The Cono Sur Chef Challenge 2016 came to a close at the weekend with the final taking place at the Pallas Foods Foodservice Centre in Co. Dublin.
Peter Jackson, Executive Chef at the Armada Hotel in Co. Clare, was victorious on the day with his dish of Atlantic cod with summer peas, saffron and mint accompanied by black pudding and air-dried Connemara ham. The panel of judges were impressed by the balance of flavours, Peter’s use of ingredients and the standard of cooking. The dish also paired magnificently with the Cono Sur 20 Barrels Sauvignon Blanc.
Runner up Richard McKee of Redcastle Hotel in Donegal, served a breast of Gressingham Duck with smoked artichoke and fermented garlic, and an innovative raspberry & hibiscus gel. Alan Fitzmaurice of The Glasshouse Hotel in Sligo was the other runner up with his stuffed loin of rabbit, wrapped in Parma ham and served with broad bean purée, carrot, pickled mushroom, burnt onion and a beetroot crisp.
The judges assessed the merits of each dish along with the performance of each of the chefs in the kitchen. Overseeing proceedings were Adolfo Hurtado, General Manager & Chief Winemaker at Cono Sur, Patrick Clement, Business Development & Events Manager for Pallas Foods, Leslie Williams, Food & Wine Writer at The Irish Examiner and Sinéad Delahunty, Blogger & Irish Finalist of the 2015 Cono Sur Blogger Challenge.
The inaugural Cono Sur Chef Challenge began in April when chefs across the Republic of Ireland were invited to submit an original recipe that complemented the 20 Barrels wine range from Cono Sur. 30 submissions were received with six chosen to compete in the semi final where the 3 finalists were chosen.
Speaking about the competition, Michael Foley, Marketing Director at Findlater Wine & Spirit Group, said “We were delighted to partner with Pallas Foods for this fantastic competition. Pallas put enormous emphasis on customer relations and satisfaction, values we also share at Findlater Wine & Spirit Group, and their deep involvement with this challenge helped make it the great success it was.”
Commenting on the judging process, Leslie Williams said that, “The standard of cooking and presentation from all three finalists was exceptional, and we had a very difficult time choosing the winner. However we really loved how the pea shoots and herbal elements in Peter’s dish picked up on those same flavours in the Cono Sur 20 Barrels Sauvignon Blanc, which really fulfilled the brief of finding a recipe to showcase the characteristics of the wines. When that was combined with the perfectly-cooked cod and overall freshness of the dish, we knew we found our winner.”
Peter wins a first class trip for two to Paris for a gourmet weekend away and all the finalists received a large hamper of gourmet Pallas Foods products and Cono Sur 20 Barrels wines.