Acclaimed chef set to open IFEX

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Inearly March, Dylan McGrath, who is one of the industry’s most renowned and celebrated chefs, is set to open the doors to IFEX 2024 where thousands of visitors and almost 200 exhibitors are expected to attend across the three days.

Taking place in the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast from 5th – 7th March, IFEX 2024 will shine a spotlight on the latest industry technologies, innovative ideas and new product launches alongside promoting some of the finest culinary talent that Northern Ireland has to offer.

Born in Dublin and raised in Belfast, Dylan joins a long list of celebrity chefs who have officially opened IFEX in recent years including French chef, Jean-Christophe Novelli and Michelin star chef and restauranteur, Michael Deane.

Speaking ahead of his visit to IFEX Dylan comments: “I am honoured and delighted to officially open IFEX 2024. It’s a very exciting time for the Northern Ireland foodservice and hospitality industry which has cemented itself as a global leader in terms of excellence. Events like IFEX are vital to celebrate and showcase the immense amount of homegrown talent and award-winning produce that we have right here, on our doorstep.

Dylan McGrathDylan McGrath
Dylan McGrath

“I’m particularly excited to see our upcoming chefs in action during the array of Salon Culinaire competitions and have no doubt that we will discover some outstandingly skilled chefs, which is what IFEX is renowned for.

“Best of luck to everyone taking part in the competitions and I hope that those who are both exhibiting and attending have a great IFEX 2024!”

Increasing its floorplan by an additional 40% and opening up a new hall, IFEX is a ‘one stop shop’ for discovering some of the best products that NI has to offer and across the three days will be home to NEW features including the Spotlight Stage, Masters Arena and the IFEX Coffee Festival.

At the heart of IFEX is Salon Culinaire – Northern Ireland's largest and most prestigious chef competition, where IFEX Northern Ireland Chef of the Year is crowned. Also returning is the Great Taste Market, IFEX Bar and helping to address an industry wide problem, the Northern Ireland Hospitality Core Skills Hub, a hands-on demo area showcasing the very many services and opportunities available across the sector. Find out more about what’s happening at the show here.

Emma McIIveen, Ciaran Campbell and Sean Owens. Pic: Press EyeEmma McIIveen, Ciaran Campbell and Sean Owens. Pic: Press Eye
Emma McIIveen, Ciaran Campbell and Sean Owens. Pic: Press Eye

Commenting on the importance of the show’s return, Toby Wand, Managing Director of 365 Events Ltd. comments: “IFEX is one of NI’s longest running trade shows and has been the cornerstone expo for the foodservice, catering, retail and hospitality industries for many years. Needed more than ever before, IFEX is crucial for galvanising the industry and driving new business for exhibitors.

“This year’s show promises to serve up three days packed full of ideas and innovation for both visitors and exhibitors alike. From inspiring competitions to expert masterclasses, and an abundance of ideas to help grow business in the years ahead, IFEX is simply the number one event for industry professionals in the foodservice, hospitality and retail sectors.”

Championing best practice within the industry, IFEX returns with industry support from all leading associations including Hospitality Ulster, the Federation of Small Business NI, Retail NI, NI Hotels Federation, the Guild of Fine Food, Chef Network, Restaurants Association of Ireland and the Northern Ireland Takeaway Association.

A trade only event, IFEX 2024 is taking place from Tuesday 5th to Thursday 7th March at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast. The show opens daily at 10am and runs until 6pm on Tuesday and Wednesday, and to 4pm on Thursday. If you’d like to attend, simply register for your free ticket at