Gráinne Mullins, a young chef mentored by Daniel Africano, has been named the Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year 2019 following a skills test held in the professional kitchens of Dublin Cookery School in Blackrock.
Gráinne was announced as the winner at a gala dinner at the Intercontinental Hotel in Dublin on Sunday 10th November, and won out over seven other contestants.
The eight finalists were requested to devise two original dishes — one a starter or dessert using Irish buttermilk and/or Jersey milk and Irish honey, the second a main course using a whole chicken.
The competitors had had 2.5 hours to cook, and each of them was marked under three separate headings – execution and work practice, taste and flavour, and presentation. With buttermilk and Jersey milk supplied by The Village Dairy, the young chefs were tasked with choosing their own honey. The main course chicken came from Regan Organic Farm and the finalists were requested to use as much of the whole bird as possible, focusing on different cuts and techniques.
Finalists James Dobson (Potager), Attila Galambos (Aniar), Daniel Hannigan (Mr S.), Karan Mittal (Ananda), Gráinne Mullins (Lignum), Gareth O’Brien (Bastible), Matthew Stafford (The Greenhouse) and Alison Tierney (Dax) each created a series of dishes for the judges to taste, discuss and score.
Gráinne Mullins impressed judges with a main course of chicken soup, ceaile and offal tartlet; and a dessert of carrageen pudding.
The gala dinner featured canapés using Euro-toques Food Award-winning Irish ingredients and courses created by the mentor kitchens of some of the finalists, including starters from Bastible, a fish course created by Aniar, a meat course from Potager in Skerries and desserts from The Greenhouse.
Earlier this year, Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year finalists participated in Food on the Edge 2019 and enjoyed a series of masterclasses and workshops with guest chef judges Anna Haugh and Shauna Froydenlund, chef Kevin Burke, former Head Chef of the Ninth in London and Kevin Thornton. They also enjoyed a day at Aimsir with Jordan and Majken Bailey and an educational trip abroad to Italy.
Manuela Spinelli, Secretary General of Euro-toques Ireland, said: “On behalf of all the Euro-toques Ireland team I would like to congratulate Gráinne on winning Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year 2019. We have had a fantastic contest full of great flavours and a serious demonstration of skill, and the calibre of our finalists and our winner means the future of Irish food is in excellent hands.”