• Cyril McAree

Euro-Toques Young Chef Of The Year Competition Holds Semi-Final Cook-Off


Continuing the competitive journey that began for these young talents in June, the Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year competition presented by La Rousse Foods held the contest semi-finals yesterday, Sunday September 17th, in the professional kitchens of Cooks Academy Cookery School on South William Street in Dublin’s city centre. This was a skills test with a very specific brief, and the guest judge for the semi-finals was Michelin-starred chef Danni Barry of EIPIC in Belfast, with other judges including chefs Graham Neville and Gareth Mullins, and Domini Kemp.

The two-hour test saw the 12 contestants prepare two portions of slip sole with hollandaise sauce, potato dauphine and vegetables, following strict recipes for the accompaniments, but using their own skills, initiative and style to cook the fish and create the final dish.

The Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year competition presented by La Rousse Foods is Ireland’s premier culinary competition celebrating Ireland’s best emerging culinary talent. Open to professional chefs under the age of 26, the competition has a proven track record in discovering the finest young talent with former winners including Mark Moriarty who progressed to win the World San Pellegrino Young Chef Competition in 2015.

The competition started in June and guides the young chefs through a culinary journey culminating with the final in November. On Sunday at the semi-finals, judges watched the competitors at work, tasted and tested, and made a decision as to which six of these young talents will progress to the next stage of the competitive adventure.

The 12 contestants in the Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year competition presented by La Rousse Foods will all participate in the two-day chefs’ conference Food On The Edge in Galway on October 9-10th and the six finalists will be announced on October 16th along with the guest judge for the final.

After the announcement, the six Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year finalists are requested to devise two dishes, one sweet and one savoury, inspired by this year’s contest theme ‘Back to basics – old-school cooking’.

Finalists are expected to use their creativity and demonstrate their culinary skills, focusing on basic, simple techniques – old-school cooking that provides the fundamentals and solid foundation of any cuisine. They will also spend a day meeting producers whose produce will be used in the competition finals.

The six finalists will then be flown out to a Michelin star restaurant for a unique lunch experience – yet to be revealed! – before taking part in the competition finals in Cooks Academy followed by gala dinner at the Intercontinental Hotel in Dublin on 19th November.

Euro-Toques Ireland has increasingly focused on education and, together with presenting partner La Rousse Foods, has developed a programme for this year’s competition which includes workshops, demos, visits to suppliers and culinary activities that aim to mentor and develop the exciting new Irish culinary talent participating in Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year.

The 12 young chefs in this year’s Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year – three young women and nine young men – are currently working in some of the country’s most exciting and sophisticated kitchens and being mentored by individual chefs with unique skill sets and talents. For all the young chefs taking part this contest is a unique experience that will provide recognition throughout Ireland and beyond, and act as a prestigious stepping-stone in their culinary career.

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