New Irish News 'IN Person' social series gets businesses out again

Irish News business editor Gary McDonald addresses guests at the inaugural IN-Person social series, watched by Peter McGahan, chief executive of Worldwide Financial Planning, who sponsored the initiative. Picture: Hugh Russell
Gary McDonald Business Editor

MORE than 60 invited guests enjoyed a unique celebration of the best of Northern Ireland food and drink at an intimate new Irish News Business 'IN Person' social series in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter.

The event is a the first in a series of in-person gatherings, aimed at getting small numbers of people out and about safely in a social setting as Covid restrictions ease.

The inaugural get-together was sponsored by the multi-award winningWorldwide Financial Planning, whose Armagh-born chief executive Peter McGahan has been a regular contributor to the Irish News business and personal finance pages for 20 years (his weekly column appears each Monday).

Three culinary geniuses came together to cook a selection of sumptuous tasting dishes in the courtyard of the Dark Horse in Commercial Court, kindly granted by owner Willie Jack. They were:

Cornwall-based Stephane Delourme, who is head chef at the Rick Stein Group.

He spent his childhood between Brittany and Paris and developed a love for cooking at a young age inspired by his uncle’s travels around the world. He started an apprenticeship at 16 at two Michelin starred Sully D’ Auteuil, before moving to Le Vieux Berlin and then to England in 1989, where he worked in London’s Roof Restaurant at the Hilton on Park Lane. His career has taken him around the globe on the world’s most famous cruise liner, the QE2, as well as to Dublin where he worked with Patrick Guilbaud in his self-named two Michelin-starred restaurant.

James Street restaurant group owner and chef Niall McKenna has been cooking since the age of 16 and in the course of his career spent more than a decade training under the likes of Michelin starred chefs Nico Ladenis, Gary Rhodes and Marco Pierre White.

He worked in the prestigious Avenue Restaurant in Mayfair and at the Notting Hill Brasserie before returning to Belfast to set up his own restaurant in 2003. Three years ago he purchased the Grade B listed Waterman House building at Hill Street in Belfast as part an investment of more than £1 million to redevelop the former James Street South Cookery School, and he has recently opened his new-look Waterman House Cookery School.

Aghadowey-born chef and food writer Paula McIntyre has just completed a new three-part BBC cookery series called Hamely Kitchen, in which she delved deep into her Ulster-Scots heritage to serve up mouth-watering recipes crafted from the finest local ingredients.

She originally trained in culinary arts at the prestigious Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island USA before returning to the UK in 1993 to open her own restaurant in Manchester. Since 2000 she has featured in countless TV and radio shows and has worked as chef demonstrator and live cookery theatre host. Paula also lectures in catering on the Professional Cookery programme in Northern Regional College.

Irish News business editor Gary McDonald welcomed guests to the IN Person event and thanked the trio of chefs for the fantastic fare, while Peter McGahan outlined Worldwide Financial Planning's ambitious growth plans.

One of the UK’s leading firms of independent financial advisers, WWFP has amassed an array of awards over recent years, including Investment Adviser of the Year and Mortgage Adviser of the Year.

It has also collected 16 FT awards, with the FT Adviser Editor remarking: “It is the value of honesty, integrity and empathy which have given Worldwide Financial Planning the edge over other advisers.”

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