Waterford woman wins young chef award with lamb dish

Maeve Walsh (23), one of six finalists, will now work at Michelin star restaurant in UK

A 23-year-old Dungarvan woman has been awarded the 2016 Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year title. Maeve Walsh is currently chef de partie at Restaurant Forty One on St Stephen's Green in Dublin.

The award followed a three-month process of interviews, on-the-spot culinary skills tests and chefs sweating it out before a panel of world-class judges. It was presented to Ms Walsh on Sunday night by guest judge and two-time Michelin-starred chef Nathan Outlaw at a gala banquet event in the InterContinental Hotel in Ballsbridge, Dublin.

One of six finalists, Ms Walsh impressed the judges with a dish of Kerry hill lamb and will now work at Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Port Isaac, Cornwall. Mr Outlaw is chef patron at the restaurant, which is the only specialist fish restaurant in the UK to hold two Michelin stars.

The six finalists prepared a six-course banquet for Ireland’s most celebrated chefs and guests at the hotel.

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The judging panel also included Graham Neville, commissioner general of Euro-toques Ireland and head chef at Restaurant Forty One, Paul Kelly of the Merrion Hotel, and Wade Murphy, former commissioner general of Euro-toques Ireland. The chairman of the judges was Lorcan Cribbin.

Expressing delight at the win, Ms Walsh said: “I was doubtful that I would be picked as one of the finalists, never mind the winner. The whole process has been amazing and I have learned so much.”

The other five finalists were: Glen Sutcliffe (23), of the Marker Hotel in Dublin; Chris Fullam (23), of the Old Street restaurant in Malahide, Co Dublin; Killian Crowley (24), of Aniar in Galway City; Gary Doyle ( 25), of the Canteen restaurant in Celbridge, Co Kildare; and Marc McWilliams (25), of the Strawberry Tree-Brooklodge restaurant in Co Wicklow.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times