Andrew Reddan, a Dundalk Institute of Technology student from Louth, has been crowned KNORR Student Chef of the Year, fighting off competition from ten other contestants in a cook-off in Cork Institute of Technology last week.
Celebrating its 20th year, the KNORR Student Chef competition is the most celebrated student chef contest in the country and is open to catering colleges, institutes of technology and training centres across Ireland.
The theme of this year’s competition was ‘Provenance: The story behind the menu’, focused on Irish produce. Students were challenged to create a starter using Irish seafood and a main course celebrating Irish beef. Students were also asked to demonstrate an understanding of the challenges of culinary sustainability, food waste management and allergen awareness.
Andrew impressed the judges with his starter of Irish Seabass with Carlingford mussel ragout with lemon and curd curd and mint risotto. For his main course, he served a ‘Tasting of beef’, which comprised seared sirloin, cheek croquette, bonemarrow crumb with carmelised celeriac puree.
Andrew explains the story behind his menu: “the dishes were inspired by my experience as a fisherman, fishing off the east coast of Ireland in a little village called Baltray. I’m also a keen supporter of local producers. The concept of the dishes is trying to combine food, science and art to create dishes full of culture, history and modern techniques, while using local, seasonal produce sourced on my doorstep.”
This year’s competition was judged by a panel comprising Unilever Food Solutions’ Business Development Chef, Mark McCarthy. He was joined by special guest judge and winner of the National Chef of the Year by the UK’s Craft Guild of Chefs, James Devine. Joining the panel also were Fergal O’Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of the Coeliac Society of Ireland and Ann O’ Connor, Chef Lecturer, Cork Institute of Technology.
Speaking at the awards presentation, Mark McCarthy said: “The KNORR Student Chef of the Year competition is an ideal platform for the country’s brightest talents to not only demonstrate their culinary flair and talent, but to also develop new skills that are certain to serve them well as they embark on what I am confident will be long, successful careers."
Completing the top three was Kyle Lynch from Cork Institute of Technology and Daniel Lenihan from Athlone Institute of Technology who finished in second and third place respectively. The hygiene award was presented to Susannah Doupe from Letterkenny Institute of Technology.