Irish chefs take top two places in international competition
Killian Crowley will represent Ireland at the global final of San Pellegrino Young Chef
Killian Crowley, winner of the UK & Ireland regional final of the San Pellegrino Young Chef competition in London on Monday night, with judge Angela Hartnett
Irish chefs claimed first and second places at the San Pellegrino Young Chef 2018 UK & Ireland regional final in London on Monday night.
Killian Crowley, chef de partie at Michelin-starred Aniar in Galway, won the competition with his dish of turbot, kohlrabi and sea purslane and will now represent Ireland and the UK at the grand final of the global chef talent contest in Milan next June.
He is the second Irish chef to reach the final of the competition, which attracted entries from more than 90 counties worldwide. Mark Moriarty, currently working in Australia, reached the final and won the inaugural edition of the competition in 2015.
Michael Tweedie, head chef at The Oak Room restaurant at newly reopened Adare Manor hotel, finished as runner-up in the UK & Ireland final with his dish of Duncannon lobster, ravioli of scallop, lobster and basil, with lobster bisque.
Crowley, who was born in Belgium to an Irish father and Belgian mother, will be mentored for the final by chef and restaurateur Angela Hartnett, who was one of four judges at Monday night’s round in London, along with Irish-based Finnish chef Mickael Viljanen, and London chefs Phil Howard and Alyn Williams.
Announcing the result, Hartnett said: "This was an outstanding dish. We were all blown away by it and it was unanimous, we all thought this was an amazing dish. Simplicity at its best really. A few little minor tweaks and it could well be a final finalist."
Crowley, who began his culinary training in Belgium aged 15, has worked at Michelin starred restaurants across Europe, including with Alain Ducasse at the three-star Le Louis XV in Monaco.
A desire to do something different brought him to Aniar in Galway just over two years ago. “That was the only place for me. If I wanted to do French food in Dublin, I might as well have stayed in Paris or Brussels.”
He was the first of the 10 finalists to present his dish, inspired by the west of Ireland, to the judges. It was described by judge Alyn Williams as "clean, simple, precise", while Angela Hartnett said “It feel very much from the heart”.
Irish Times columnist JP McMahon, chef proprietor of Aniar, said of Crowley: “From the very first moment he walked into Aniar I knew he was special. He has the skill, knowledge and technical ability to take Irish food to greater heights.”
Ireland’s third finalist at the London round was Romuald Bukaty, chef de partie at the Clayton hotel, Dublin airport, who was participating in the UK & Ireland final for the second time.