CONGRATS KAMIL, 2011 Euro-toques winner

Second year running for Knockranny House Hotel
Kamil Dubanik, from Knockranny House Hotel, is Crowned Winner of
2011 Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year

The best parties are celebrated in the kitchen. Young chef Kamil Dubanik, from Knockranny House Hotel in Co. Mayo, celebrates becoming the 21st Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year, in association with BIM & Failte Ireland. 

This is an exceptional win for Knockranny House Hotel as last year’s winner also came from the hotel (Mary Ryan was the 2010 Euro-toques Young Chef winner). Chefs mentored by Knockranny House Hotel Head Chef Seamus Commons (right in picture, with Kamil) have reached the competition final for three years running.  Toques off to Kamil Dubanik (23), who was crowned the winner on Monday 28 November at a gourmet tasting lunch prepared by the competition finalists in The Merrion Hotel Dublin.

This is the ultimate acoloade that Kamil and fellow finalists have been contesting for over the last 6 weeks.  Kamil’s journey to this culinary award is remarkable. Originally from Poland, he has been in the kitchen only three year; starting out as kitchen porter Knockranny House Hotel in Westport, Co. Mayo and workings his way up to his current position of Demi-Chef de Partie. He recently completed an Advanced Certificate in Professional Cookery at GMIT.

His recipe for the culinary skills test was Roast Troncon of Achill Island Turbot, Dublin Bay Prawn Tortellini, Jerusalem Artichoke, Mushroom, Cheek, Liver, Dublin Bay Prawn, Lovage.  Cooking has allowed Kamil express his passion for a diversity of ingredients and demonstrate his creativity.  His interpretation of the competition brief and his understanding of ingredients was evident in the dish he delivered to the judging panel. Judges felt he was an eager, hungry chef who showed intelligence in his approach and an extremely high level of skill considering his mere 3 years in the kitchen. A talent to be watched.

Kamil is motivated by sometimes taking the least obvious approach to cooking.  For example in his culinary skills test, he used the fish cheeks and liver in his recipe which achieved different flavours and textures in his dish, that stood out to the judges.  Kamil appreciates and respects great Irish ingredients and pushes his own culinary instinct to use all elements where possible.  This creative thinking is also parallel to Eurotoques values of “nose to tail” cooking.

Kamil’s chef hero is the infamous Ferran AdriĆ  and while the world’s is now his oyster, Kamil remains true to his second home of Ireland and would like to progress his career working with the best talent in the country.  Kamil  is mentored by Knockranny House Hotel Euro-toques Head Chef Seamus Commons (formerly Head Chef at Dublin’s Michelin star L’Ecrivain restaurant).

The top prize for the 2011 Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year is the opportunity of an all-expenses paid stage at The Ivy, London's favourite restaurant, under Executive Chef Gary Lee. Plus a one week stage at the award winning Michelin star Chapter One restaurant in Dublin under the tutelage of Euro-toques head chef Ross Lewis.

The ultimate challenge in the Euro-toques Young Chef competition was the culinary skills test which took place in Chapter One Dublin on Sunday 27 November.  Speaking on behalf of the judging panel, Ross Lewis commented on the high standard of skill and creativity from the finalists this year.  “There was a very high standard reflecting local and original cuisine that was thoughtful, clever and well crafted.  It was very hard to choose a clear winner today and they should be all extremely proud of themselves.”

Kamil Dubanik competed for this honour along with his fellow finalists - Aisling Gallagher (24) from Ballynahinch Castle, Galway; Kyle Greer (24) from No 27 Talbot Street Belfast; Micheal Harley (22) from Rathmullan House, Co. Donegal; David Magaeen (24) from Restaurant Victoria Belfast and Margaret Roche (23) from The Cellar at The Merrion Hotel Dublin.

Each of the six finalists in this years competition final showcased their culinary expertise by each cooking a course for the presentation lunch in The Merrion Hotel.  Each course was carefully paired with the appropriate wine for the dish, supplied by Findlater Wine & Spirit Group.

Among the overall prizes, each of the finalists will win a unique food experience with BIM and Failte Ireland. BIM will host a one day practical on-site introduction to the complex world of the seafood industry, visiting a seafood facility and discussing how fish is caught or harvested, bought, and sold, and what this all means to a chef. Including meetings with key industry personnel, processors and industry chef.  Failte Ireland will host a Food Tourism road trip - an educational 4 day food focused road trip taking in ‘hands-on’ cooking time  in top professional kitchens, visits to artisan food producers;  tastings, demos, unique meal experiences  and overnight stays with exemplary Irish food and hospitality operators.

The Euro-toques Young Chef competition emphasises training and development, with the role of the mentor being central to the process.  This years sponsors are BIM and Failte Ireland and their involvement reflects their recognition of the importance of chefs in building Ireland’s national and international food reputation, the pivotal role that ‘local food’ plays in this and, above all, their commitment to education and development in this sector.  This year’s competition is also supported suppliers La Rousse Foods, Findlater Wine & Spirit Group and Bragard, and Industry partners The Merrion Hotel Dublin, The Ivy London and Chapter One Restaurant.