Autumn Pembrokeshire Food & Drink Evening

27 Nov

Last night, Tuesday 26th November was apparently the correct night for the above, despite the invite saying Wednesday November 26th. Of course regular visitors to welshfoodbites will be aware that Ian and I were not allowed press tickets to attend and were told that this meeting was purely for Pembrokeshire producers, the public and press were not invited.

The evening agenda was as follows:

Food Rating Scheme – what does it mean for food and drink producers. This presentation and Q&A was taken by Peter Cole senior EHO officer.

This was followed by ‘New food and drink strategy for Wales 2014-20’ taken by Keith Smyton, Head of Food Division WG – your chance to have your say.

This was followed by Total Food Marketing mentoring support opportunities and AOB.

Well the feedback I’ve had today is that the main concern of producers, the ‘New food and drink strategy for Wales 2014-20’ was a total nothingness, ‘your chance to have your say’ was not at all accurate. Mr Smyton appears to have had his hands tied and nothing can be said from wag food until Alun Davies the Minister for Natural Resources gives his speech on Monday at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair. It is interesting though that comments from some producers said that Mr Smyton indicated that he wanted this consultation some time ago. But can’t confirm this ‘gossip’ for sure as I say I was banned.

Now you’ll all be delighted to hear that Ian and I have not been banned from this meeting – surprise, surprise! In fact the wag food team have been most helpful even down to answering my question as to whether an official press release will be issued. You’ll be pleased to know that an official press release will be issued and all our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers will get it emailed to them as soon as possible.

From our understanding and chat from producers, which might or might not be true, the Food Team in Aberystwyth has been transformed with very few of the old guard left in place. I can already here some of you cheering, but until I know for sure, who’s in, who’s out, and who’s doing what role, I’ll wait and see.

We can only hope that this all bodes well to a more open and more commercially thinking food department that is going to listen to all sides and become constructive open and fair to all, whatever the size of the company. I hope that Mr Smyton’s hands are not permanently tied which will prevent him doing his job and as already said, I’m still hopeful he can help all Welsh food producers and food media too.

In the meantime I can only hope and sit on the fence – which is not my style.

So I’m grateful I didn’t miss much, instead Ian and I were invited, yes guys, another invite, to Cardiff by the Countryside Alliance for their Game-To-Eat night. There we had Welsh chef Dudley Newbury and his team cook some superb canapés all using game. A brilliant evening plus we met many people from the hotel and restaurant trade along with some of our Assembly Members. A great opportunity for Ian and I to speak with many that have influence. It was a positive evening all round that really did show that we have wonderful restaurants in Wales that want to promote local food and some Assembly Members that are also think along the same lines.

If more in this industry stand up and be counted, maybe that is the only way we can change things for the better.


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  1. Pembs Producer

    November 28, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Pleased I didn’t waste my diesel.
    It’s about time wag and the council realised that it costs us in time and money to attend meetings.
    What a waste of time that was for those that bothered to attend
    Our council has a lot to answer for but of course they wont as they all get paid regardless of performance.

  2. Pembs Producer

    November 28, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Clever you staying away, wished I’d had your sense.
    you can sure tell who gets paid each month, month in month out.

    Time – waste – of – just re-arrange

  3. J

    November 29, 2013 at 9:38 am

    I wish I have gone with you Kath. You now know you missed nothing, it was just us wasting our time and our money once again.
    New head of food could tell us nothing because on the Minister’s announcement next Monday which of course the mass of us haven’t been invited to. Thank goodness you have and you have said you’ll send his message to all bow producers so thanks for that. Sure he’ll say nothing worthwhile but he’ll sure tick another box. Wow

  4. Pembrokeshire producer

    November 29, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    At least I’m not alone in thinking this was a waste of time and I am disgusted that Pembrokeshire council should waste our time and money getting us to attend. We don’t all get expenses and mileage
    And as for not allowing let alone inviting Kath and Ian to attend astonishes me how can you be so blinkered to people working so hard for local food. It’s nothing short of idiotic and sums up this council and the food team. It’s childish.

  5. Pembs Producer

    November 29, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    I’m no longer proud to live and work in this county. And wasting an evening to attend that shambles was annoying. But sure the speech makers and PCC staff still got paid…