Local well-known chef Brian McDermott has given his backing to Derry City and Strabane District Council’s plans to establish a Food Network as part of the legacy of NI Year of Food success and NICHE food innovation project.Urging those involved in the local food and drinks sector to sign up for the Food Network, Brian says he is confident it will bring forward new ideas and initiatives to further support the region as a leading innovative foodie destination.He said: “The food network is a great opportunity for everyone involved in the vibrant food industry to come together as a collective to from a brand to represent the region nationally and internationally."We're well known for our food here in Derry, and the city and region is really taking off as a destination for food tourism, so this is the perfect chance for us to capitalise on that and create a really strong brand identity which will allow us to share that success across Ireland and further afield.  "I'm very pleased to be a part of it and I would urge anyone who's involved in the food industry in Derry and the North West to get involved and help us spread the word that this is the place to be for food." Catherine Goligher, NICHE Project Officer with Derry City and Strabane District Council says the proposed Food Network will engage with those involved in the food and drink industry in both the private and public sector, to work collaboratively to build on the successes achieved to date, identify gaps, develop initiatives and ideas to really drive the local food sector.“We are really keen to get those involved in the food and drink sector to get involved and to continue to work collectively to build on the momentum of the Year of Food and ensure continued success. We are engaging with the local food and drink industry to gauge their views and opinions and would like to invite businesses to complete an online survey ahead of the first meeting that is provisionally set for early June.“We are really excited about our recent successes with the Year of Food and Drink and the way in which Derry and Strabane’s food tourism is expanding and developing. We believe the setting up of the Food Network through our EU project NICHE is a great way of continuing to engage with all of our partners and allowing us to create a strong legacy for the future,” Catherine added.Anyone involved in the local food and drink industry who is keen to get involved is encouraged to visit the website to complete the online survey – www.derrystrabane.com/Subsites/Food/Food-Network or alternatively to contact Catherine directly at [email protected] press information can be obtained by contacting Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Communications Section, Tel. 028 71 376 583 or email [email protected]