On Sunday 29th of November after a testing three month process the winner of Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year 2015 was announced at a gala banquet event in Dublin’s iconic Shelbourne Hotel. 22 year old Ruth Lappin from Laois was awarded the coveted title from special guest judge, Clare Smyth, an MBE and three Michelin starred Northern Irish Chef.
Ruth, Chef de Partie at Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud was mentored throughout the competition by her head chef Kieran Glennon. After completing a BA in Culinary Arts at DIT Cathal Brugha Street Ruth did some impressive stages at Dublin’s Fallon & Byrne and the world famous WD50 in New York. Speaking after being crowned Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year Ruth Lappin said,
“When I entered this amazing competition back in September I never thought I would be the last one standing. The past three months have been an immense learning curve for me and I have been honoured to work with such inspirational chefs along the way”.
Ruth was one of five finalists who battled it out to win this esteemed title. The other four finalists in the competition were John Fitzmaurice, Head Chef at Moloughney’s in Clontarf, Conor Halpenny Chef de Partie at Brabazon Restaurant at Tankardstown House, Robert Browne currently a medical student in National University of Ireland, Galway and Roseanne Meehan, Junior Sous Chef at Knockranny House Hotel.
The judging panel also included Mark Moriarty (San Pellegrino World Young Chef 2015 champion), Graham Neville (Restaurant Forty One at Residence), Wade Murphy (Commissioner General of Euro-Toques Ireland and Chef/Proprietor 1826 Adare), Paul Kelly (Executive Pastry Chef at Merrion Hotel and Great Irish Bake Off judge). The chairing judge was Lorcan Cribbin (former Commissioner General of Euro-Toques Ireland). Clare, the first and only female chef to hold and retain three Michelin stars in the UK, one of only five women worldwide, said “I will be looking for a chef that displays a lot of skill, technique and an original cooking style, along with professionalism and a dedication and to our craft“. Though she was highly impressed by the talents and creativity of the young chefs,
“What they need now is the experience, to knuckle down and put their head down. Putting in a good few years hard graft in and they will be amazing chefs”.
Ruth will now embark on an all-expenses paid stage at Gordon Ramsay’s flagship restaurant; Restaurant Gordon Ramsey in London under the helm of Clare Smyth. Speaking about her dual role as judge and future mentor Clare said, “it’s really great because I can see what level they are at and also what I can give to them experience. It’s lovely to be able to develop people”. Ruth spoke about her delight getting to meet and work with Clare in the future, “Getting to meet Clare Smyth today was a real career highlight and I cannot believe that I now get to work under her next year”.
The Euro-Toques competition tests talented chefs, aged between 18 and 26, to dig deep creatively, first in writing, with a written entry comprising a recipe and an explanation of your concept and thought process, then by interview, and finally in the kitchen with the gruelling skills test. The final test took place on Sunday in Cooks Academy, on South William Street, candidates had two hours to prepare two original dishes incorporating black sole and Wilkies single origin 75% chocolate. Having been in the kitchen as early as 7am, to begin mis-en-place, the finalists were then due to report to the Shelbourne to prepare a feast for Ireland’s most celebrated chefs and guests.
The competition introduces new talent to the world of chefs. On importance of the competition Clare says, “it puts the limelight on individual talents. They also measure themselves against each other and get access to all the other chefs and mentors”. Commenting at the final, Wade Murphy, President of Euro-toques Ireland said,
“The level of dedication and passion that these 5 young chefs have shown throughout the last three months is inspirational and really showcases that the future of Irish cooking in Ireland is in safe hand. This year’s competition was extremely close and really came down to the wire but Ruth showcased exceptional culinary skill and organisation making her a worthy winner”.
For more information on the Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year please visit www.youngchef.ie.
Erica grew up with a baker and confectioner for a father, and a mother with an instinct and love for good food. It is little wonder then that, after a brief dalliance with law, she completed a Masters degree in Food Business at UCC. With a consuming passion for all things food, nutrition and wellness, working with TheTaste is a perfect fit for Erica; allowing her to learn and experience every aspect of the food world meeting its characters and influencers along the way.