Under the right conditions, 1000 new jobs could be created in food tourism in this area, according to Donal Lehane, managing director of Food-NPD Teo, who was speaking at the launch of the Waterford Harvest Food Festival.
Mr Lehane, whose original background is in food science and technology, was instrumental in launching the Slow Food Festival last year with Darina Allen of Ballymaloe House. He told The Munster Express that, if the state agencies, food entrepreneurs, educationalists and market experts got together, an untapped seam of new jobs could be created.
The founder of Dunhill Cuisine believes the opportunity for such a venture to succeed in the South East is greater than in many other areas because of our food tradition and mild climate. A subject paper had already been prepared for the Minister for Food, Trevor Sargent, by the Slow Food Movement, said Mr Lehane.
He told his audience that the Italian city of Tourin had suffered greatly with the demise of the motor manufacturing industry but a task force had turned the situation around by building on its well known food traditions and he believed the same could happen in the Waterford area. Industries like Waterford Crystal had closed and the challenge now was to look forward and create new jobs for the future.