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1-Judges-and-finalists-scaled

Seven Finalists Announced for the Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year 2024 Finals in October

 On Sunday, 23rd June 2024, the semi-finals of the Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year competition, proudly presented by principal partners La Rousse Foods, unfolded at Dublin Cookery School in Blackrock, Co. Dublin. As the competition continues to soar in popularity, this year’s event garnered great enthusiasm, welcoming professional young chefs under the age of 28, and establishing itself as Ireland’s premier culinary competition. 

The panel of judges for the thrilling semi-finals included Head of the Young Chef Committee, Gareth Mullins of Anantara The Marker Dublin, and acclaimed chefs: Kevin Burke of Library Street, Dublin, Kevin Thornton of Kooks, Dublin, Danny Africano of Lignum, Co. Galway, and Domini Kemp of Lotties, Dublin, alongside the Head of Euro-toques Ireland, Kwanghi Chan

The competition saw fourteen talented contestants battling it out in a heated two-part semi-final that included a skills test and a mystery basket challenge. After careful consideration, the judges selected seven exceptional young chefs to progress to the finals, which will take place in October. 

The seven young chefs through to the next round of the competition are Tom Donohoe from Orwell Road, Dublin with mentor Dan Hannigan; Bryan Bridgeman from Homestead Cottage, Co. Clare, with mentor Robbie McCauley; Victor Erisay from Chapter One by Mickael Viljanen, Dublin with mentor Mickael Viljanen; David Harte from The Searooms at Kelly’s Resort, Co. Wexford, with mentor Chris Fullam; Anna Hevers from Goldie, Co. Cork, with mentor Aishling Moore; Nell McCarthy from dede, Co. Cork,  with mentor Ahmet Dede; Marcell Palfalusi from Thyme Restaurant, Co. Athlone with mentor John Coffey. 

This diverse group of young chefs, who represent some of the best culinary talent in Ireland, have earned the opportunity to compete in the final round of the competition. With a theme of “Inspiring Regeneration,” the young chefs were tasked with demonstrating their culinary skills and creativity in two separate challenges: a skills test based on a classic gnocchi recipe and a mystery basket challenge requiring contestants to craft a dish incorporating two essential elements: vegetables and gnocchi. 

This challenge emphasised creativity and adaptability, as contestants had to think on their feet and make the most of the available ingredients. Notably, the semi-finalists recently engaged in a Masterclass on ‘The essence of pasta making’, hosted by La Rousse Foods, featuring a chef ambassador from ALMA, the world’s leading centre for Italian Cuisine and Hospitality. The contestants were also tasked with addressing prevalent topics such as food waste, food awareness, and food miles, while adhering to a brief that excluded meat and fish. This approach underscored the event’s commitment to promoting environmentally friendly kitchen practices and raising awareness of sustainable food sourcing on a global scale.

The Pantry by La Rousse Foods provided the semi-finalists with a diverse array of locally sourced ingredients from artisan producers, enriching their culinary experience and encouraging mindful, sustainable cooking. Notable contributors to the event included Wildwood Vinegar, Achill Island Sea Salt, Green Saffron Spices, Glenilen, Garryhinch Mushrooms, Newgrange Gold oils, OMG Organic Microgreens, Mungo Murphy’s seaweed, Cuinneog, The Village Dairy and Wild Irish Foragers among others.

In view of continuing to support the tradition of raw milk cheeses in Ireland, a selection of cheese for the task included: Corleggy Cheeses (Corleggy Creeny and Cavanbert), Inagh Farmhouse Cheese (St.Tola, Karst and original), Mikes Fancy Cheeses (Young Buck) and Coolattin Cheddar. 

Under the expert guidance of former winner Conor Halpenny, who ran the kitchen, the young chefs participating in the Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year competition tackled the challenges with exceptional skill during the semi-finals. Their prowess in knife skills, palate, creativity, and overall culinary execution captivated the judges and highlighted the promising future of Ireland’s culinary landscape. 

Shauna Murphy, the 2023 winner from Terre restaurant at Castlemartyr Resort, expressed her gratitude for the invaluable learning opportunities offered by the competition and shared her transformative experience following a stage at Martín Berasategui’s acclaimed Lasarte restaurant in Barcelona.  

As they prepare for the final round in October, the seven finalists will embark on a journey that includes educational activities, producer visits, and participation in key culinary events, both in Ireland and abroad. As part of their preparation for the finals, the contestants will engage in visits to local producers and masterclasses, further deepening their understanding of sustainable sourcing and the importance of supporting local food ecosystems.  

The semi-final judges commended the outstanding achievements of the young chefs, affirming that the competition represents the best culinary talent in Ireland. The highly anticipated finals of the Young Chef of the Year Competition, presented by La Rousse Foods, are scheduled to take place on Sunday, October 6th

For more information visit euro-toques.ie.

Photo Credit: Ruth Calder-Potts

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