Drogheda woman Roann Byrne has been announced as one of Bord Iascaigh Mhara’s (BIM’s) Taste the Atlantic Young Chef Ambassadors for 2022.
Roann, who works in Bryanstown Social. is one of only five young chefs selected to represent the programme this year. The programme, now in its second year, was created by BIM, and is a collaboration with Chef Network and Fáilte Ireland as a way to give emerging young chefs in-depth experience of the Irish aquaculture, seafood, and coastal tourism sectors. During the immersive four-month programme, Roann will embark on a seafood journey along the Taste the Atlantic trail, familiarising herself with the salmon, oyster and mussel producers working along the Western seaboard.
Aged 21 and originally from Drogheda, Roann showed an early ability in baking and enterprise by establishing a cake business while still in secondary school. Having completed Baking and Pastry Arts in Technology University Dublin, she discovered a love for the kitchen and progressed into a BA in Culinary Arts, which she completed this year. Roann was nominated for the programme by Mikey Sweeney, former Head Chef in Bryanstown Social where she has worked for the last two years. Roann is looking forward to visiting seafood producers during the programme as she is passionate about the role chefs can play in promoting local produce on menus.
This week, the chefs visited seafood producers in the West of Ireland, including a visit to the Burren Smoke House, Co Clare where owner and producer, Birgitta Curtin gave a demonstration at her Irish salmon smokery. This was followed by a visit to Flaggy Shore Oysters in Co. Clare where the chefs learnt about oyster production, and a visit to Moran’s Oyster Cottage in Kilcolgan, Co Galway to further their understanding of the importance of oyster production in the area.
Additional field trips to Connemara and West Cork are included as part of the programme and the chefs will spend two days developing their culinary skills with Michelin star chef JP McMahon at his Aniar Restaurant in Co Galway.
Master fishmonger Hal Dawson will also provide training to the chefs in fish quality and preparation skills at the BIM Seafood Innovation Hub in Clonakilty, Co Cork where they will also attend a culinary business workshop.
One of the unique features of the BIM Taste the Atlantic Ambassador programme is the pairing of chefs with seafood producers helping them to gain a deeper understanding of the provenance of Irish seafood.
The programme will culminate with an event at the Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival in September.