Deborah Ryan, one of the 2017 Young Chefs, reflects on her experience at the Symposium
I first heard about the Oxford Symposium through my university lecturer, Máirtín Mac Con Iomaire, a trustee of the symposium. I had been looking to broaden my knowledge of gastronomy outside university and to push myself into new fields.
I began cooking at age 16 in the restaurant kitchen of Ballymaloe House in Cork, Ireland. I would cook here in the summers and holidays when I wasn’t at school. I started to connect to the ethos of using local ingredients and suppliers. I took a year off before starting university and travelled to work in San Francisco then Rome. I worked as an intern in the Rome Sustainable Food Project, started by Alice Waters. This completely changed my cooking style and introduced me to the importance of sustainability in food. I returned to Ireland to study a degree in Culinary Arts in Dublin. Last summer I did an internship working in River Cottage, UK. When I learned that the 2017 theme of the symposium was “Food and Landscape”, I knew I would find it fascinating.