Food news: Student chefs of the year transform Pub grub
Jade Ainscough from the Institute of Technology Tallaght, has been crowned the Knorr Student Chef of the Year 2018, after an intense two-hour cook-off that took place in Dundalk Institute of Technology last month.
This year's competition was judged by a panel comprising Unilever Food Solutions business development chef Mark McCarthy, Aidan McGrath, chef patron of Wild Honey Inn, Corinna Hardgrave, Weekend magazine's wine writer and Michael McNamara, chef lecturer, Dundalk Institute of Technology.
Jade beat six other young chefs to claim the top prize.
The theme of this year's competition was a 'Contemporary Take on Traditional Pub Dishes', celebrating Ireland's first Michelin-starred pub, Wild Honey Inn in Co Clare.
The students had to prepare, cook and present a vegetarian starter and a main course celebrating sustainable Irish seafood.
Jade's starter was grilled purple broccoli in harissa butter, with mixed radish salad, millet croquette and Parmesan shavings, while her main course (pictured above) was a fillet of seabass with 'spring vegetable stew, blanket of white wine jelly and coral crisp'.
"For my dishes I researched typical Irish pub food," said Jade. "Many of these are quick and easy dishes, and I wanted to carry over these characteristics while adding a new twist.
"The broccoli is a nutritious dish that doesn't compromise on taste, and seabass is a great fish to work with as it absorbs flavour easily and is different to what's normally served in typical pub dishes. The dishes took the quick and easy 'pub grub' idea, with salt and vinegar and fried elements, but are healthy and packed full of flavour."
The runners-up in the competition were Glenn McCourt from Dundalk Institute of Technology and Stephen Deasy from Limerick Institute of Technology.
Glenn's main course was Carlingford turbot with Ballymakenny potatoes, cauliflower and curry, a contemporary take on traditional fish and chips, while Stephen's was 'Man of Aran Chowder', inspired by his grandfather, one of the first to operate ferries from Doolin to the Aran Islands.
Jade's prize is a tour of the Wild Atlantic Way that includes dinners in Galway's Michelin-starred restaurants, Aniar and Loam, and concludes in Co Clare with a visit to Aidan McGrath's Wild Honey Inn.
Summer in Celbridge
The new early evening summer menu at Canteen runs from 5.30pm to 7.30pm Tuesday to Thursday, and until 6.30pm on Friday, giving more opportunities to try James Sheridan's wonderful food for just €26/€29 for 2/3 courses. Call (01) 6274967, or see canteencelbridge.com
Asparagus from Drummond House in Baltray, Co Louth, is celebrated on the menu at the InterContinental Dublin this month during its regrettably short season; we particularly like the sound of the asparagus with truffled egg ravioli. See intercontinentaldublin.ie
Bee's wrap is an eco-friendly alternative to plastic foodwrap, made from organic cotton, beeswax and jojoba oil, which you tie up with string. It can be washed and used over and over again; you'll find it at Meadows & Byrne, priced from €11.95. See meadowsandbyrne.com