APPRENTICE CHEF PROGRAMME TO GO “NATIONWIDE”
This week on Friday 4 May the Apprentice Chef Programme, which is supported by Flogas Ireland and Failte Ireland, will be featured on RTE’s Nationwide ahead of the 2017/2018 final cook off at IT Tralee.
On Thursday 10 May 27 students from secondary schools across Munster and Leinster, including 6 students from 4 schools in Kerry, will don their chef whites and spend the morning in the college’s professional kitchens to create their individually designed dishes.
Since October 2017 over 800 students have enjoyed a series of demonstrations and workshops as part of the programme which aims to promote the importance of healthy eating to enhance physical and mental wellbeing, encourage young people to consider a culinary career to help combat the current chef crisis in Ireland and contribute to the development of self confidence and self esteem.
The finalists have been mentored by accomplished chefs Mark Doe (Just Cooking Cookery School, Firies), Louise Brosnan (Solas Tapas & Wine Bar, Dingle), Mark Staples (Hayfield Manor Hotel, Cork) and Bart O Sullivan (Sea Lodge Hotel, Waterville), and supported by nutritional therapist, Susie Cox. Each dish created by the students must have a “Good Mood Food” influence.
This is the sixth year of the Apprentice Chef Programme which was established by Mark Doe of Just Cooking Cookery School in Firies, Co Kerry and Mark Murphy, lecturer in Culinary Arts at IT Tralee. The duo received the Munster Local Food Hero accolade at this year’s Irish Restaurant Awards.
Co-founder Mark Doe said, “Almost 4000 secondary school students have attended workshops and cookery demonstrations since we started the Apprentice Chef in 2012 with students from Kerry and Limerick. In the second year schools from Co Cork participated and last year we were delighted to collaborate with Waterford IT and students from Tipperary, Wexford and Waterford signed up. The geographic reach has extended this year and for the first time we welcomed students from Laois, Wicklow and Dublin.”
The Apprentice Chef has been supported by Flogas Ireland since the beginning. Eoin O’Flynn, marketing manager, Flogas Ireland, said, “As one of the main suppliers of LPG and natural gas and now electricity to the catering and hospitality sector, we’ve always been very keen to support the development of young culinary talent. The Apprentice Chef programme has been an outstanding initiative in this respect and deserving of the increased national recognition that RTE’s Nationwide will bring.”
The standard of dishes produced by participants is extremely high. Last year’s Supreme Apprentice Chef, Padráic Randles from Pobalscoil Inbhear Scéine, Kenmare, Co Kerry served a marinated pan fried Skeaghanore duck fillet, potato rosti, spring roll with celeriac and cabbage, carrot purée, toasted hazelnuts and sweet potato crisps. It was the Kerry student’s 2ndyear competing and he is planning to study hospitality management at college in September.
All finalists receive a specially commissioned Ambri chopping board, a Just Cooking cookbook and their Apprentice Chef monogrammed chef uniform. The Supreme Apprentice Chef will also enjoy a styling session at Easyfood Magazine HQ this summer and receive the unique perpetual trophy.