President’s Report – March

As Johnny Logan once sang what’s another year? It only seems like yesterday that I wrote my first presidents report, it’s hard to believe that I’m going into my final term. To say it has been busy would be an understatement! I’ve calculated I have clocked up 76,000 kilometres between land and air, had a devastating fire in my restaurant and one car crash but most importantly bounced back.  I must add it has been a great honour to represent the association, and you as members, as your president. With membership still growing we are a very strong voice within our industry. We contributed 2 billon euro to the Irish economy each year and represent well over 70,000 jobs within our sector.

We, as restaurateurs, have played a vital role to the recovery of this country while keeping our businesses open. Our new government needs to respect this and show our industry the support it well and truly deserves over the next five years. So please keep talking to your local TDs and make our industry and business grow. Many times I’ve stood up to the plate to fight hard for you as members and the association and I fully intend to continue this. We all must now watch the way the wind may change in our country, so let’s ride the positive currents and look forward to a growing economy which will spread across the country.

This year, the Irish Restaurant Awards has seen the biggest number of nominations cast ever- and I would like to thank you all for your efforts. Over 70,000 individual public nominations helped decide our county nominees and winners. Without your hard work, the restaurant landscape in Ireland would be very different. Our sponsors deserve the highest of praise with their help, we have been able to increase the scale and quality of the awards.

This year our AGM, Restaurants Symposium and President’s Dinner will be held in the Shelbourne hotel on Monday the 25th of April.  The symposium promises to be a great day with an impressive line-up of speakers. This is an important date for your diary and your attendance will be appreciated  Please see our website for full details.

Super chef was a massive success and thanks to all the team at St Angela’s College Sligo who ran a well organised event. Myself, and Shamzuri Hanifa judged the students and the standard of culinary skills was very high in both junior and senior levels. We got great coverage in highlighting the importance of Home Economics as a subject at Junior & Leaving cert levels. Ideally, the association and I would want it mandatory for all junior cert students. Home Economics as the only second-level subject on the curriculum which exposes students to food education. In exposing students to food education, Home Economics provides students with knowledge and skills which enables them to understand food. In practice Home Economics allows consumers to plan meals and make informed choices when shopping for food, to read food labels correctly and importantly, to be able to cook nutritious meals for themselves and their families. We will certainly put it to the new minister for education that this needs to be addressed for all the above reasons and many more.

The Restaurant Association’s Golf Society is some 30 years in existence and has produced many great days in its long history. The society will announce its new captain shortly along with its list of venues which looks likely to be a very exciting year for all golf fans, Please feel free to contact the office as we would love to have new members join up.

Finally, I would just like to say I look forward to meeting and discussing the local issues with as many of you as possible at the upcoming branch meetings.

Slan go Foill,

Anthony Gray

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