Young Chef finalists selected for 2023 finals in October

Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year competition, Ireland’s premier cooking competition for professional young chefs announces the 6 contestants selected for 2023 finals in October

The semi-finals of the Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year competition, presented by principal partners La Rousse Foods took place on Sunday 25th June 2023 at Dublin Cookery School, Blackrock, Co. Dublin. Growing from strength to strength, the competition, open to professional young chefs under the age of 28 has firmly established itself as Ireland’s premier competition.

Joining Head of the Young Chef Committee Gareth Mullins of Anantara The Marker Dublin, this year’s guest judges for the semi-finals stage were Danni Barry of Ballynahinch Castle, Co. Galway, Kevin Burke of Library Street, Dublin and Robbie Krawczyk of Restaurant Chestnut, Ballydehob Co. Cork.

Fourteen contestants battled it out in a heated two-part semi-finals that included a skills test and a mystery basket. After careful consideration, six talented young chefs were selected to progress to the finals in October.

The 6 young chefs through to the next round of the competition are Adam Walsh from 1826 Adare, Co. Limerick; Conor Morrissey from Glovers Alley, Dublin; Leticia Miranda from Mae Restaurant, Dublin; Marcell Palfalusi from Thyme Restaurant, Co. Athlone; Matthias Beuque from Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, Dublin; Shauna Murphy from Terre, Co. Cork.

The 14 participating young chefs were set two separate tasks — a skills test based on a classic pastry recipe and a mystery basket, which involved creating a dish including three key elements: vegetables, pulses or grains and Irish raw milk cheese. The contestants were challenged with a brief that did not include fish or meat and invited to shine a light on these delicious ingredients. The committee asked the chefs to consider an environmentally friendly approach to food, highlighting how kitchen practices all over the world can play a leading role in terms of awareness.

The wide selection of produce made available in the Pantry by La Rousse Foods, in collaboration with Euro-Toques Food Council provided the young chefs with a lot of food for thoughts. The focus was mainly on locally sourced ingredients from Iona Farm, Taylor’s of Lusk, Co Dublin; Ballymakenny Farm, Oriel Sea Salt, Co. Louth; Garryhinch Mushrooms, Wild Irish Foragers, Co. Offaly; Mungo Murphy’s Seaweed, Co. Galway; Green Saffron Spices, Glenilen Farm Butter Co. Cork, Highbank Orchards, Co. Kilkenny; Achill Island Sea Salt, Cuinneog butter, Co. Mayo; The Village Dairy, Co. Carlow.

In view of continuing to support the tradition of raw milk cheeses in Ireland, the cheese selected for the task included: Corleggy Cheeses (Corleggy, Creeny and Cavanbert), Inagh Farmhouse Cheese (St.Tola Ash, Karst and original), Mikes Fancy Cheeses (Young Buck) and Hegarty Cheese (Ballinvarrig Cheddar).

With Domini Kemp, Aishling Moore and Conor Halpenny running the kitchen, the young chefs worked hard to complete the two challenges aimed at testing all the skills essential in a kitchen including knife skills, palate, creativity, ability to plate, cooking, seasoning, technique, understanding of raw ingredients and ability to read a recipe.

Asked to talk about his experience, 2022 winner Calum Falls (formerly of Aimsir) said “I enjoyed the competition journey so much last year, that I considered entering again this year!”. Calum has just returned from his stage at world-renowned two Michelin-stars Les Cols in Olot, Spain, run by Fina Puigdevall and daughter Martina Puigvert, who was a guest judge at last year’s finals. “It was an incredible experience, that allowed me to have a real insight into a completely different reality, an opportunity I cherish a lot”. Calum has also recently been on a two-day Climate Action seminar at Alma, the School of Italian Culinary Arts in Colorno, Italy.

From now to the final round in October, the six finalists will embark on a journey that will include a number of educational activities, inspirational trips, producers visits and participation in some of Ireland’s key events. On the cards, the yearly trip to Ballymaloe House, steeped in Irish traditions and heritage, a trip to Barcelona, masterclasses with top international chefs and participation in world acclaimed Irish Symposium, Food on The Edge.

Commissioner General Kwanghi Chan says, “I am delighted with yesterday’s results. The 6 finalists participating in Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year 2023 represent some of the best talent in Ireland today and we look forward to working with them, their mentors, and their restaurants”.

Welcoming the participation of Head judge Paolo Casagrande of three-star Lasarte Restaurant in Barcelona, the finals of the Young Chef of The Year Competition presented by La Rousse Foods will be held on Sunday 8th October.