Yesterday afternoon fifteen aspiring young Irish Cooking heroes got the word that they had made it to the last 15 in this year’s Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year. Unfortunately, 15 others who had made it to Stage 2 discovered they had not made the cut.
We had unprecedented interest in the competition this year (no doubt encouraged by our fab online videos by the guys in Nomos Productions and starring 2011 Young Chef of the Year Kamil Dubanik. Check them out if you haven’t yet http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FufY7dkf2PA&feature=g-upl ).
We had some fantastic social media entries in the first stage, with candidates making videos, photographing their food and setting up blogs to show us what they would do as Ireland’s young food hero. We were blown away by the effort some people put in. Those who made it to stage 2 were asked to submit a recipe reflecting their take on Irish Cooking. The results were interesting; one thing is clear – young chefs certainly keep up to date on the latest culinary trends and kitchen technologies. But much more important for us, most candidates recognised the importance of local and seasonal sourcing and used their recipes to celebrate the fantastic produce to be found on their doorstep.
We are extremely grateful to the 3 judges who marked the Stage 2 recipe entries. Recipes are send to the judges in a standardised format and marked anonymously with all references to the chef’s name and restaurant removed. The stage 2 judges were: Stephen Gibson, Pichet Restaurant; Domini Kemp, ITSA & Feast catering; and Euro-Toques founding chef Gerry Galvin from Galway.
It was no easy task to whittle the numbers down by half for the 3rd stage. But it had to be done. So here are the final fifteen (drumroll….):
Aisling Gallagher Ballynahinch Castle, Galway
Ciaran Elliot Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, Dublin
Colin McKee Harvey’s Point, Donegal
Colin Green MacNean House, Cavan
Garry O’Malley Knockranny House, Mayo
Grainne O’Keefe Pichet Restaurant, Dublin
Jack O’Keefe Springfort Hotel, Cork
John O’Connor The Malton, Kerry
Karina Quinlan Chapter Forty, Kerry
Keelan Higgs Locks Brasserie, Dublin
Kieran McComiskey O’Gradys on the Pier, Galway
Leo Sayping Wineport Lodge, Westmeath
Mark Moriarty The Greenhouse, Dublin
Richard Borne Town Bar & Grill, Dublin
Sam Mulholland Renvyle House, Galway
Next Monday, these 15 chefs will come to Dublin to be interviewed by: Gearoid Lynch, President of Euro-Toques and Chef/Proprietor of the Olde Post Inn, Co. Cavan, Wade Murphy, Executive Chef at the 5 star Lodge at Doonbeg in Co. Clare and John Mulcahy, Head of Food Tourism, Hospitality Education & Standards at Failte Ireland.
Only 5 will be selected to take part in the Culinary Skills Test final on November 25th.
These 5 finalists will be announced at a very special pop-up event in Dublin city centre on Tuesday 30th of October – and we will be giving a very limited number of places to members of the public to join the media in meeting the 5 chefs and tasting their food.
You need to be following us on Twitter to be in with a chance, so what are you waiting for?
And while you are at it, ‘Like’ us on Facebook
Best of luck to all on Monday. Looking forward to meeting you.
Will keep you posted on progress!!