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International food conference held in Wales for the first time

​​Academics from around the world have congregated in Wales to discuss how food can help make society more hospitable.

The International Conference on Culinary Arts and Sciences (ICCAS) was hosted by Cardiff Metropolitan University from 27th to 28th June 2019. It was the first time ICCAS has taken place in Wales with over 90 delegates attending from across Europe as well as Australia, Brazil, Canada and the United States.

ICCAS is the only international conference that brings together the two sides of the international food industry; food sciences and food services. This year’s conference theme was Food and Society and delegates heard from a range of speakers including Lynne Regent, Chief Executive Officer of the Anaphylaxis Campaign, who discussed the impact of allergies on society and Chris Moore, Chief Executive of The Clink Charity, who shared the invaluable work they do to reduce reoffending rates by training prisoners to work in the hospitality industry. Katie Palmer, Programme Manager from Food Sense Wales, also discussed the 'Peas Please' campaign, which aims to get Britain eating more vegetables.

ICCAS is highly relevant to Wales as food and tourism are two of the four foundational sectors in the Welsh Government’s 2017 economic plan, Prosperity for All. The food and drink sector accounts for 18% of the Welsh workforce with over 240,000 people employed across catering, retail and wholesale, agriculture and manufacturing.

Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs said:

“I am delighted the ICCAS was held in Wales this year, bringing together international expertise from industry and academia, across food sciences and food services.  Collaboration is a key ingredient of success and in Wales our food and drink goes hand in hand with hospitality and tourism.

“I am proud that our food and drink sector is going from strength to strength and increasingly food is an important influence on people’s decision to visit Wales, given our reputation for excellence. Wales, therefore, provides the perfect backdrop to discuss the vital role of food in our society.”

The conference’s gala dinner was hosted by staff from The Clink Restaurant in Cardiff working in collaboration with the award-winning Park House restaurant. The meal showcased Welsh produce including Pembrokeshire beef and strawberries.

Sebastien Vanoni, Head Chef Trainer of The Clink Restaurant Cardiff said:

"When we partner with restaurants for events like this it gives us an opportunity to showcase the prisoners in training and create links which will give them a better chance for the future. It's about breaking down barriers and getting rid of preconceptions. People are normally mesmerised by the quality of the prisoners' work and their attitude."

At the end of the conference it was announced that ICCAS 2021 will be hosted by the Institut Paul Bocuse Research Centre in Lyon.​

Dr Claire Haven-Tang, Chair of the ICCAS 2019 International Scientific Committee, Cardiff Metropolitan University said:

“It has been an honour to host ICCAS 2019 in Wales for the first time and showcase our country to food and hospitality academics from across the world. Over the two days there was plenty of fruitful discussion and idea sharing about the vital role of food in our society.

“I look forward to ICCAS 2021 at the renowned Institut Paul Bocuse Research Centre. Lyon is a city which is celebrated around the world for its food and Paul Bocuse, who the research centre is named after, was one of the most important chefs of the 20th Century.

To read this story in Welsh, click here.