Words: Caitriona Devery
Food on the Edge is the brainchild of Galway-based chef J.P. McMahon. He wanted to create a space to talk about food and food culture in Ireland and showcase Irish food to the world, inspired by gatherings like Rene Redzepi’s MAD symposium in Copenhagen which aims to transform hospitality and drive change to food systems.
J.P.’s idea started with a small gathering of top chefs in Galway in 2015 and has grown into a conference-style event that has taken place every year in the wild Atlantic west, apart from the pause we all took in 2020. It attracts all kinds of people interested in food, from chefs to writers, restauranteurs and hospitality workers, as well as the generally curious.
The event takes ‘The Future of Food’ as its theme and the programme is filled with short talks and panel discussions on all kinds of food and eating-related topics. This year the event is going hybrid to cope with Corona, but the programme is as jam-packed as ever. It will include a mix of in-house and virtual speakers from around the world and Ireland in a ‘blended symposium’ and will be held at Airfield Estate, Dundrum.
Highlights this year include Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse in California and one of the first pioneers of farm-to-fork dining. She will also join a discussion with Darina Allen and Michelle Darmody on the importance and challenges of food education for children. The author of Sitopia, Carolyn Steel, will talk about how food shapes our lives, in particular in cities.
The programme features some of the world’s best chefs including Bertrand Grébaut and Theo Pourriat, who hold Number 15 in The World’s 50 Best list, and Ghanaian chef and activist Selassie Atadika. Fermentation guru and co-founder of food & design platform MOLD, Dr Johnny Drain will also speak.
Irish speakers include Ella McSweeney on the food ecosystem and pollution, young chef Cúán Greene on his personal experience in social gastronomy. The programme will also feature David and Stephen Flynn of the Happy Pear, and Irish food podcast crew, Spice Bags.
Whether you’re interested in fine dining, sustainability or food politics, there’s something in there for everyone. As J.P. says, the event “presents a rare opportunity for those in our industry to learn from visionaries by hearing first-hand about their struggles and triumphs, to network and build connections and enjoy an inspiring couple of days”.
Food on the Edge will be running from October 18-19, for ticketing information visit the website.