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Apprentice Chef Finale Apprentice Chef Finale


Limerick Students To Cook Up a Storm At Apprentice Chef Finale

Bailey O’Rourke dish for the Apprentice Chef Finale

Thursday 11 May students from across secondary schools in Munster will be ready to stir it up to complete the final stage of the 2016/2017 Flogas Ireland and Failte Ireland sponsored Apprentice Chef Programme.

Since October 2016 over 500 students have enjoyed a series of demonstrations and workshops as part of the program which aims to promote the importance of healthy eating to enhance physical and mental wellbeing and encourage young people to consider a culinary career to help combat the current chef crisis in Ireland.

Apprentice Chef Finale

Georgina Donnegan’s dish from the Apprentice Chef Finale




The finalists will enjoy an authentic professional kitchen experience and serve restaurant-standard dishes to a panel of judges for tasting. 3 of the students in this years’ final attend schools in Co Limerick. Having been mentored by accomplished Kerry chef Louise Brosnan, who recently completed a stage in Belfast with Ireland’s only female Michelin Star chef, Danni Barry, and supported by a nutritional therapist, Susie Cox, each dish presented by the students will have a “Good Mood Food” influence.

Bailey O’Rourke Lane from John the Baptist Community School, Hospital, Co. Limerick will serve “haddock with walnut and herb crust” and her classmate Louise McGrath will dish up “baked breaded haddock with roast asparagus, roast bruschetta mix, and pesto.”

Georgina Donnegan from Coláiste Iósaef, Kilmallock, Co.Limerick will serve “grilled chilli marinated steak with a hot and spicy garlic sauce, Chinese cabbage and a rainbow bell pepper couscous.”

This is the fifth year of the Apprentice Chef Programme.   It was established in 2012 by Mark Doe of Just Cooking Cookery School in Co Kerry and Mark Murphy, senior lecturer in Culinary Arts at IT Tralee.

The inaugural winner, Julia O Doherty from Hazelwood College in Dromcollogher, Co Limerick went on to study pharmacy at UCC.  On International Women’s Day this year she contacted the Apprentice Chef Finale team saying, “While it’s not apparent, I find that there are many similarities between cooking and the pharmacy course.  While I swapped my chef’s jacket for a lab coat and safety glasses, my goal in cooking still holds through in many dosage forms – the product must make the recipient happy.

Apprentice Chef Finale

Louise McGrath’s dish from the Apprentice Chef Finale

“In a nutshell, it goes without saying that my success in the competition has not only inspired me to thrive in the development of my culinary skills but also in my academic studies and my pursuits in extra-curricular activities.  When I have an exam approaching or a tough assignment due, I reflect on the challenges that I met and overcame in preparation for the competition.  As a result, I have gained self-confidence and public speaking skills which are invaluable at third level.”

Co-founder Mark Doe said, “Since we started the Apprentice Chef, 2,000 secondary school students have attended workshops and cookery demonstrations.  In our inaugural year, we had a modest cohort of students from Kerry and Limerick.  In year 2 students from Co Cork participated and for the first time this year, we were delighted to collaborate with Waterford IT and students from Tipperary, Wexford and Waterford have joined the program.  We are continuously impressed by the standard of dishes produced and this inspires us to build on the program’s success and we will continue in our efforts to take it to a national level.  We are indebted to our sponsors, Flogas Ireland and Failte Ireland, for their support to date and we look forward to future collaboration.”

All finalists received a specially commissioned Ambri chopping board, a Just Cooking cookbook and their Apprentice Chef monogrammed chef uniform.  The Supreme Apprentice Chef will also receive a set of professional knives, €1000 equipment for their school, a specially commissioned perpetual trophy, a year’s subscription to Easyfood Magazine and a styling session at Easyfood Magazine HQ this summer.

For more information on the Apprentice Chef click here

To read more about food in Limerick click here

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.