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Cork leads the way with first food culture course

Wednesday, 1st May, 2019 4:51pm

Until a few years ago, Ireland wasn’t named when people talked about food culture.

Ireland was regarded as plain and uninspiring when it came to food. Chefs like JP McMahon have started to change this perception by inviting top chefs from around the globe to his Food on the Edge events in Galway and Irish food producers have won high prestigious awards worldwide, spreading the word about Irish food.

The world started to look towards Ireland as a destination for food tourism. When it comes to food culture though, we are not adept at really talking about it. Not much is known about how food shaped our society and when exactly it changed from Irish stew to Michelin standard fare!

Cork food historian Regina Sexton is here to address that lack of knowledge with a new offering at UCC. The two year postgraduate diploma in Irish Food Culture course is due to start in September 2019.

It is the first offering of its kind in Ireland and it took long months of hard work, research and negotiations to get this course off the ground. When Regina first told me about her plans, I was excited as I kept preaching about the food culture here in Ireland and now having a dedicated course that finishes with a diploma made me more than just happy.

Don’t think for one minute that this course will be a walk in the park – you are not only investing money but also a lot of time and effort throughout the two years with a lot of assignments lined up.

Field trips, guest speakers and case studies will be part of the course as much as assessments, essays and a lot of research.

Upon completion, you will be able to apply your skills to explore many avenues of the food industry like food festivals, marketing, food education and who knows, you might develop your very own ideas on new ventures.

Ireland has so much to offer in food, we haven’t seen the end of food tourism yet – this course might be just the starting point for Ireland to become the centre of excellence when it comes to food culture and how to embrace it.

Regina Sexton is a wonderful educator and her passion for the history of Irish food is simply a perfect backdrop for this UCC course.

Food culture is not purely about food but as much about the people who produce, prepare and eat it. The lecturers for this course are indeed not purely from a food background but also humanities, folklore, ethnology, art, biology and history are included as well, proving that food can never stand alone and its culture being influenced by all factors in our environment. You can apply by going to the UCC website for adult continuing education courses, where you will also find more details on the course or simply contact Regina Sexton by email at r.sexton@ucc.ie. She will be able to answer questions you might have.

I am excited that Cork is the location of the first ever Irish food culture course – it shows that Cork is still the capital of food.

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