The Catex exhibition took place in Dublin last week it is Ireland`s Largest Hospitality and Culinary Event. The Hotel, Culinary Arts and Tourism Department were there in strength taking part in the Chef Ireland competitions which are organised by the Panel of Chefs of Ireland and endorsed by the World Association of Chefs Societies. The Catex exhibition provides an opportunity for Ireland’s most talented student chefs and hospitality students from colleges all across the country to go head-to-head in tightly fought contest across a broad variety of competitions. Now in its 50th year, Catex remains the biggest competition of its kind in Ireland and is an excellent opportunity for chefs and Hospitality students of the future to showcase their talent in front of some of Ireland’s leading food and hospitality professionals.
One of the Highlights of the show was the College Student Team Competition This was where a team of 3 student chefs and 2 hospitality service students worked together to prepare, cook and serve in front of a team of judges a 3 course meal for 12 people in 2.5 hours. The team from IT Tralee were in the kitchen Louise Brosnan (Dingle), Niamh Stack (Listowel) and Clodagh Teahan (Cromane) and on restaurant service was Jack Watkinson and Daniel Griffin both from Tralee. They presented to the judges a starter – Mackerel Three Ways, for main course they served Pan Seared Duck Breast served with foie gras, braised red cabbage, a chestnut mushroom foam and pickled girolles and golden raisins and for dessert there was a tropical plate which included Flambé pineapple served with a coconut mousse and ice cream. The team were very proud to be awarded a bronze medal in this competition. Louise Brosnan also got a silver medal in the Irish pork Competition this was the highest award granted in this competition and Niamh Stack also got a Bronze medal in the Irish lamb junior competition. Adrian O Sullivan (Kilfenora) received a bronze medal in the Irish lamb senior competition. The college mentor for all these competitions was Chef Lecturer Dan Browne (Listowel)
Student also entered butter sculptures for which Patricia McCarthy (Fenit) received a silver medal for her sculpture of three elephants in a cliffhanger pose and Karen O Donovan (Ardfert) received a bronze medal for her sculpture of a horse on a carousel and Siobhan Nash (Ballybunion) received a certificate of merit for her Samurai Solider. Karen Donovan also received a certificate of merit for a novelty cake which was a tiffany box and was based on the theme of love. The college mentor for all these competitions was Chef Lecturer Will King (Killarney). So overall IT Tralee brought home 2 Silver, 8 Bronze and 2 Certificates of Merits.
TJ O’Connor Section Head, Hotel, Culinary Arts & Tourism commended students for their achievements saying, “I would like to congratulate and acknowledge how proud the Department are of the students for their great achievement at the national competitions such achievements will greatly enhance their future career prospects. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Chef Lecturers Dan Browne and Will King and Hospitality Lecturers Deirdre Sugrue and Ronan Doyle for their dedication and commitment in preparing the students for the competition and all those who helped make this a reality for the students. It is indeed a great achievement on the National stage”.