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UCC launches institute marking decades of culinary achievements

Wednesday, 23rd January, 2019 4:30pm

Education in food – sounds so easy doesn’t it?

I am a champion of getting food education back to schools, preferably at primary school level. Apart from individual initiatives, this is not happening.

Third level education is a different matter and UCC are leading the way here in Ireland with several different courses available including diploma level offerings.

Having recognized the need to bring the different elements together, UCC launched the UCC Food Institute last week with Minister Michael Creed in attendance. The launch was a celebration of UCC’s achievements over the decades.

It was the first university to have a dairy education department, with such distinguished alumni like Jim Wolfe, CEO of Dairygold and Dr Gerry Murphy, chairman of Tate & Lyle – who both attended the launch, another salute to the standard of UCC education.

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of working with Dr Angela Sheehan who manages the Diploma in Specialty Food Production course. This course has brought us companies like Seymours Biscuits to name but one.

Other food related courses cover areas such as food manufacturing management, food business management, food science and technology, food and nutritional science and other relevant areas that are needed in the ever-changing food industry.

Bringing the different departments together ensures that courses are streamlined and even better content can be delivered. It was also great to see how UCC works with industry leaders like Dairygold to create courses that enables graduates to find placements within these areas.

I enjoyed the talk of Jim Wolfe, CEO of Dairygold when he spoke about the state of the dairy industry and the plans of increasing milk output. He emphasized that the co-op is working towards a sustainable growth and is implementing new technology to ensure a clean product with minimal environmental damage.

Yes, UCC is working with these large corporate companies more than with the smaller artisan producers but that is out of necessity as these companies have the financial backing needed to provide the standard of education offered by UCC – something artisan producers can benefit from in the long run.

Darina Allen attended the launch and we spoke about the opportunities that Ireland has now to showcase the quality of Irish beef on a global market, highlighting the green status of our food production.

The same can be said for our milk as Irish infant formula is sought after globally for the very good reason. We do need to do a lot of work to find greener and cleaner ways of producing food – and not only in food but in fashion, beauty, technology as well.

We all need to make our mark by choosing with thought. And in order to do that – we need education.

For more information on course offerings see or email


24 January Dessert Crawl in aid of Relay for Life

25 January Burns Supper Trail at Arthur Mayne’s

26 January How Food Grows at GIY

29 January The Big Foodie Quiz Foodies Society


For more details on upcoming food events, please go to

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