Invest NI helps to showcase local culinary flair

Four Northern Ireland food companies will be in Washington next week on a trade mission organised by Invest Northern Ireland to promote the best of local food and drink in the lucrative North American market.

The companies, Bushmills Distillery, Classic Mineral Water, Johnson’s Coffee and Tayto, already export to the US, but are aiming to expand their presence in the market.

As part of the mission the companies will be guests at a gourmet master cooking class and gala dinner featuring four renowned local chefs including Nick Price, Chairman of  ‘Taste of Ulster’, and celebrity Irish restaurateur Cathal Armstrong, which will take place in his Restaurant Eve, in Alexandria, Va.

Both events form part of the Rediscover Northern Ireland programme, a series of over 40 arts and cultural events taking place throughout Washington DC which aim to raise US awareness of Northern Ireland’s thriving economy, revitalised cities, unique and fascinating culture and its people’s sense of pride and passion.  The Rediscover Northern Ireland programme will challenge and influence perceptions of the region and will illustrate the calibre and vitality of the region as a place to visit, invest, study, work and live.

The gala dinner event is being organised by Invest NI, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Tourism Ireland and is being sponsored by Bushmills whiskey.

Maynard Mawhinney, Invest NI’s Director of Food, says: “These companies represent some of Northern Ireland’s most iconic brands. By attending this dinner, which features a menu inspired by Northern Ireland cuisine, they are acting as ambassadors for the Northern Ireland food and drink industry, and also getting the opportunity to forge new and potentially very beneficial links with influential individuals in the US food and drink sector.

“Recognising the importance of the agri-food industry to the Northern Ireland economy, Invest NI has created a customised suite of programmes to support local businesses in this sector. Our support for this gala dinner is just part of an ongoing drive by Invest NI to promote the best of Northern Irish produce around the world.”

Rediscover Northern Ireland began during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in March 2007 and will culminate in the Smithsonian Institution’s Folklife Festival from June 27–July 8 2007.