Forks in the road

By Matthew White, Chair of The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) and Director of Campus Commerce at University of Reading

This is the theme of our upcoming winter conference taking place on Wednesday 5 December 2018. This year, we will be heading to the birthplace of the Titanic, the city of Belfast.

Queen’s University will be hosting our fourth winter conference and we are very excited to showcase several influential speakers. The objective is to offer practical tips to gain a competitive edge in the market and ultimately provide delegates with valuable insight ready to implement in the new year.

Speakers for the one-day conference include Professor Chris Elliot, Pro Vice- Chancellor at Queen’s University, who will be discussing food security post-Brexit; Stewart Wood, Lord Wood of Anfield, discussing the way in which Brexit will impact universities and Donald Sloan of the Oxford Cultural Collective who will present the outcomes of a TUCO-commissioned research, covering the impact of hospitality, catering and residence staff on the student experience.

An additional advantage to this year’s event is whilst in Belfast, delegates can kill two birds with one stone by attending our Northern Ireland winter conference study tour. Following on from the conference, the study tour runs from Thursday 6 to Friday 7 December 2018. Organised by our award-winning TUCO Academy, it is a fantastic opportunity to experience regional food and have the chance to meet growers, farmers and fishermen, as well as some of Northern Ireland’s finest chefs.

Matt White

This will be a similar experience to our recent study tour at The Universal Cookery and Food Festival, which was held at Westlands in Evesham. Hosted by the Craft Guild of Chefs, it was a culinary food festival designed for chefs, by chefs. It was a unique opportunity to tour Britain’s finest by offering chefs, exhibitors and influencers in the industry the chance to get behind the scenes and inside one of Britain’s most prestigious micro-leaf growing greenhouses and get involved in several sessions on the main stage.

In November, we are also delighted to be a supporter of Food Matters Live 2018, held at London’s ExCeL. The three-day event is a great opportunity to network with industry experts including policymakers, innovators, start-ups and established household names.

To book the TUCO winter conference or to become a member, visit

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