'€100k prize is life-changing' - RTE crowns Taste of Success winner
After weeks of battling it out in the kitchen, Michele Kilkenny has been crowned winner of RTE's The Taste Of Success, scooping a prize worth €100,000.
As part of her prize, Michele's Chef Select Irish Beef Brisket Pie - a modern Irish twist on the traditional cottage pie - will hit the shelves of 149 Lidl stores nationwide from today.
The Galway woman (36) faced off against William Murray and James Kavanagh's banana bread but they were beaten to the punch by her pie.
The win came as no surprise to confident Michele, who told viewers on her very first appearance on the show that she had a "100pc chance of winning".
"I still can't believe this has happened. It all seems like a dream and hasn't sunk in yet.
"It's such a life-changing experience and I can't wait to finally do all the things I've always wanted to do or have put off. It's like someone has lifted a huge weight off me.
"That feeling is priceless," she said after the win.
Originally from Surrey in England, Michele moved to Co Clare with her family at the age of 13 in 1997 and has lived in Ireland ever since.
She now calls Doughiska, Co Galway, home.
She debuted her dish, originally called the Paddy Pie, at the Connaught/Ulster roadshow in Westport during the summer where her mentor, chef JP McMahon, chose it as one of the two products he would bring through to the next round.
JP admitted he was shocked to have won for a second year in a row.
"I was convinced I couldn't do two in a row. This year the standard was very high. There were so many great products. It's really unbelievable and I'm so happy for Michele. It's a life changing thing. Well done to her," he said.
He gave his sympathies to fellow Taste of Success chef Domini Kemp, who has yet to see one of her contestants take home the grand prize, having been on the show for three seasons.
"I'd nearly give it to Domini though, she's lost three times now. My heart goes out to her," he said.