Pictured above: Aideen Madden, Bandon Grammar School
Three West Cork TY students were part of the 16 finalists in the 2015 Munster Apprentice Chef Project Final, sponsored by Flogas and Failte Ireland, on May 8 at IT Tralee. They were Jenny Buttimer (16) and Aideen Madden (16) both from Bandon Grammar School and Jessica Sheehan (16) from Kinsale Community School.
The winner was Stephanie Kearney from Colaiste Mhuire, Buttevant and all 16 contestants received a uniform, certificate, cookbook and specially monogrammed chopping board.
The theme of the competition was ‘Good Mood Food’ and Jenny Buttimer prepared a Moroccan lamb burger with caramelised red onions, vegetable crisps and a mint yogurt sauce. Jenny said, “I love cooking so when my teacher Mary McCarthy approached me to enter the competition, I jumped at the chance, as there are not many competitions around that let you interact and work closely with such highly accomplished chefs.”
Aideen Madden’s dish was pancetta and herb crusted loin of lamb with colcannon, glazed carrots and a pea and mint foam. Aideen said, “I have always had a great love for cooking so thanks to my teacher Mary McCarthy for suggesting the competition to me. I chose this dish because I think Ireland has the best lamb. I’m really happy with the way my dish worked out and I also want to say thanks to my mentor chef Mark Doe. I loved cooking in a professional kitchen with my chef whites on”!
Jessica Sheehan prepared a pan-fried cod with Gubeen chorizo and West Cork honey and she said, “My teacher Orla Prendergast suggested the competition to me and I decided to enter as I have a great passion for cooking and thought it would be an incredible experience. I come from a traditional fishing town and I decided to serve the cod with creamed cabbage and chorizo, as I wanted to put a twist on the Irish tradition of bacon and cabbage.”
The Munster Apprentice Chef project, sponsored by Flogas Ireland and Failte Ireland, is now in its third year. It was established by Mark Doe of justcooking.ie and Mark Murphy, senior lecturer in Culinary Arts at IT Tralee. Aimed at secondary school students, the purpose of the project was to promote the importance of healthy eating in overall personal physical and mental wellbeing, as well as combating obesity and other health issues. Each finalist’s dish had to include ‘good mood foods’ based on seasonality, availability, locally produced and healthy unprocessed ingredients.