FOTE Ebook Launch: ‘Lessons from Lockdown: Cooking after Covid’


Some of the contributors of ‘Lessons from Lockdown: Cooking after Covid’ Nathan Outlaw, Massimo Botturo, Elena Arzak and FOTE Founder Jp McMahon

In August of 2020, when many in the restaurant business around the world found themselves enduring the brutal consequences of a global pandemic, many without income, without their staff and without their business, Food On The Edge founder JP McMahon reached out to speakers and other contributors to the Food On The Edge symposium, his request was simple – to write a letter addressed to the industry.

The basis of the request was that their contributions would serve to provide a global record of a particularly challenging time while allowing hope to shine on the future and the next generation of young cooks, chefs, farmers and food activists. What we got was a series of deeply personal and moving accounts of their COVID-19 experience with many recounting losses and some reminiscing on valuable gains and insights”, said JP McMahon.

“The book portrays the diverse voices from around the world that make up the industry. From the chefs to producers to service providers. The book has been downloaded thousands of times and the response has been nothing short of inspirational. The resilience of our industry is testament to the support we give each other and the learnings we take from each other.” 

The experiences throughout the book have similar themes, often the joy that came with spending more time with family and loved ones, evaluating what life was like before COVID-19 and changes that would be made going forward. Matt Orlando, of Amass Restaurant in Copenhagen,  wrote “I have realised that I have let my restaurant define who I am over the last seven years. I have also realised that this cannot be the way forward.”

Many writers that contribute to the book recognize this spirit of resiliency of the industry, Elena Arzak, of Restaurant Arzak in San Sebastian, Spain wroteThe hospitality industry is in an especially hard place. But if there’s one thing chefs are good at it’s making the best out of any situation. We are givers and can make wonderful things out of the ingredients that we have on hand. We are good at logistics and planning and we are generous because our reason for being is to feed and take care of people. Now is the time to be especially generous.” 

While for others they recounted the despair of losing their teams and the dream of the future they were building, Alexandre Silva, owner of Loco in Lisbon, Portugal wrote,  “I felt the accountability of having 70 people at risk of losing their livelihood and the risk of leaving my daughters without anything to eat and the risk of me and my wife Sara falling into a bottomless pit of depression.” 

Massimo Bottura, of Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy, who spoke at Food On The Edge 2016, shared a recipe he used while working in Refettorio in Rio de Janeiro with Food for Soul, the non-profit organization he founded with his wife Lara, and Gastromotiva. The recipe is a carbonara using a banana peel, “to show that the most incredible things are still possible when you look at the world from another point of view and dare to leave your comfort zone.”

The comfort zone has never been a space that JP McMahon likes to dwell in and is planning Food On the Edge 2021. “Food On The Edge 2021 will take a different format to years gone before”, said JP, ‘but nevertheless we are looking forward to keeping the momentum going and the conversation alive.”

The 121 contributions are being added to and an updated version will be available on Google Books at the end of February, until then the book is available by visiting the Food On The Edge website. Sign up to our newsletter, using the form, below to receive your copy of Lessons from Lockdown: Cooking After Covid.

FOTE 2020 – Live Sessions June/ July 2020 – Week 8: Denis Lovatel (Pizzeria Da Ezio)

Week 8: Denis Lovatel (Pizzeria Da Ezio) 8th July 2020

A New Language- Expressing Life and Culture Through Pizza

Denis Lovatel left a lasting impression on those that attended Food on the Edge last October. Now during Covid-19, on hearing that he was to be the first of the ‘FOTE Speaks’ conversations in July, instantly brought me back to that talk. Just seeing his film of him making pizza, in those moments pizza took on a new meaning and left many at FOTE with a ‘mouth-watering’ desire to taste it right there and then!

Denis is a 2nd generation pizza maker based in North-Eastern Italy near the Dolomite mountains. While we all know that pizza is traditionally an Italian dish, he has developed a new concept of pizza. At Pizzeria Da Ezio (his restaurant), pizza is used to promote his locality. Producing a thin and crispy sourdough base he uses wild herbs instead of salt for dough stability and local and foraged produce for the topping.

JP recalled his experience of cooking pizza with Denis at Aniar during FOTE. Using the language of Aniar ingredients at that time (seaweed, duck, oils and chanterelles), his realisation was that pizza can be used as a vehicle to express any culture. While pizza is viewed by many as a ‘fast-food’, JP insists that the future of pizza is in reclaiming the product as a slow food and a local food. He recognised Denis’s approach as an important model for chefs to ask, ‘what is in my locality?’ and to work from there. He reminds us of Christian Puglisi’s approach (Baest,Copenhagen), where pizza is also an expression of his heritage and identity. Aware of a possible resistance by the pizza ‘purists’, both chefs agreed that while tradition needs to be respected, in order for the language of pizza to grow globally, tradition also needs to respect innovation. The possibility of enfolding terroir and producers into the language of pizza will result in greater enjoyment and respect.
In addition to the impact on locale and producers, Denis also highlighted the link between pizza and migration and the role of pizza in food education. For Denis, ‘everyone likes pizza and it can be used as an expression of cultural identity’. JP agreed and that ‘considering the pizza as a flatbread, the language needs to be very open to allowing the food to evolve as people move around the world’. From an education perspective, Denis uses pizza as a language to teach the next generation about food and seasonality. What a creative fun way to communicate this message.

Both chefs discussed the impact Covid-19 had on their relationship with food sourcing and cooking. Mirroring this, during the lockdown, many of us have spoken about baking sourdough, scratch cooking at home, supporting local producers and being more aware of seasonality. I wonder now that we are no longer in lockdown, have these positive habits and intentions abated? Denis’s pizza model encompasses all these intentions. Perhaps this ‘new language’ of pizza could be a practical, creative way to engage/ re-engage us mindfully with life through food?

FOTE 2020 – Live Sessions June/July 2020 – Week 7: Gunnar Karl Gislason (Dill)

Week 7: Gunnar Karl Gislason (Dill) 24th June 2020

Gunnar Karl Gíslason

Insights on Embracing Change During a Pandemic

After a month’s break, the first ‘FOTE Speaks’ session in June was a conversation between JP and Gunnar Karl Gislason in Iceland. Prior to Covid-19, his restaurant, Dill was booked three months in advance with 80-90% of his clientele being tourists. Like Aniar restaurant in Galway, Dill was dependent on American tourists. Reopening for him was ‘amazing’. Not unlike Niklas Ekstedt’s experience on reopening, he too was surprised and delighted by the support from locals. Their patronage was such that he ended up only printing Icelandic menus. Now he also has tourists from the Nordic countries. With the requirement for 2 m social distancing, he has decided that his opening plan will be a gradual rollout of tables over a fixed selection of days. In total his usual covers per night will be reduced from 50 to 35. While Iceland has a very small population (350,000) he is hopeful and optimistic about business at this time, though he is very aware that ‘it could be a hard fall in the fall’! To get through it, for him, it’ s about controlling costs and keeping his team small. JP agreed that it’s about survival to next March or April and that the model that comes from this, needs to be the model used going forward to minimise risk and remain viable.

An interesting element of their conversation was a comparative analysis of the role of location in implementing change. Comparing his experience in the restaurant in New York (where Gunnar worked until last summer), with that of cooking in Iceland, he appreciates the advantages of cooking for a smaller population. In this environment, he has found that change and new ideas are easier to enforce and there is greater efficiency in getting things done. Similarly, JP concurred with this comparison and suggested that running a restaurant in a small or large town enables the chef to take more risks, whereas change in large cities like New York or Dublin may take longer and becomes more of a statement.

Getting a restaurant back up and running in a pandemic is about embracing change from the ‘deep end’! Based on what the chefs discussed in this session could it be that chefs running food businesses in smaller communities have a greater advantage at adapting to this change?

FOTE 2020 – Live Sessions – Week 6 – Clare Smyth

Week 6: Clare Smyth (Core)

Call for Fairness and Respect in Order to Survive

JP’s conversation with Clare Smyth this week was a frank reality check for chef patrons trying to decide on their next move! Her restaurant, Core is just two and a half years old and would usually have a three-month waiting list. Since Covid-19, those three months have become months of closure. Now that the world is different, she is heartbroken that everything has changed for Core.

Decimation is everywhere and she is adamant that the role of farmers in restaurants needs protection. JP agreed. She also calls for fairness. “The key thing is that businesses are haemorrhaging money, we should not have to foot the whole bill for this. There is a need for fairness from the government, landlords and insurance companies, none of this is our fault, everyone should be in this together”.

JP referred to the ‘just adapt’ mantra from some people, that is putting pressure on restaurants to open. For him “there is a limit to adaptability, we’re in food because we are passionate, the last thing is for you to adopt a concept if you don’t feel your heart is in it”. Clare agreed and cautioned that “it could completely destroy your brand, and it may not be worthwhile” it just doesn’t work like the way others perceive it.

Her vision sees the next 12-18 months being crucial for our industry and government supports are critical. Opening needs structure and good guidelines. Professionally, chefs understand food safety and take daily responsibility for implementation, so whatever new regulations come in “we will adopt them and be responsible for our places.” This, therefore, will be a strength on reopening. JP agreed to state that “restaurants will be a safe place to go as they are clean”. She suggests that for those that fulfil the criteria for health if they were deemed safe, that they should be signed off by the EHO and let open and the others should be kept closed and given more government support.

It was encouraging to hear their positivity in relation to the future of the culinary career. For JP “more than ever, there is a great reason to get into cooking”, and Clare sees this time as giving us an opportunity to rebalance the shortage of chefs. “We will get back to normal in about 2-3 years and young people will have a future in the industry, but hospitality needs to be a good profession and lucrative for young people to want to go into it”. This led to further discussion on the changes needed for survival. Clare vehemently highlighted the need for the industry to readdress some of the issues that have impacted its efficiency and professionalism. “We were running on such thin margins before, if we want to survive, it will be a case where we have to tighten up on these things e.g. customers paying for things, cancellations etc. It’s not about cheap! Every seat in a restaurant is so valuable”. According to JP, there can be an attitude that “hospitality is just the worker, an extension of the working class”. Both concurred “Hospitality isn’t free!” People have to treat hospitality the same way they treat other industries. For Clare, “this is now a necessity if we are to survive”.

FOTE 2020 – Live Sessions April/May 2020

Week 5: Josh Niland and Alberto Landgraf

Self-reflection on Being a Chef

While this week’s conversations linked in with Josh Niland and Alberto Landgraf in relation to their restaurants, interestingly the key points expressed by both, focused on their personal reflections on their life as a chef and care of their chef community.

Josh Niland (Saint Peter, Sydney)
What happens when two chefs, lovers of ‘fish-cooking’ get to chat at 8am Irish time? Well, the time difference was quickly forgotten, and they soon started talking fish recipes and cookbooks! For Josh, this time has really inspired his creativity, offering ‘Mr Niland at home’ boxes, out of the restaurant and the fish butchery and his plans to open the restaurant with a modified menu in line with his award-winning cookbook ‘The whole fish cookbook’.
He believes that there is a need for humility in conversation at this time, it’s not about “me or my business”. His humility reverberated as he talked and listened. Josh considers himself privileged to be cooking every day and conscious of others in his chef community who may be missing service, he started an initiative working with other chefs creating their dishes for ‘Mr Niland at Home’ His motivation for this is that it “ creates a deadline and a momentum in their week so that they can hopefully feel that half of their brain was being used to trigger all the good endorphins in the brain”. One of his C-19 reflective insights is that as chefs “we are pretty insecure at the best of times”. JP agreed that “this is something that has been overlooked. Your physicality is go go go as a chef, maybe it’s because you are trying to avoid yourself. This is a challenge”. For Josh, we can’t lose the sight of being human, we have to get through this, but we also need to keep an eye on each other.


Alberto Landgraf (Oteque)
Unlike Josh, Alberto has not been cooking, instead, he is doing masterclasses on creativity and “trying to relax”. I was struck by his honesty in relation to his lack of self-care over the years. “For the last 15 years, I haven’t had one moment with nothing to think about”. In contrast, he is now enjoying the silence, relaxing without feeling any guilt, cooking for himself, reading, doing exercise, connecting with people and he feels really well. Like Josh, he too is concerned for his closest chef community, his team, and he is doing all he can to protect them and support them at this time.

This time for reflection and relaxation has also resulted in some deep insights for him in relation to what is really important. His deep learning has been that, we are fragile more so than we imagine, and that “the big lesson is, that we need to get out of this being better human beings, making better choices. “I don’t want to go back to the way I was feeling 2 or 3 months ago. I don’t want to chase this; I want to chase peace. Peace and silence have been overlooked for years, it’s time for us to go back and understand that those are the real values”.
What a revelation during a pandemic from one of the World’s top young chefs and it affirms the increasing need for self-care education for chefs and ‘The Mindful Kitchen’ module as inspired by Food on the Edge.

FOTE 2020- Live Sessions April/May 2020

Week 4:   Niklas Ekstedt (Ekstedt) and Kristian Baumann (Restaurant 108)

Positive Mindsets and Reinventing Michelin Restaurants in a Pandemic

Niklas Ekstedt

Niklas Ekstedt
A visit to the Nordic region was the treat this week as FOTESPEAKS sessions visited Sweden and Norway. Sweden’s approach to Covid-19 has caused controversy as it did not go into full lockdown and according to the Niklas Ekstedt Swedes are like ‘lab rats’ and the country is experiencing the most attention since ABBA won the Eurovision! In relation to restaurants, they are allowed to open if there are less than 50 covers, maintain the recommended of 1.5 m for social distancing and limit the dining time for guests. Niklas is quite relaxed about how his business has changed. As a Michelin restaurant in the middle of a residential area, he no longer has tourist and business customers to rely on. Instead, he has found a new clientele, residents in his local community. Very quickly at the start of the crisis, he adapted his menu to a shorter 4-course tasting, for a cheaper price and has ongoing going communication and marketing initiative in the local media to engage this young clientele. This has been the recipe for his success at this time. He has gone from being a high-end restaurant where only foreigners go, to a local restaurant catering for Swedes.

Kristian Baumann (Restaurant 108)
“It feels great to be back, it makes me feel so much better, I feel at home in the restaurant, I realised how much I actually missed being here, being with the team and listening to music.” This gives you a sense of the optimism that emanates from Kristian Baumann. His ethos for the customer dining experience is to ‘create a vibrant restaurant where people can have fun and relax’. In the current climate, he also wants these customers to feel safe. Kristian has been working on a new dining concept over the last eight months, inspired by the dining traditions in Korean restaurants and temples. The tasting menu ($190) has been removed, the new tray concept is more affordable ($58) and more people can come out, celebrate and enjoy the food at the restaurant for less money.
JP shared his professional and business challenges in deciding on possible adaptions for his restaurant offering at ‘Aniar’. Juggling ‘what’s in your heart at well and be true to identity’ and ‘the possibility of having to flip the concept is hard’. Alongside this, he views Noma’s adaptation to a burger and wine offering as an important marker, giving confidence of flipping the opinion to ‘maybe we can change and still go back’. Juxtaposing this is the opinion- just do it, you need it to survive!

Kristian agreed and said “you should do what you feel like, if you do that, do what’s in your heart- that’s going to be great and it doesn’t matter what the format looks like. This is a unique opportunity to press, control, alt, delete and start over and be completely unapologetic to what you want to do and just go for it. We all have to embrace a new start, don’t look back just keep moving forward, submerge ourselves into cooking again. It’s very important now that we have a positive mindset. This will save us, as it will dictate how our mind is going to be as soon as you accept this you will move forward.”

In many ways, this chat exposed the care and camaraderie that FOTE creates among chefs. I’ve no doubt that this chat inspired the listeners. Kristian’s positivity, clarity of mind, care, love of cooking, team focus, and mindset is what positive kitchen culture should be about.

FOTE 2020- Live Sessions April/May 2020

Text by Annette Sweeney, FOTE Ambassador 2019

Week 3: Alex Atala and Joshna Maharaj
Passion, Farmers, Food and Health- Solutions for Future Sustainability!



Alex Atala


JP’s first chat this week was with Alex Atala, chef and owner of the two-star Michelin D.O.M. Restaurant in San Paulo. He is renowned for his innovative cuisine in using Brazilian ingredients.  Ironically early in March, Michelin Guide Online featured an interview with Alex on ‘Sustainability and The Future of Food’ and now two months later here is talking very movingly about the impact his decision to close the restaurant, was having on his mental health and passion for cooking.  Closed for over 50 days, for him, reaching this decision was hard and indeed led him into a depression, “feeling down for the team and for the restaurant”. “I realised I don’t have a business; I have a dream and that is why I get depressed. We as chefs set out to make our dreams come true and that’s why I get so depressed”. Like Amanda Cohen, he is inspired by the young chef community and their voice for change amidst this crisis. Despite the difficulties, he is pushing himself “to be and stay positive”, cooking at home and taking care of his garden, while he hopes that he might reinvent the restaurant. Like many chefs, he too is experiencing that this time at home has been a great learning for him personally, causing him to reflect on his relationship with time, when for years he was pushing himself to go faster. What is striking is that if his creativity to date evolved in a ‘fast paced’ mind-set, one can only imagine the impact this time to reflect will have on inspiring his creativity, reinventing his restaurant and for sustaining his passion and his talent for the future.

Joshna Maharaj

Passion for change was the underlying resonance from JP’s emotive and engaging chat with Joshna Maharaj. She has just launched her book ‘Take back the tray’ aimed at reconnecting food with health, wellness, education, and rehabilitation in public institutions. Her talk at FOTE (2018) was indeed memorable, and one that many related to, in relation to the change urgently needed in this sector. During this lively chat, in true ‘FOTE Style’ the ideas for bringing about this change, and the potential of possible solutions, bubbled and bounced between JP and Joshna, so much so that it is not possible to give it full representation in this article!

In essence, Joshna’s view is that everything comes back to culture and our priorities, and unfortunately, food is an afterthought in the civic context. JP agreed and called for the urgent need to separate the view of food as an agricultural act and export commodity, rather than food as culture. Alongside this disconnect, they spoke of the disconnect between food and health. According to Joshna, in our homes during Covid-19 we are currently using food as medicine, nourishment, comfort and feeling better from doing so, while JP has been reflecting on the role of chefs in reorienting their usual focus on producers in menus, to that of bringing the same produce into home-cooking.

For them both, the solution to breaking this cycle is found in giving farmers prominence and recognition in their key role in our food culture and in the provision of nutritious fresh food. Alongside this they called on food and health to be part of the universality of food and cooking, matching farms and hospitals, and the education of chefs and doctors in relation to food and nutrition. While these themes have been discussed over the years at FOTE, [ Sauu Laukkonen (2015), Joshna Maharaj (2018), Domini Kemp (2018), Daniel Giusti (2019)], perhaps now, action in this space is key to building a sustainable healthy future for our industry and our society!


FOTE 2020- Live Sessions April/ May 2020

Text by Annette Sweeney, FOTE Ambassador 2019

Week 2: Will Goldfarb and Amanda Cohen
From Bali to Manhattan- ‘Cooking our Way Through COVID-19’

It was uplifting to be virtually ‘transported’ to a tropical island during lockdown and get the grand tour of Will Goldfarb’s garden that surrounds Room4Dessert in Bali. The wonderful garden is a live apothecary where over 200 medicinal plants and trees are grown in the Balinese tradition to provide inspiration and flavour for R & D for the restaurant and bar. While the plants are mainly used for R & D, since Covid-19, he has found it amazing that, instead of going to the markets and to farmers, because of the garden, he is now self-sufficient. Alongside this he has turned his famous dining room into a grocery, selling baked goods, pastries, ice cream, preserves and charcuterie. From the garden to Manhattan, day two this week was a check-in with Amanda Cohen in New York. Amanda, whose restaurants are closed in a city that is more a ‘ghost town’, talked about the current tension in the industry, where a cultural depression has set in.

Will Goldfarb, Room4Dessert

Both chefs spoke openly about their current focus and the importance of community and their role in the industry, in getting them through the challenges they face. According to Amanda, it’s hard, as ‘running restaurants is what we love’. Of great concern to her are the consequences for her staff and suppliers ‘we are losing our families here; it feels like a huge loss’ and ‘not meeting people is the most difficult thing’.  Keeping her going is the link with other restaurants and she’s inspired by this community voice and its power. For Will, mentally, while it is a time for reflection for him, he doesn’t deny how hard it is and is also challenged by being true to his love of providing hospitality. ‘This is such a social job and not being able to provide hospitality without making people feel unsafe, is devastating’.  While he is generally optimistic, COVID-19 has caught him off-guard. Simultaneously and ironically, he recognises he is in paradise! Despite this, all his team are still working, and it was moving to hear that his priority was ‘how does our staff stay fed’ as there is no government support. ‘We are here, we are safe, our staff are safe and that’s what it’s all about”. In addition, his care expands into the community, cooking for those in need.

Amanda Cohen, Dirt Candy


Looking to the future, Amanda takes the positive view that in 1-1.5 years she will be back to where she was. Will also takes an optimistic and indeed altruistic view, “ we know how to cook, so we need to cook our way through it, our job is to cook food, people need to eat, at the end of the day in a very fundamental way, if we can look after the people that work for us and people that are less fortunate than us, in that sense everything is the same. If our restaurant becomes more a community-minded restaurant than it is- that’s a positive change’.  ‘It’s not all about taking care of wealthy people from all over the world!’



FOTE 2020- Live Sessions April 2019

Week 1: Mark Best and Matt Orlando

Text by Annette Sweeney, FOTE Ambassador 2019

For those of us who look forward to our annual inspiration that Food on the Edge is, the decision that is was being postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19, was tinged with disappointment. However, the consolation for 2020 would be a smaller event in Dublin in October. And then last week… a surprise announcement – FOTE was going online with bi-weekly live chats on Instagram between JP and previous FOTE Speakers. Brilliant idea! My initial thoughts were that there was no doubt that these chats would indeed be a diversion from the hum-drum of isolation and lockdown, but more importantly, if FOTE was to be true to its ethos and activity to date, these sessions are sure to inspire us in how we bring our relationship with food, cooking, dining and culinary education into the next era of gastronomic history. In times like these, the power of the FOTE community is valued, after all ‘we are all in this together’!

Mark Best, Marque, Australia
Up first was Mark Best from Australia who shared his insights on the current status of the industry in Australia. Mark was clear that the industry has been under extreme pressure for some time in relation to oversupply, rising costs and overpricing and that the current industry model is broken! Change was coming and is necessary. His positivity for the future was the key learning from the session, adamant that it’s not all ‘doom and gloom’ as good things will result from this. What he is noticing is that chefs who have been in the industry from sometime are now returning to their fundamental skills or passion, for e.g. pastry/bread making, and using those skills to be innovative in producing specialist products for direct sale. This re-focus and resourceful approach, in his opinion, will be the foundation for future success.

Matt Orlando, AMASS Restaurant, Copenhagen

This theme continued in the conversation with Matt Orlando with Matt giving an overview of how he is actively looking at changing the offering in Amass, with plans to revise the fine dining offering while also creating a new casual offering. In his opinion in order to survive, ‘mindsets’ have to change. He was adamant that ‘community’ is one of the biggest things we have right now and that we need this for our ‘mental health’. Again, like Mark, his positivity for the future resonated throughout the conversation, however not without warning. According to Matt, in order to survive, people are going to get really creative, that is of course if they have the courage to take chances outside their comfort zone. This will result in a ‘boom in creativity’.  The fact that he linked  ‘mind-set’, ‘mental health’, ’community’ and ‘creativity’ as part of the ‘way’ into our future, resonated strongly with me as the interrelation of all of these underpins the skills we are developing in young chefs in ‘The Mindful Kitchen’ module for a more positive kitchen culture. It’s encouraging that a module inspired by FOTE is priming young chefs for his vision of the future.


Food On The Edge Announces Four Co-Curators for 2020 Symposium

Food On The Edge has announced the introduction of four Co-Curators who will collaborate with Symposium Director JP McMahon to create the most diverse and inclusive Food On The Edge lineup to date. The international food symposium has the aim of generating debate, discussion, and thought leadership on the future of food both in the industry and on the planet, and is taking place in Galway, Ireland on the 19th and 20th of October 2020.


The Co-Curators are Selassie Atadika, Matt Orlando, Arlene Stein, and Mark Best. Each Co-Curator will work alongside JP McMahon to select four people to speak at Food On The Edge 2020.


This initiative has been introduced this year to broaden the horizons of the symposium, and to give a platform to people from all parts of the world who most embody the Food On The Edge ethos and are doing incredible things for the future of food.


JP McMahon, Symposium Director of Food On The Edge, said, “We wanted to bring as much diversity to the lineup as possible and while every year we ask for recommendations, having a selection of people inviting their own speakers will naturally lead Food On The Edge into new and interesting territory. Geographic location was important when selecting the co-curators to ensure we’re involving speakers from all parts of the world. The co-curators have all spoken at Food On The Edge so they understand the ethos and I’m looking forward to them bringing a new dimension to Food On The Edge 2020.”


Selassie Atadika is a chef and humanitarian who has spent over a decade working with the UN. In 2014 she opened Mindu in Accra, Ghana which celebrates Africa’s cultural and culinary heritage. She spoke at Food On The Edge for the first time in 2019, “Last year I finally got the opportunity to participate in Food On The Edge after hearing wonderful things about the symposium for years. I’m excited to come on board as a co-curated this year to help to bring additional voices to the critical conversation about the future of food.  For me, eating is a celebration of food’s origins, the paths it travels on the way to our tables, and the people whom it brings together through the journey. It is only appropriate that in 2020, Food On The Edge is going back to the roots of food and talking about ‘dirt’.


American chef Matt Orlando has travelled to Galway for Food On The Edge for the past four years. He worked at Heston Blumenthal’s three-starred Michelin restaurant, The Fat Duck and Noma in Copenhagen, one of the world’s best restaurants, before setting up Amass Restaurant in Copenhagen. Matt said, “Over the years that I have been involved with Food On The Edge, I have seen the symposium grow in unimaginable ways. The team behind the symposium is a well oiled machine, that takes the content and personalities of the speakers seriously. The focus on the human aspect of the topics being discussed is why I keep coming back again and again. I grow every year after this symposium and I am honoured to be a co-curator this year. Thank you JP and all of the Food On The Edge team for the opportunity”.


Arlene Stein is the founder and Executive Director of the Terroir Symposium in Toronto, a catalyst for creative collaboration and social and environmental responsibility in the hospitality industry. From her current home base in Berlin, Arlene travels globally to research responsible food systems and gastronomic innovations. Arlene said, “Food on the Edge has made an indelible mark on the food culture of Ireland.  This annual gathering of food leaders is about convening community, sharing knowledge and the power we have to create a better food system.  It’s also about  sharing Irish culture and hospitality with the world, which JP and his team have done so magnificently. It gives me great pleasure to be able to contribute to this meaningful forum as a co-curator and be able to invite some of my food heroes to be part of this exchange.”


Australian chef Mark Best is regarded as an authority on Australian cuisine and is known for his appearances on Netflix’s The Final Table and Masterchef Australia. Following the closure of multi-award-winning Marque in Sydney, he opened Bistro on the Genting Dream luxury ship.

Having been part of the inaugural Food On The Edge, I am so excited to see it grow and honoured to now be co-curating. Food On The Edge is about the fundamental questions in our industry. There is nothing more fundamental than this year’s theme ‘dirt’. The speakers I have chosen will speak to the essential nature of soil and our very existence”.


More than 600 people attended over the two days of Food On The Edge 2019, which was held in Galway in the National University of Ireland, Galway. More than 50 of the world’s best international and Irish chefs and food leaders took to the stage to share their food stories and debate topics, while Irish food producers showcased their produce in the Artisan Food Village.


Food On The Edge 2020 is taking place on the 19th and 20th of October in Galway, with the venue to be confirmed. Additional world-class chefs and speakers will be announced in the coming months.


Early Bird Tickets are available at the reduced price of €300 until the 31st of June. An Instalment Plan is available with an upfront payment of €100 and a second payment of €200 due by the 31st of August. Student tickets can be purchased for €300 until October.