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A Taste of Success at Catex 2019

Catex 2019 saw thousands of visitors from the foodservice, hospitality, catering and on-trade sectors, descend on the RDS, Simmonscourt, making it the biggest turnout for the exhibition to date.

With footfall up by almost 10%, exhibitors reporting that substantial business was done and overwhelming positive feedback from visitors and exhibitors alike, Catex 2019 served up a show that will benefit all of those involved in the months and years ahead.

Organised by the Irish Foodservice Suppliers Alliance (IFSA), John Cunningham, Chairman, commented: “IFSA, alongside our industry partners, has worked hard on this show for the past two years. Our goal was to make Catex 2019 as good as it could be and the vibrancy and atmosphere over the three days was incredible.

“In the build up to the sold-out event, the signs were very positive, but visitor numbers have exceeded our expectations and we are thrilled to hear exhibitors are reporting that major deals have been done.”

Catex sponsors Calor Gas showcased a new 100% renewable energy solution, and Bunzl offered up innovative business solutions and cost saving ideas. In addition, other major stands included areas from BWG Foodservice, Stephens Catering Equipment, Hugh Jordan, Henderson Foodservice, Pallas Foods, Total Produce, Bewleys Ltd and Lynas Foodservice.

From delivering on-stand masterclasses to showcasing efficient technologies, exhibitors’ efforts to showcase their businesses in the best possible manner added vibrancy to the event and for visitors.

A hotly-anticipated feature of Catex 2019 was the Chef Network Hub. Many of Ireland’s top culinary talents took to the stage for live demos and to share their tips with a packed audience. There was also a series of masterclasses and round table discussions where chefs exchanged ideas on the future of their industry; everything from sustainability, to how chefs are trained, the skills needed to run a food business, and food trends.

During the three day show, rising stars in the industry were identified, new champions in their field were awarded and renowned industry experts were recognised for their contribution to this diverse sector. Catex 2019 was Ireland’s showcase for local excellence and across the three days, awards were given to those who excelled in their fields:

The Irish National Cocktail Championship was won by Oisin Kelly – a bartender at the Sidecar, The Westbury, Dublin – with his drink entitled Solstice, using Grey goose vodka, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Peach Reàl and Bitter Truth Orange Bitters. Oisin will now go on to represent Ireland at the 2019 World Cocktail Championship in Chengdu, China, 4th – 8th November.

Bewley’s Barista Wojciech Tysler, was named the Avonmore Irish Barista of the Year. As Irish Barista Champion, Wojciech will go on to represent Ireland in the World Barista Championship in Boston this April. The Irish Latte Art Championships also took place at Catex. Renata Khedun was named the winner and will go on to represent Ireland at the World Latte Art Championships which takes place during the World of Coffee event in Berlin, Germany, June 8-10, 2019.

One of the main events – the Chef Ireland Competitions – was oversubscribed with over 250 student and culinary chefs taking part, and many spectators cheering on their favourites.

Taking home one of the biggest awards at Catex was Oran Colhoun, Head chef of visitor catering at Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse, who was crowned Aramark’s Chef of the Year Ireland. Having beaten seven other finalists, Colhoun has secured a place in the company’s European finals in London on 4th April 2019.

New at Catex 2019 were the Restaurant Cook Serve and Hotel Restaurant Cook Serve competitions – head-to-head team challenges involving both chefs and foodservice professionals. West Restaurant, Twelve Hotel I Barna, was named as the winner in the Restaurant Cook Serve competition, and a team from Dalata Hotels scooped the Hotel Restaurant Cook Serve competition.

On day three, Team Aramark was declared winners of the Contract Caterers’ Culinary Challenge, and will head off to San Sebastian, dining at some of the best tables in the region as part of their prize.

With over 250 companies showcasing innovative products and services, visitors had a wealth of new products to see, taste and explore – everything from custom branded eco-cups to new cleaning equipment.

“Catex is the one show that connects you to the decision makers in the foodservice and hospitality industries, and for us, gave our team the opportunity to showcase our goods to the Irish market and to pick up important new contacts. We are really delighted with the positive response to our products and the excitement generated with visitors. We’ve made some excellent and concrete leads at CATEX over the three days,” commented Rocky Redmond, Redmond Fine foods.

New names were a welcome addition to the show and new exhibitors included Smedes Food Production, MAK Group and UCC Coffee, amongst many others.

Returning to Catex after a successful 2015 was Suki Tea. Emma Sharkey, Trade Marketing at Suki Tea, added: “Catex is the first event where we’ve showcased our new blend – Iced Raspberry and Vanilla Tea – and we’ve had incredible feedback. Over the three days, we were able to spend time with our distribution partners and current customers as well as potential new customers so Catex has really delivered for us.”

Anne Abberton from FiXX Coffee said: “This is our third Catex and it’s been the best show for us by far. We’ve made lots of new solid contacts and have been showcasing our quality products and new offerings to existing customers, securing additional sales.”

Catex returns in 2021 – register your interest now at www.catexexhibition.com.

Next year, Food & Bev Live returns on the 4th and 5th February 2020 at the Citywest Events Centre, Dublin. Contact Margaret Andreucetti, Sales Manager, EventHaus on 01 846 0020.

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