Now in its fifth year, the YesChef awards was held in The Limerick Strand on the 24th of October. With a full house of 450 guests, the evening was a celebration of the hospitality industry in Ireland, with a focus on recognising those in the front line of an ever changing and challenging culinary landscape.
Nicci Smith, Editor of YesChef Magazine said “Without a doubt, one of the highlights of the evening was the gala dinner. The YesChef Awards is unique in that the menu is produced by students from colleges across the country. With support from their mentors, these young people who are the future of gastronomy in Ireland, delivered what can only be termed an outstanding dining experience for guests on the night.
The Students of The Institute of Technology Tralee with their Chef Mentor Dan Browne presented the starter which was Cordal Goats Cheese custard, smoked butternut croquette, compressed Apple, Balsamic Gel, herb oil & Hazlenut Tuille. This was an amazing opportunity for the four students who were Keith Neary, Padraig Moriarty, Maryann Shanahan and Christopher Barry to highlight their skills and creativity and to network with some of Irelands finest in the hospitality industry. He also said the central idea around which the dish was created was the use of a local product which was Cordal Goats Cheese, this is being produced in the Kerry Food hub in Firies by Shane O Leary and is widely in Supervalu stores across Kerry and beyond. The head of the HCT department Ray O Connor Desmond would like to thank all the staff and students of the HCT department at IT Tralee for their commitment to making this happen and showcasing IT Tralee on this National Stage.
This year there were 68 awards recognising and honouring chefs, hoteliers, restaurateurs and front of house teams. Shane Smith, YesChef Director, said “from its inception The YesChef Awards has been based on a research visit to each establishment, our judges face tough decisions every year, but this year one of the toughest was that of deciding Young Chef of the Year.
The level of commitment, dedication and skill displayed by the entrants was simply breath-taking and whilst recognising that the industry is facing challenges in recruiting and retaining young chefs, there is no doubt that there are young people working across Ireland who have incredible talent. Our challenge is how we support these young people to build and develop their careers.”
The Institute of Technology Tralee was so proud to have many graduates from various programmes amongst the winners. List of award winners below
The YesChef Awards is sponsored by Flogas, Lynas, CLASSICdrinks, Ready Chef, The Panel of Chefs of Ireland and Johnsons Coffee. Their support is invaluable to the growth and development of the programme.