Cait Healy, a 21-year-old student from Clonakilty, is the first winner of the annual Market Lane Group Culinary Scholarship, an accolade which will help her realise her dream of becoming one of Ireland’s young culinary entrepreneurs.
A student in the Department of Tourism and Hospitality of the Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), Cait has just finished her Bachelor of Business in Culinary Arts and will now, thanks to the scholarship, go on to study for a Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Culinary Entrepreneurship.
Last year Cork’s progressive Market Lane Group teamed up with the Department of Tourism and Hospitality of CIT to create this annual bursary to help culinary students fund their future studies.
This is the first scholarship of its kind in Ireland to be offered by an industry partner and it underlines the Market Lane’s belief that working more closely with colleges and investing in student learning is the way forward for the industry.
The theme of this year’s competition was ‘Is the future of Irish Food Sustainable?’ which students had to write about and then present their findings. The third element of the competition was to develop and prepare a three-course meal, which was tasted by a panel of Judges.
“Cait is a very worthy first winner of this scholarship,” says Conrad Howard of the Market Lane Group. “Her enthusiasm and flair were evident throughout the competition, as well as her in-depth knowledge and passion.”
Cait’s winning dishes all contained local produce including fish fresh from Union Hall and The English Market, Coolea Cheese and new season rhubarb and celeriac.
“I am really delighted to be the first winner of this scholarship,” says Cait.
“I am from an agri-business background and sustainability is something I am extremely interested in. I am looking forward to my next academic challenge at CIT and being able to focus on my studies next year without any financial pressure.”
Says Dr Noel Murray, Head of Department of Tourism and Hospitality at CIT. “We’re extremely grateful to the Market Lane Group for its investment in this scholarship. It helps us identify, nurture and develop talented and enthusiastic students like Cait to ensure a professional supply of exceptional personnel into the marketplace. As the industry continues to struggle with staff shortages, we believe that It is the combination of talented students, who have both solid work experience and excellent academic knowledge, that will help to create future managers and professionals who can raise standards and make our industry an increasingly attractive one for young students.”
Howard added, “We are delighted to be working with CIT and its students. The reputation of its Department of Tourism and Hospitality becomes stronger every year. Training, development and innovation is a huge part of what our company offers colleagues and it is great to be working in an academic/business partnership that fully reflects this.”