The rooms at Soder&Ko were full of excitement this Monday afternoon, while the five finalists of the Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year 2015 competition were preparing their dishes in the kitchen. The theme of this year’s competition is “Origins of Contemporary Irish Cooking”. After a glass of prosecco Wade Murphy, Commissioner General of Euro-Toques Ireland and Chef/Proprietor 1826 Adare, welcomed the audience. Celebrity chef Kevin Thornton also said some words, emphasizing how important it is now to support the young chefs as they are “the new generation”. Support and motivation is what the whole event and the competition are about. Soder&Ko head chef Kwanghi Chan said that he was very excited about the presentation and happy to have so many colleagues and friends in his house.
Enough said – it’s show time for the five finalists of Euro-Toques young chef of the year 2015!
The first one to present their creation is Roseanne Meehan. “Beef and Mushroom” is the simple name of the dish, which is mushroom broth and a piece of wrapped beef served warm. It seemed to catch the hungry guests! The 24-years old participant Roseanne is Junior Sous Chef at Knockkranny House Hotel and trained by her mentor Seamus Commons.
Secondly, Conor Halpenny serves his “Land and Sea” dish in a shell – a very beautiful arrangement of caviar, bacon, cucumber and other ingredients. Seafood is unfortunately not everyone’s taste, but most of the guests enjoyed this bite as well. With only 20 years, Conor is the youngest of the five finalists and works as Chef de Partie at Tankardstown House, Brabazon Restaurant in Meath, where he learns from headache Robbie Krawczyk.
The third one to impress the guests is Ruth Lappin with “Bacon and Eggs”. The small meatball topped with a tiny fried egg and English mustard was our personal favourite. Aged 22, Ruth has already made it to chef de parties at Patrick Guilband, where she learns from head chef Kieran Glennon.
Number four is John Fitzmaurice (26), who prepared an Oyster with a green and a white sauce and called his creation “Oyster and Guinness”. The Irish background in this dish is very visible and the sweet taste of Guinness is lovely! John is Headchef at Moloughney’s in Clontarf, Dublin and his mentor is Liam Moloughney.
Last but not least, Robert Browne (21) served his “Shepard Pie”, lamb tartar on a small cracker. A perfect finish for the tasting! It is surprising that Robert is a medical student and not a professional cook – one couldn’t guess that from his dish…
The effort and ambition of the participants was perceivable in every single creation of the five finalists. Now there is one more month for them to prepare for the big final on the 29th of November, where they will not only have to present their dishes to the jury – one of the judges this year is Clare Smyth – but also pass a culinary skills test before that. The final is going to take place in the esteemed Cooks Academy in Dublin’s City Centre and fishiness with an exclusive gala banquet at Dublin’s historic Shelbourne Hotel, when the winner will be announced.
It’s the 28th year of the competition and it has brought up a range of brilliant chefs during that time. We’re excited to see who brings home the bacon this year – good luck to all of you!
Photos by Manon Gustave