A total of 10 culinary students (5 from France and 5 from Ireland) were selected to take part in the 2018 finale of the Dairy Chef challenge.
This competition was organised in a partnership between the Embassy of France in Dublin, Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), the National Dairy Council (NDC) and the French Dairy Council (Cniel).
Culinary students from top colleges in France and Ireland were invited to champion their institution by creating a three-course menu celebrating Irish and/or French dairy produce. Each dish had to include dairy as the main ingredient.
Finalists selected to take part in the cook-off from Ireland were Adam Leahy from Athlone Institute of Technology, Keith Moroney from Cork Institute of Technology, James Gavin from Dublin Institute of Technology, Rourke Griffin from Letterkenny Institute of Technology and Derek McClelland from Waterford Institute of Technology.
The judging panel for the competition was composed of H.E Mr Stephane Crouzat, Ambassador of France to Ireland, chef Ross Lewis of Chapter One, chef Guillaume Lebrun from Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud and Ms Cathy Curran of the National Dairy Council.
The first prize is a week-long “stage” within the prestigious kitchen of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs in Paris, France. The joint runners up won “stage” at Michelin Star Restaurants, Chapter One owned by chef Ross Lewis and Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud owned by chef Patrick Guilbaud. The three winning teams also received a weekend of travel to experience gastronomic culture following the weeks of their “Stages”.
The Winning pair were Pierre-Louis Delacroix from Université de Cergy-Pontoise and Derek McClelland from Waterford Institute of Technology. The Runners up were Rourke Griffin from Letterkenny Institute of Technology and Briac Le Roy from Lycée hôtelier de la Rochelle as well as James Gavin from DIT and Brice Lallement from Lycée des métiers de Bazeilles.
French Ambassador to Ireland, Stephane Crouzat said: “France and Ireland share a passion for good food, quality produce and hospitality. This first Dairy Chef challenge highlighted the depth of relations between culinary arts, tourism and hospitality schools from our two countries with young talented chefs taking part in a high-level competition. This contest illustrates the efficient work done by members of the France-Ireland network for Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Tourism in connecting French and Irish students with learning and training opportunities which will be of use in their future career.”
Head of School of Culinary Arts and Food Technology, DIT, Dr Frank Cullen said: “The diversification of the culinary educational systems in both countries challenges the student competitors to work in a team of two and diversify their techniques and knowledge to blend ingredients from both countries and produce unique dishes.”
Cathy Curran, Communications Manager of the National Dairy Council said: “The standard of the entries for the contest was very high which made the task of selecting the finalists challenging. The dishes cooked on the day were also really impressive and I was delighted to see the French and Irish dairy produce used in such an inspiring way, making the most of high quality ingredients and a variety of dairy ingredients from French Munster cheese to Irish buttermilk.”
For more information, visit ie.ambafrance.org.