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Partnership with Antonio Carluccio Foundation – a catalyst for social inclusion


Ulster University and the Oxford Cultural Collective share a commitment to using education as a tool for extending opportunity and achieving social inclusion. The work of Academy: the Centre for Food Drink and Culture will be focused on the provision of higher education as a means of enhancing the life chances of young people from across Northern Ireland, including those from historically disadvantaged communities.  


As an institute with a strong sense of civic responsibility, Ulster University seeks to contribute to the ongoing societal transformation that is taking place in Northern Ireland. Central to this ambition are efforts to widen participation in higher education, particularly for those from historically disadvantaged communities.

The launch of Academy: the Centre for Food, Drink and Culture, presents an opportunity for Ulster University to more actively engage with young people from across Northern Ireland, including those who may not be considering higher education as an option. It will become a welcoming, accessible environment, within which school pupils can be introduced to the realities of student life.

The university has entered a partnership with the Antonio Carluccio Foundation aimed at breaking down perceived barriers to participation in higher education. This initiative will encourage young people in Northern Ireland to consider studying in the fields of Hospitality and Culinary Arts Management.

Antonio Carluccio, the chef and restaurateur considered by many to be the godfather of Italian gastronomy in the UK, established the Foundation in his name to provide resources and development opportunities to aspiring chefs and hospitality professionals, including those who have experienced challenges in their personal lives and careers. Forming part of the university’s ambitious widening access and participation agenda, the Antonio Carluccio Outreach Programme, which was launched in September 2020, involves university lecturers, students and representatives of the local hospitality industry, who engage with school leavers through an ongoing series of workshops and field-trips.

For Dr. Laura Wells, Lecturer in Hospitality Management, who is coordinating the outreach programme, it reflects wider ambitions: “We believe that hospitality and culinary arts management provide the perfect platform for those who are creative, people-oriented and have an entrepreneurial spirit. We have a responsibility to engage with the widest possible audience of young people, to share with them the opportunities for education and careers in our sector. This initiative reflects Antonio Carluccio’s altruistic approach to life, his commitment to mentoring others and his desire to share his passion for food, drink and culture.”  

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