Young Irish chef wins international award in Milan

Mark Moriarty impressed judges with celeriac baked in barley and fermented hay

 

Mark Moriarty from Blackrock in Dublin has has been named the S Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 at the grand finale in Milan.

The 23-year-old beat off competitors from all over the world in the competition, the first its kind.

Twenty of the world’s most talented young chefs, finalists from more than 3,000 applications, were judged by seven acclaimed international chefs, including Michelin starred Massimo Bottura from Italy, Yannick Alleno from France and South Africa’s most famous chef Margot Janse.

Each finalist was paired with an emerging fashion designer from the 20 world regions at the gala event which took place in the new Porto Nuovo architectural district of the city.

Mr Moriarty, who represented Ireland and the UK, impressed the judges with his dish of celeriac baked in barley and fermented hay.

Cured and smoked celeriac and toasted hay tea showcased, he said, “a humble root vegetable”. It included a sauce of celeriac juice reduced and turned into a cream with butter and lemon juice and topped with chopped hazelnuts. The dish also told the story of Ireland using native ingredients in new ways.

The hay was sourced from racehorse trainer Eddie Lynam’s stables in Meath, a reference to Ireland’s reputation for horses, while barley and hops more usually associated with Guinness were another inventive touch.

The cups in which he served the tea were a wedding gift to his grandmother in 1956. “This dish represents where I come from and new Irish cuisine and is not about potatoes and alcohol. I am proud to represent Ireland on a world stage”, he said. His parents Tom and Monica Moriarty were there to celebrate his win.

Celebrated chef Clare Smyth MBE from Antrim, the first woman to run a three Michelin star restaurant in the UK, who mentored Mr Moriarty during the competition, said it took extreme confidence to present a dish with just one vegetable as a centrepiece and with such creativity.

“We all know that we should eat less meat and more vegetables and this is what the future of food is all about,” she said.

His former tutor Dr Máirtín Mac Con Iomaire who lectures in culinary arts at DIT put it in other words. “This was a very sophisticated dish and this fellow is going to put Ireland on the global map and make this country a world culinary destination.”