The Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year competition has a proven track record in discovering exceptional young talent, and this year was no different! After a final skills test on Sunday 10th November, with a very specific brief for the last eight remaining contestants, Gráinne Mullins came out on top, winning the Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year 2019 competition.
The eight finalists were requested to devise two original dishes — one a starter or dessert using Irish buttermilk and/or Jersey milk and Irish honey, the second a main course using a whole chicken from Regan Organic Farm. The finalists were expected to use their creativity and demonstrate their cooking skills, reflecting a modern approach to the preservation of Irish culinary heritage.
To produce their two innovative, interesting and accomplished dishes the young chefs had 2.5 hours of focused cooking, and each of them was marked under three separate headings – execution and work practice, taste and flavour, and presentation. The candidates cooked their two dishes each for four guest judges – chefs Michel Roux Jnr, Margot Janse, Paul Flynn and Gareth Mullins, with Kwanghi Chan running the kitchen. Each of the young chefs worked hard to fulfil these two challenges, testing all the skills essential in a kitchen from knife skills and palate to creativity, ability to plate, cooking, timing, seasoning, technique and understanding of raw ingredients.
Gráinne Mullins of Lignum restaurant mentored by chef Daniel Africano won the overall Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year 2019 competition with a main course of chicken soup, ceaile and offal tartlet and a dessert of carrageen pudding, impressing the judges with their flair, imagination and skill in execution.
Open to professional chefs under the age of 26, the competition has a proven track record in discovering exceptional young talent, giving all the young chefs who have taken part in this contest a unique experience providing recognition throughout Ireland and beyond, and acting as a prestigious stepping-stone in their culinary career.