Tasty treats in store at Food NI Food Pavilion

Food preparation sessions at the Food NI Food Pavilion are now one of the many highlights at the four-day event at the RUAS at Balmoral Park. They provide tremendous opportunities for home cooks in particular to sharpen their culinary skills and learn about new food and drink.

Several inspirational chefs, including Noel McMeel, the acclaimed executive head chef at the five-star Ebrington Hotel in Derry, will be offering opportunities to benefit from their expertise, experience and knowledge.

The Moy Park Theatre Kitchen, where visitors will find inspiration for quick and delicious chicken recipes, as well as new ways to spice up family mealtimes, will be running throughout the show.

Joining the Moy Park team will be another two theatre kitchens, all with busy programme for visitors and featuring interactive sessions with local producers and makers, as well as tastings from both much loved, and new food and drink brands. 

The Tesco Theatre Kitchen will also host the highly competitive Steak Competition on Thursday 16th May. The kitchen, in addition, will also host ‘Female Friday’, a day dedicated to celebrating female chefs, and food and drink producers from Northern Ireland.

New to the pavilion this year is the Talks & Tastings Stage, which will host over 20 producers, including several of our most successful artisans, over the four-day event, giving visitors a real insight into the makers and stories behind much loved and award winning food and drink, and promoting food and drink experiences in Northern Ireland.

A separate Drinks Area will be featured due to popular demand in celebration of excellent local beer, cider, gin and whiskey producers.

Opportunities to sample a wide range of local food and talk directly to their producers will also enable visitors to the show to include more produce in their meals at home. Some will be on group stands organised in collaboration with Food NI by local councils including Mid and East Antrim Food Network, Antrim and Newtownabbey, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, and Lisburn and Castlereagh City Councils.

Many of the hundreds of products from around 100 exhibitors have won national and international awards for quality and outstanding taste against competitors from other parts of the globe, demonstrating that our produce is genuinely world class. 

The local industry certainly deserves your support in the supermarkets, convenience stores, independent grocers, delis and farm shops across the province. Buying local food and drink, in fact, has never been easier.

Our Food Power of Good (, a promotional campaign created and launched by Food NI, highlighted the quality and variety of local food and drink, and the economic, environmental and health benefits of making local produce a shopping priority. Put simply: Buying more locally is good for everyone in Northern Ireland.           

Balmoral is Food NI’s most important event in a busy programme of activities organised by us especially for our members in food and drink and also for caterers through our Taste of Ulster operations that seek to help local restaurants, cafes and food-to-go providers develop business. It’s a sector currently in need of support from Government to ensure its very survival.

Organised by the small but dynamic Food NI team with the RUAS and our members, the extensive pavilion, now among the biggest and busiest of its kind at Balmoral, is designed to ensure the continuing success of food and drink, our single most important manufacturing industry, one which annually generates around £5 billion for the local economy, especially rural communities in which many of the companies, big and small, are located.

Upwards of 100,000 are employed by the entire food and farming industry. Many original foods owe their development and success to our enterprising farming community.

It’s a fact that many grocers, both large, including all the supermarket chains, and small in Britain and the Republic of Ireland now depend on produce from here

Another measure of the importance of the industry to the economy is indicated by the remarkable statistic showing that our food and drink is now enjoyed by families and individuals in around 80 nations. And many of the most successful exporters are smaller enterprises.