GMIT Lecturer is Selected as Fáilte Ireland 2013 Food Champion

Friday, August 09, 2013 Press Office
Press Release

Jacinta Dalton joins Influential Food Tourism Development Programme

Jacinta Dalton, a lecturer in the GMIT College of Tourism & Arts, has been selected as one of eight new influential food tourism ambassadors or ‘Food Champions’ by Fáilte Ireland and will join its Food Tourism Network Development Programme.

Food Champions are selected for their resounding passion and belief in Irish food and for actively influencing and shaping the future of Irish cuisine and food tourism in their region.

Jacinta lectures in Food & Beverage Management in GMIT’s Galway campus and is the only academic among the eight selected 2013 Food Champions. A native of Galway and a graduate of GMIT, she has worked in GMIT’s Department of Culinary Arts since September 2010. She is a member of SKAL Galway and is the co-founder of The Foodie Forum.

Jacinta has a strong practitioner background and remain very closely linked with industry. She believes passionately in food education and is an ardent supporter and promoter of local food producers and food businesses. In her free time she has worked with a number of leading national festivals including the Galway Food Festival, the Oyster and Seafood Festival and Cookery School Live.

Cáit Noone, Head of College of Tourism & Arts, GMIT, nominated Jacinta for the national Fáilte Ireland award, saying she was an obvious candidate. Through her teaching and work she is helping educate the next generation of food producers in Ireland. Her passion for all things food related is very obvious to the team in GMIT and we delighted the judging panel considered her worthy of this award’.

Helen McDaid, Fáilte Ireland’s Food Tourism Manager, says: “We received nominations for many able ‘would be ambassadors’ from along the Wild Atlantic Way route. Our focus continues to be on ‘emerging’ food champions who have been working hard in their regions and can now become a part of this network which will support and guide them as they continue to develop food tourism experiences.

“Last year’s programme was a great success with many of the champions going on to do great work for food tourism in their areas. The focus this year is on our new project the Wild Atlantic Way and how we can further develop the visitor experience by promoting our local and regional food experiences.”

The eight Fáilte Ireland Food Champions will now travel on a food tourism benchmarking trip to Norway to see first-hand a real-life linkage between a driving route and food tourism. The trip will provide great insight and learning opportunities for the food tourism industry in Ireland. The group will have the opportunity to meet with the people behind a range of food businesses in Norway who are utilising food tourism as part of their development and business generation strategy.

Once the group returns home the focus will be on working together with their local communities to help build Ireland’s food tourism reputation and encourage visitors to stop, spend and stay longer on the Wild Atlantic Way.