Finals of Ireland’s Apprentice Chef take place on 11th May

On Thursday 11th May, secondary school students will get stirring to complete the final service in the 2017 Flogas Ireland and Failte Ireland sponsored Apprentice Chef Programme. The objective of the programme is to steer students towards eating a healthier and more balanced diet that will improve their mental and physical health and to also promote the catering industry as a career choice.

Since October 2016 over 500 students have enjoyed a series of demonstrations and workshops as part of the programme which aims to promote the importance of healthy eating to enhance physical and mental well-being, encourage young people to consider a culinary career to help combat the current chef crisis in Ireland and contribute to the development of self confidence and self esteem.

The young finalists will enjoy an authentic professional kitchen experience and serve restaurant standard dishes ranging from “green tea smoked chicken with cauliflower rice, apple & fennel slaw” to “pistachio, courgette and lemon cake” to a panel of judges. The Apprentice Chef Finals are being held in the Hotel, Culinary & Tourism Department at the Institute of Technology, Tralee, where they will have to produce their dishes for tasting and judging by a panel of independent judges.

Having been mentored by accomplished Kerry chefs Mark Doe and Louise Brosnan, who recently completed a stage in Belfast with Danni Barry, Ireland’s only female Michelin Star chef, and supported by nutritional therapist, Susie Cox, each dish presented by the students will have a “Good Mood Food” influence.

Apprentice Chef mentor Louise Brosnan

This is the fifth year of the Apprentice Chef Programme which was established by Mark Doe of Just Cooking Cookery School in Firies, Co Kerry and Mark Murphy, senior lecturer in Culinary Arts at IT Tralee. 
Apprentice Chef mentor Mark Doe

Co-founder Mark Doe said, “Since we started the Apprentice Chef in 2012, over two thousand secondary school students have attended workshops and cookery demonstrations. In our initial year we had a modest cohort of students from Kerry and Limerick. In year 2 students from Co Cork participated and for the first time this year, we were delighted to collaborate with Waterford IT and students from Tipperary, Wexford and Waterford have joined the programme. We are continuously impressed by the standard of dishes produced and this inspires us to build on the programme’s success and we will continue in our efforts to take it to national level. We are indebted to our sponsors, Flogas Ireland and Failte Ireland, for their support to date and we look forward to future collaboration.”
 George Hennessy, Apprentice Chef Winner 2016

The inaugural 2012 winner, Julia O Doherty from Hazelwood College in Dromcollogher, Co Limerick went on to study pharmacy at UCC. On International Women’s Day this year she contacted the Apprentice Chef team saying, “I find that there are many similarities between cooking and the pharmacy course. While I swapped my chef’s jacket for a lab coat and safety glasses, my goal in cooking still holds through in many dosage forms – the product must make the recipient happy. In a nutshell, it goes without saying that my success in the competition has not only inspired me to thrive in the development of my culinary skills but also in my academic studies and my pursuits in extra-curricular activities.” Julia added, “When I have an exam approaching or a tough assignment due, I reflect on the challenges that I met and overcame in preparation for the competition. As a result, I have gained self-confidence and public speaking skills which are invaluable at third level.”

All finalists receive a specially commissioned Ambri chopping board, a Just Cooking cookbook and their Apprentice Chef monogrammed chef uniform.

The Supreme Apprentice Chef will also receive a set of professional knives, €1000 equipment for their school, a year’s subscription to Easyfood Magazine and a styling session at Easyfood Magazine HQ this summer. A specially commissioned perpetual trophy will also be presented to the winner.

For more information on the Apprentice Chef visit www.theapprenticechef.ie and www.facebook.com/theapprenticechef and Follow them on Twitter on www.twitter.com/theappchef

Best of Success to all involved!
Zack

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About IrishFoodGuide

Zack Gallagher. News about Food in Ireland, Food Producers & Irish Food Tourism. Chef, Food Blogger, Failte Ireland Food Ambassador. On the #WildAtlanticWay @IrishFoodGuide on Twitter
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