Sunday 24 September 2017

Hats off to Euro-toques finalists as youngest chef takes title for 2013

TOP TOQUE: Elena Arzak and winner Mark Moriarty
TOP TOQUE: Elena Arzak and winner Mark Moriarty
Lucinda O’Sullivan

Lucinda O’Sullivan

LAST Sunday saw five young hopefuls reach the finals of the Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year 2013, held at a 'secret' location of which guests were notified the day before.

The venue was the amazing funky facility of the Garage Cafe at Google Ireland, where the five contestants served the invited guests a five-course tasting dinner, 'Carnival of Memories', based on their childhood foods. They were really up against it with Elena Arzak, joint head chef of the Three-Michelin-Star Arzak Restaurant in San Sebastian, and also winner of the World's Best Female Chef 2012, being one of the judges.

The young contestants were Mark Moriarty, chef de partie, The Greenhouse; Brian O'Flaherty, commis chef, Restaurant Forty One; Kevin Burke, chef de partie, Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud; Grainne O'Keeffe, junior sous chef, Pichet; Paula Leavy, chef de partie, Locks Brasserie.

Under the watchful eye of their respective mentors, they presented a knock-out tasting menu which included 'The Carnival' of foie gras 'toffee apples'; The Farmer's Vegetable Van; Beach Walk; Hunting; and Picking Apples from the Neighbour's Orchard.

The Young Chef of the Year title was taken by the youngest of the contestants, 21-year-old Mark Moriarty, from Blackrock, Co Dublin. The lucky chef will also get a stage at ALMA, the International School of Italian cuisine in Colorno, Italy.

There is certainly a lot of upcoming and ambitious young talent out there, and it is great to see it being nurtured and encouraged because the food industry is our future here.

The delightful Elena Arzak, who is a Basque, told me that while this was her first visit to Ireland, she has "always had a thing about Ireland and will certainly be back". She also said they get quite a lot of Irish visitors to Arzak.

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Moycullen village, just outside Galway, has become quite a destination for shopping. Ann Dunne of Mna Moycullen, a new women's business networking organisation, says that one lucky winner has a chance to win a prize package of vouchers worth over €2,000 in the Moycullen Festive Golden Ticket draw. Spend over €20 in the businesses involved in this initiative up to Monday, December 23, and you will receive a free entry ticket to the main draw which takes place in The Forge Bar on Sunday, December 29.

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Rachel Allen is giving a festive food demo in the Lyrath Hotel, Kilkenny, next Thursday, December 5, at 8pm. Tickets are €20 for the Town of Food initiative fundraiser.

It needs to raise in excess of €160,000 in order to avail of €680,000 grant funding under the EU Rural Development Programme. It's all about food in Kilkenny.

www.townoffood.com

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