A new food industry networking event, Eat the Island, takes place on Thursday 8 June from 3 – 6pm at the Queens Hotel. It is for local food and drink producers, independent retailers and hospitality venues in Portsmouth and the South Coast region.
Eat the Island is a free networking event organised by Portsmouth City Council, Hampshire Fare and the Queens Hotel. It aims to bring together local businesses to inspire, create opportunities and celebrate the area’s vibrant food and drink culture.
The Portsmouth food industry event will offer producers the opportunity to showcase their products to local hospitality venues and retailers. It will help them to grow a sustainable and thriving supply chain in the heart of Portsmouth. In addition, there will be a programme of short talks covering good practice, increasing revenue and enhancing the consumer experience.
Jane Lamer Head of Economic Development and Skills at Portsmouth City Council, said: “Eat the Island is a new initiative resulting from our work to support local businesses through the annual Southsea Food Festival.
“By bringing together food and drink businesses, we hope to enable greater opportunities to work together and grow Portsmouth’s economy.”
Tracy Nash, Commercial Manager at Hampshire Fare, said: ‘Joining up the foodie dots is what we do best at Hampshire Fare. This is going to be a great example of this. We are delighted to be involved in this Portsmouth food industry event. We are very excited about the vibrancy of the food and drink sector in this region’
The event builds on the success of Southsea Food Festival and the city’s lively food and drink offering.
Paul Playford, General Manager of the Queens Hotel said he was delighted to host the first Eat the Island event.
“We are keen for our island city to be seen as a food destination.
“We look forward to working with other hospitality providers and local producers to put ourselves on the foodie map for the UK,” he said.
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The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Portsmouth have presented the Queens Hotel with a Freedom of the City certificate in recognition of the community work carried out during the first Covid lockdown.
This work saw the hotel cooking up to 600 meals a week and delivering them to vulnerable people. The hotel also welcomed frontline NHS staff who stayed at the hotel during the first wave of the pandemic.
Head chef at Gunwharf Quays Brasserie Blanc, Anghel Niko Nedelcu, joined forces with Queens Hotel Managing Director , Farid Yeganeh, to create up to 600 meals every week. General Manager, Chris Gilmore, and Head Chef, Paul Playford, from the hotel’s sister establishment, the Royal Beach, also joined them.
Thousands of pounds were donated to ensure the meals could be created for those most in need. Suppliers and city based companies such as PMC Construction and Southsea butchers, Buckwells, also donated to the cause.
Farid explained: “None of us could just sit back and wait. We wanted to help in a practical way and we are really enjoying cooking for our community.”
“The meals prepared at the Queens Hotel were really special. Receiving one was such a treat,” said Clare Martin, Director of Community Projects at Portsmouth Football Club.
Her team of volunteers worked with the strategic partnership of the HIVE Portsmouth to deliver meals and food parcels to the vulnerable.
“One person burst into tears when our volunteer arrived with food for them; they were so delighted.”
Commenting on the Freedom of the City honour, Farid added: “We are delighted to be recognised in this way for the work we did. We see ourselves as the hotel at the heart of Southsea and this has underlined that position.”