Five up and coming young chefs, aged between 21 and 24, have been awarded places on BIM’s Taste the Atlantic Ambassador Programme.

The initiative was created by Bord Iascaigh Mhara in partnership with Chef Network to drive awareness of the provenance of Irish seafood among young and aspiring chefs. Working with Chef Network, nominations were sought from around the country and five candidates have been selected following a written submission and interview process.

The five Ambassadors will now take part in a three month programme including mentoring from premium seafood producers along the Taste the Atlantic, A Seafood Journey! trail and workshops with Master fishmonger, Hal Dawson, and Michelin-starred chef, JP McMahon.

Taste the Atlantic, A Seafood Journey! was developed by BIM in partnership with Fáilte Ireland and the trail, from Malin Head, Co. Donegal to Kinsale, Co. Cork, showcases the range of seafood producers and visitor attractions along the Wild Atlantic Way to visitors.

The young chefs hail from all over the country. Sarah Jane Browne, originally from Kerry, is now Chef/Manager of Time & Tide in Annagry, Co. Donegal. Jake Kennedy is from Co. Wicklow and is Chef de Partie (Fish Section), Glovers Alley, Dublin. Kevin King is Senior Sous Chef, Connemara Sands Beach Hotel and Spa, Ballyconneely, Co. Galway and is from Clifden. Hailing from Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, Lucas Serpa Maciel Lisboa is Junior Chef de Partie, Bunnyconnellan Coastal Restaurant, Myrtleville, Co. Cork; and Andrew Zeppa is Commis Chef at The Yacht Pub & Upper Deck Restaurant, Clontarf, Co. Dublin.

Mairtín Walsh of BIM said: “As a member of the interview panel I was struck by the energy and knowledge all of the nominees. We genuinely had a tough job selecting only five chefs, but we can say with confidence they will be vibrant and vociferous ambassadors for premium Irish seafood into the future. We wish them the very best of luck on their seafood journey!”

Executive Chef at Harvey’s Point, Donegal and Chef Network Advisory Council member Chris McMenamin, who also took part in the selection interviews, said: “ We would like to see more local seafood featured on menus and these chefs can help champion that and inspire others. At the same time, the programme will greatly expand their knowledge and skills and contribute to their professional development. It’s been really refreshing to meet the candidates and we are genuinely excited to work with the five selected ambassadors over the coming months.”

The mentoring programme is underway and is being supported by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

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