Top 14 young chefs in Ireland are named

The finalists in the Euro-Toques young chef of the year include one who is already working as a head chef

Judging underway at last year’s Euro-Toques young chef of the year semi-final. The 14 who have reached this stage in the 2018 competition have been announced.

Judging underway at last year’s Euro-Toques young chef of the year semi-final. The 14 who have reached this stage in the 2018 competition have been announced.

 

The 14 semi-finalists in the Euro-Toques Ireland Young Chef of the Year have been named, and the shortlist is one of the the strongest this competition has ever seen. The competition, run in association with La Rousse Foods, is open to chefs under the age of 26, and the line-up includes one who is already working at head chef level, plus two others from the same Michelin-starred kitchen.

Karan Mittal is head chef at Ananda in Dundrum. He grew up in Delhi and was studying for a degree in economics, but quit in favour of a culinary career when he earned one of only 50 apprenticeships, from more than 5,000 applicants, with the Oberoi hotel group.

He subsequently worked at Indian Accent in Delhi, which is on the San Pellegrino 100 Best Restaurants list, and was selected to open Indian Accent in New York. He was headhunted by Dublin restaurateur Asheesh Dewan and joined the team in Ananda in 2017.

The young chef contestants are normally mentored for the competition by the head chef of the restaurant they are working in, but in Mittal’s case that responsibility has been assumed by Gavin McDonagh of the Dylan McGrath group.

John Kelly of the Lady Helen restaurant at Mount Juliet estate in Co Kilkenny is mentor to two young chefs who have reached the semi-final stage – Niamh Barry and Ruairí McHugh.

Other chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants progressing to the final are Attila Galambos from Aniar (mentor JP McMahon) and Glen Sutcliffe from Chapter One (mentor Eric Matthews).

The list is completed by Django Getsee from Farnham Estate (Daniel Willimont); Ronan Halpin (Dromoland Castle (Nickie Flynn); Kelan Heffron from Luna (Keelan Higgs); Jack Lenards from Mews (Ahmet Dede); Jake McCarthy from Forest & Marcy (Ciaran Sweeney); Shane McDonnell from Muckross Park Hotel (John O’Leary); Michael Morrisroe from the Strawberry Tree (James Kavanagh); Jason Nolan from Gregan’s Castle (Robert McCauley) and Matthew Stafford from Sage (Kevin Aherne).

The initial stages of the competition involved submission of a written entry, from which a shortlist were selected for interview. The 14 who emerged from this process will now compete at the semi-final in Dublin on September 3rd, when they will be tasked with designing and cooking a dish with a selection of surprise ingredients. From this round the finalists will be chosen to compete at a cook-off in Dublin in November.

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