New food and drink academy launches in Leeds

Lucie Mountain from Crepe Lucette chats to Peter Ahye from Hexagon. Pictures: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Lucie Mountain from Crepe Lucette chats to Peter Ahye from Hexagon. Pictures: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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A NEW academy that dishes up support for the city’s independent food and drink scene is launching in Leeds this week.

The Independent Food and Drink Academy (IFDA) aims to provide advice, support and training to people in the industry, from street food traders to established small businesses.

The Independent Food and Drink Academy launches at  Belgrave Music Hall in Leeds. Pictured are Guy Lincoln and Sofia Robelo from Leeds Beckett University, Andrew Critchett from Fish&, Andrew Cooper from Leeds BID, Sue Burgess and Stuart Miller from Leeds City Council.

The Independent Food and Drink Academy launches at Belgrave Music Hall in Leeds. Pictured are Guy Lincoln and Sofia Robelo from Leeds Beckett University, Andrew Critchett from Fish&, Andrew Cooper from Leeds BID, Sue Burgess and Stuart Miller from Leeds City Council.

Emily Boothroyd, owner of Leeds-based street food business Banh mi Booth, said: “When you start a food business you need all the advice you can get.

“To have someone you can turn to and run ideas past, someone that has been there, done that, has expertise in that particular area, be it accounting or event planning – is really an invaluable resource.

“If the opportunity to work with an academy like the IFDA had been offered to me when I was starting out I wouldn’t have hesitated to sign up.”

The academy launched at Belgrave Music Hall and Trinity Kitchen this week.

It is being run by Leeds Beckett University and Leeds City Council with support from the Leeds Business Improvement District (BID).

Guy Lincoln, senior lecturer in the School of Events, Tourism and Hospitality at Leeds Beckett, helped set up the academy. He said: “The number and variety of businesses providing food and drink in Leeds is growing at a fast rate, and the level of competition increases with it.

“By bringing together a fantastic network of industry experts and experienced operators, our aim is to share our knowledge and understanding of the food and drink sectors and to support business owners in establishing and growing their businesses to reach their full potential.

“We hope to create a blueprint for similar national schemes.”

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said: “The advice and support available will be invaluable to many start-ups or growing businesses in this industry.”

Andrew Cooper, chief executive at Leeds BID, added: “Independent food and drink is a key ingredient in the city’s culinary offer and is vital in driving a unique food offering all year round, putting Leeds firmly on the national food map.”

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