Six young chefs have been named as finalists in the Euro-Toques Ireland competition to find the country’s outstanding young culinary talent. Having shone in the early rounds of the competition, which involved social media and written entry tasks, followed by face-to-face interviews with a panel of Euro-Toques chefs, the final six will compete in a skills test in Dublin on November 27th.
The finalists, and their mentors, are Maeve Walsh (23) chef de partie at Restaurant FortyOne at Residence (Graham Neville); Killian Crowley (23), who is chef de partie at Aniar and is mentored by JP McMahon; Gary Doyle (25), chef de partie at Canteen Celbridge (James Sheridan); Chris Fullam (23), sous chef at Old Street, Malahide (Fergus Caffrey); Marc McWilliams (25) chef de partie at The Brooklodge and Strawberry Tree restaurant (Evan Doyle); and Glen Sutcliffe (23) chef de partie at The Marker hotel (Gareth Mullins).
Inspiration is the theme for this year’s competition, which is open to professional chefs aged between 18 and 26.
Crowley, who gained experience in Michelin starred restaurants abroad before joining the team at Aniar, cited foraging and the west coast of Ireland as sources of inspiration.
Doyle highlighted the influence of his Kevin Thornton-trained mentor James Sheridan, and his use of all-Irish ingredients, and game.
Fullam, who was still a student at DIT when he reached the finals in 2014, posted a photograph of a sourdough loaf to social media with the words: “Inspiration can be found in the simplest things”.
McWilliams is exploring the wild and slow ethos with his mentor Evan Doyle, and a photograph of a pan of ceps signalled a source of his inspiration.
Sutcliffe hinted at an interest in horticulture with his post on “Digging up some fresh inspiration”.
Walsh’s entry highlighted her pride in the food produced around her home town of Dungarvan, Co Waterford.
The next stage of the competition for the finalists, who were introduced to the media at a briefing in the Merrion hotel on Monday, will be to perform two culinary skills tests in the kitchen at Chapter One restaurant in Dublin, under the scrutiny of a panel of judges that will include Nathan Outlaw, chef proprietor at the two Michelin star restaurant that bears his name in Port Isaac, Cornwall.
The final of the Euro-Toques Young Chef competition, in association with La Rousse Foods, will take place on Sunday, November 27th. The winner will be invited to do an all-expenses paid stage ( work experience) with Nathan Outlaw.
Graham Neville, Commissioner General of Euro-Toques Ireland, said: "I am really excited about the competition this year. The standard is extremely high and it is a joy to see in the 29th year of this competition that there is such an abundance of culinary talent in Ireland.
“Regardless of winning or loosing, reaching the final of the competition is testament to the raw talent and flair in each of the finalists and I wish them all the best of luck. More importantly, the competition is a great experience for a young chef and hope they enjoy it and learn everything they can from it.”