Today Thursday 10 May, secondary school students from across Munster and Leinster travelled to Co Kerry to cook in the IT Tralee state of the art kitchens in the 2017/2018 Flogas Ireland and Fáilte Ireland supported Apprentice Chef Finale. 

Earlier this year each finalist was assigned an experienced chef to provide mentoring to help them design and create a unique signature dish using locally sourced ingredients.  Input from nutritional therapist, Susie Cox, ensured each dish had a “Good Mood Food” influence.  Dishes including mussels with chorizo, venison sliders and a black sole roulade were served to a panel of discerning judges who were overwhelmed by the exceptional standard.

However, it was a dish of pan seared Skeaghanore duck with a sweet orange glaze that earned Natalia Leane from Killarney Community College, Co Kerry the 2017/2018 Supreme Apprentice Chef title.  Kerry also took second place thanks to a dark chocolate mousse with raspberry sorbet, honeycomb shards, shortbread crumb and filled profiteroles by Isabelle Lynch, Mercy Mountawk, Tralee.  Jack Granville from McEgan College, Macroom, Co Cork came third with a roast rack of Shandangan lamb, red wine jus, tian of courgettes, lamb shoulder croquettes with hasselback potatoes.

As the winner, transition year student Natalia, who celebrates her 17th birthday tomorrow Friday 11 May, walked away with a prize package that included a set of professional knives from McDonnells, €1000 equipment for her school, a year’s subscription to Easyfood Magazine and a professional food styling session at Easyfood Magazine HQ this summer.  In addition, the specially commissioned Supreme Apprentice Chef perpetual trophy was presented to the Co Kerry student.

Commenting on the event, Michael Murphy, sales representative for Flogas Ireland, said, “Flogas has supported the Apprentice Chef programme since 2015 and we’re always blown away by the standard of young culinary talent on show each year. We’d like to congratulate all the participants on their creativity and dedication, and we wish them the very best in their future careers.”

Oliver Sullivan, Hospitality Manager at Fáilte Ireland added that the competition was a fantastic opportunity for young people who want a culinary career to showcase their talent and potential.

“Fáilte Ireland is delighted to be involved again this year in the ‘Apprentice Chef’ programme. Throughout this year’s competition, we have seen our ‘apprentice chefs’ produce cuisine of the highest quality and taste. The competition is an excellent way for younger chefs to set a standard and define their own style and I’ve no doubt that today’s winner and indeed all those who entered will find a rich and rewarding career in Ireland’s hospitality industry.”

This is the sixth year of the Apprentice Chef Programme which recently featured on RTE”s Nationwide.  It was established by Mark Doe of Just Cooking Cookery School and Mark Murphy, lecturer in Culinary Arts at IT Tralee.  The duo received the 2018 Munster Local Food Hero accolade at the Irish Restaurant Awards.  Co-founder Mark Doe said, “Since the programme’s inception in 2012, we have delivered a series of demonstrations and workshops to over 4000 students.  We are committed to encouraging young people to enter the industry to help alleviate the chef shortage in Ireland whilst simultaneously promoting the importance of healthy eating to enhance physical and mental wellbeing.  Year on year our geographic reach has increased and to date schools in Munster and Leinster have taken part.  We will continue to build on the programme’s success to take it to national level so that students from all corners of Ireland can experience the positive side of working in food and hospitality.” 

For more information on the Apprentice Chef visit and

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