I am honoured to have been elected Commissioner-General of Euro-Toques Ireland and I hope I will represent you well over the course of the next 2 years.
And the job of Commissioner-General is after all to represent the members – so that is what I intend to do. That is why I want members to let me know what they think we should be doing and what they feel is relevant and important to them. Everyone is busy and these are challenging times, but I will try to keep in touch with members as much as I can and would encourage members to be as active and involved as they can be.
The reputation of Euro-Toques in Ireland is constantly building and has had a huge boost with the success of the Young Chef last year. The fact that we were approached by the organisers of CATEX and asked to bring our activities to the event this year is testament to how highly we are regarded within the industry.
I hope to build upon these successes and to continue to grow the reputation of Euro-Toques in Ireland.
With the support of Failte Ireland, we managed to bring the Euro-Toques Young Chef Competition to new heights in 2012. Now we must ensure that this new level we have brought it to be maintained and exceeded. This competition really has the capacity to demonstrate Ireland’s culinary potential and to nurture it into the future – and I am very excited to be involved with that.
I would hope that during my time as Commissioner-General we can build up the membership of Euro-Toques Ireland. There are still many great chefs out there, working fully in line with the Euro-Toques code, who are not members. I hope that we can work on attracting them to join and show them the benefits and also what they can contribute.
But at the same time we need to maintain our standards – and that goes for existing members as well as new. Our credibility is our reputation. If a member chef does not work within the Euro-Toques philosophy, it reflects on all of us and this is something we should not tolerate.
And in order to stay true to our code and out philosophy, I believe we must remain close to our beginnings and go back to the basics of what we are about in many ways.
For that reason, I would like to encourage a strengthening of links with food producers, with more visits by Euro-Toques chefs to producers and more presence from producers at some of our events. At the same time I would love to see more local & regional activity in Euro-Toques, with chefs getting together, however small the group, to share knowledge & experiences – or even just to enjoy good food & drink! This is something we need the help and support of our members on.
I think these kinds of activities can keep us strong as an organisation and truly make us the ‘community of chefs’ that Euro-Toques was set out to be.
That said, we have made great progress at a national level in recent times and our activities in the area of education & training for chefs is something I value hugely. Our Chef Development Programme with La Rousse Foods has gone from strength to strength and is gaining recognition throughout the industry and the education sector. The support of La Rousse Foods has allowed us to make great in-roads into the area of education and we are very grateful to them for that.
Our Memorandum of Understanding with the Institutes of Technology, which puts us on the path to influencing the future training of chefs in this country, is the first of its kind between the educational institutes and an industry group in Ireland. We have developed an extremely positive relationship with our education colleagues and are highly regarded by them.
I believe that Euro-Toques should work constructively as an organisation. We may have criticisms, but we must always offer solutions. We must be positive and work with everyone to the benefit of our industry. This is something we have been doing very well and I hope to continue working in this vein.
Much of what has been achieved over the past two years has been down the huge commitment of Gearoid Lynch as Commissioner-General. He has given an immense amount of time, hard work and dedication to Euro-Toques during his term and has left me with big shoes to fill and very high standards to maintain.
On behalf of the Board of Commissioners, Food Council and all of the members I would like to say a truly heartfelt thanks to Gearoid for all of this work on our behalf.
And wish him the best in his retirement!
Finally I would like to thank all the member and our partners and associates for continuing to support this organisation. Nothing could be achieved without this.