-up, Jameson has set out an impressive set of creative credentials with this effort, offering up a carefully curated series of artistic workshops, cultural commentary and whiskey tastings, as well as a performance space.

While you can certainly buy whiskey gifts here, any which way you want them (this includes a limited-edition bottle engraving experience), the emphasis is far more on a cultural “discovery” experience.

Jameson

Running since December 11th, the events focus on cultural connectivity and feature some of Ireland’s most prominent creative leaders including comedian Blindboy and spoken word performer Natalya O’Flaherty.

Additionally Jameson is facilitating local collectives, collaborators and creatives to use the space and host their own events. A master cooperage demonstration showing the sense of craftsmanship that goes into making the barrels completes the picture.

introducing-the-ultimate-whiskey-experience-the-brand-new-black-barrel-pop-upTickets to the various events have “popped up” quite literally at a variety of locations across Dublin city throughout the month of December, which has only served to add to the “boho” feel and sense of exclusivity associated with the series.

The Jameson Visitor Centre in Bow Street in Dublin is a key attraction in the capital, contributing a sizeable proportion of the more than 600,000 tourists who pass through Irish whiskey visitor centres every year to experience first-hand the heritage behind this time-honoured spirit and hear the stories of established and emerging distilleries. The Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy aims to treble this figure to 1.9 million visitors by 2025.

It might surprise but Irish whiskey is actually the fastest growing premium spirit in the world, with sales growing at more than 10% a year in more than 75 countries. Here in Ireland, the shift in image from it being perceived as a “dad drink” to a younger, cooler profile has been sure and steady.

The Jameson Black Barrell Pop-Up is open until 4pm on Christmas Eve, an excellent option for a seasonal toast.

christmas-4646421__340
Happy Christmas

 

 

2019 – a year of Boris, Brexit and all things Vegan

Reviewof2019

Artwork by Harry Walsh Foreman currently showing at the Futures exhibition series in the RHA Gallery, Dublin, very aptly sums up the year that was 2019. The theme of First World Problems is explored through a collection of spirited responses to an abrasive world.

The exhibition runs until the end of January 2020.

Food For Thought on Ireland’s Edge

The vibrant city of Galway in the west of Ireland recently hosted the 5th Food on the Edge (FOTE) event. It’s been on my radar for a while, but this was my first time to actively participate.

Food on the Edge is a coming-together of top international chefs for a two-day Food Symposium in Galway city on the Wild Atlantic Way; a not-for-profit conference seeking to make good food accessible for everyone.

The brainchild of JP McMahon, a Galway chef, gastronome and collaborator par excellence, the aim of the symposium is to challenge perspectives on food. The speakers – generally well known in the culinary world but not necessarily household names – are selected for their innovation and influence on food culture. The focus is on a collective vision for the future of food and how things can be improved.

4846871
JP McMahon, Chef and Culinary Director, Eat Galway Restaurant Group

Opening the conference, JP spoke eloquently and poetically about how the themes at the symposium have evolved over its five year history, from food waste, to kitchen culture, to how we all of us need to assume responsibility for the food we consume. This years theme was about migration, the movement of food and people and what it means to be local.

Thoughts and stories were shared around food origin, communities, connections and identity. One of the most fascinating talks was delivered by Shinobu Namae who provided a unique perspective into the history of Japanese cuisine and how it has travelled the world.

What is different about Food on the Edge is that it is not overtly commercial. Chatting with a curious American tourist who enquired as to what “we were selling”, I explained that it was more about promoting: networks, relationships, conversations, the exchange of ideas. While the 50 odd chefs speaking over the two days mainly cater for fine diners in their restaurants, the issues they experience – sustainability, quality, education – are common to all who prepare and serve food in whatever the environment.

Fine dining is certainly having a moment in Ireland. A total of six restaurants across the island of Ireland received their debut Michelin stars this year, bringing the number of restaurants with the coveted food award to 18. This is double the number of new entrants last year and many in the industry say the Irish restaurant scene is finally getting the recognition it deserves. It all points to a confidence in cooking, a desire to experiment with ingredients and techniques and a willing audience who are eager, knowledgeable and engaged. Fine dining does not have to be formal dining.

20191021_121431
Salthill, Galway

Bohemian Galway

Co-incidentally this week Galway was named the fourth-best city in the world to visit by Lonely Planet in its new Best in Travel 2020 publication, ahead of heavyweights such as Dubai and Vancouver (the list was topped by Austrian city Salzburg.)

Describing Galway as “arguably Ireland’s most engaging city,” Lonely Planet mentions pubs and cafes as among the city’s key attractions. The bohemian and strongly independent character of Galway is at the heart of the appeal of this most westerly Irish city.

In 2020 Galway will become the European Capital of Culture, with a programme promising a year of extraordinary creativity and disruption and the themes of language, landscape and migration being brought to life. Structured around the old Celtic calendar of Imbolc, Bealtaine, Lughnasa and Samhain, Galway 2020 begins in February 2020 and runs until the end of January 2021.

While Galway steams ahead as a boutique culinary powerhouse it is a pity to see the demise of some of the city’s more traditional food retailers in the past few weeks. Griffins Bakery, a bakery that I was very familiar with from both my student days and in more recent years on a professional basis, finally closed the doors on its Shop Street premises at the end of September, following a “challenging few years in business”. The bakery had a history dating back several family generations and the building itself is possibly one of Galway’s oldest, dating from the mid 1600’s. And across the road Deacy’s Fish Shop – another Galway institution – also recently called it a day, with the owner retiring. One hopes that whoever occupies these sites in the future will be sympathetic to their history and heritage.

A Campus Revisited

As FOTE took place in the Bailey Allen Hall – an impressive purpose built conference facility in the grounds of University College Galway – I also had a chance to explore the campus, which I found to be virtually unrecognisable since I attended as an undergraduate a few years ago. With many new buildings, it took a while to find my bearings, but thankfully the campus has retained its villagey, welcoming feel.

Passing the careers guidance office, I recalled visiting in my final year and leaving clutching a bunch of leaflets entitled “What to do with a degree in English and Philosophy”. While the array of options might have seemed bewildering at the time, I needn’t have been too concerned, as a grounding in logic, creativity and analysis has proven perhaps more useful than I anticipated!

Finally, a key message from Food on the Edge 2019 – “Gastronomy is Democracy”.

You really are what you eat.

logo2

http://www.foodontheedge.ie