Food on the Edge – what is it and how did it start?

JP McMahon at FOTE. Photo: courtesy of Food on the Edge
JP McMahon at FOTE. Photo: courtesy of Food on the Edge

Food on the Edge (FOTE) was born as an idea somewhere around August 2015. I wanted to bring a nice group of chefs to Galway. I suppose I was inspired by gatherings such as Cook it Raw and conferences like Terroir and MAD. I thought that we had amazing produce in Ireland but the world just didn’t know about. If I brought chefs, then they could learn what an amazing country was Ireland. That was the first part: introducing international chefs to Ireland and its produce. The second part of the plan was to create a benchmark for good food in Ireland. All the chefs that speak at FOTE are leaders. People follow leaders. I knew that if people listened, they would be inspired to change, to make better food, to change our culture in Ireland. We are getting there but I think Ireland can rival the best countries in the world, like Spain and Denmark. We just need to invest in our food culture. FOTE is a way of doing this, creating a summit for best practice.

Albert Adria, Davide Scabin and Quique Dacosta at FOTE 2015. Photo: Boyd Challenger
Albert Adria, Davide Scabin and Quique Dacosta at FOTE 2015. Photo: Boyd Challenger

I don’t want FOTE to have any ultimate directives. The theme each year is the future of food, in the context of every area of eating, from fine dining to street food. I want FOTE to be like throwing small stones into water. You never know where the ripples end up. The power of FOTE lies in reaching out to everyone in a equal way – anybody can come and join us.

FOTE takes places each year now. Its aim is to radically change the way we think about food in Ireland and elsewhere. This is only a start. I reckon it will take at least 10 years, but it’s worthwhile, to try and carve out a space for our children and their children.
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JP McMahon, founder of Food on the Edge
FOTE2015 on Aran Island. Photo by Julia Dunin
FOTE2015 on Aran Island. Photo by Julia Dunin

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