LYIT School of Tourism hit the GOLD standard at the Chef Ireland National Culinary Competitions

A small but dedicated team from LYIT School of Tourism travelled to Dublin from 16-19 February 2015 to compete in a variety of competitions at the Chef Ireland National Culinary Competitions and the Irish Cocktail Championships at the RDS in Dublin.  This national competition is the highlight of the calendar in which all Hospitality and Culinary Colleges, both North and South, actively participate.

While there were many individual competitors, the main focus was on the Team Event – Cook-Serve – where a team of three culinary students and two hospitality students prepared and served a three course meal in 2 and a half hours.  The team from LYIT’s Killybegs Campus were up on the first day, and there was some stiff competition from Tralee IT, Dundalk IT and Omagh College.  The level of professionalism, skills and attention to detail from each team was evident.  This was a testament to the invaluable training and education being provided throughout the country, but to many observers, the LYIT team had something special – the calm assuredness of the team members, the style and presentation of food, and the style of uniforms with accents of olive green on aprons and neckties – which set them up as the team to beat from early on.  On the day, everything went according to plan and lunch was delivered with style and panache to ten lucky diners and multiple judges.  When the announcement came that the team had met the standard to be awarded gold, it was not a shock but a well-deserved result for the hard work and dedication of staff and students over the past few weeks.  Gold Medals were presented to kitchen chefs-de-cuisine Dylan Doherty, Marcella Furey and Claire Patterson, and restaurant chefs-de rang Girts Mihalkins and Stacey Grimes-Dunleavy.  Lecturers Gabriel McSharry (Kitchen) and Patrick Brennan (Restaurant) were rightly proud of their students’ achievement.

Ciarán Ó hAnnracháin, Head of Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts at LYIT attended on the day.  “This is a fantastic achievement for the staff and students involved.  We have returned to the competitions this year after an absence, despite challenges, we have turned a corner in our revival with a rejuvenated staff team and a steady growth in student numbers.  It is clear to all that what we do in Killybegs is of the highest standard and that students are offered every opportunity to develop and showcase their knowledge and skills to an international audience”.

Individuals also performed very well in the many other competitions.  Sinéad Morrow won two Silver Medals in Kitchen for her Alternative Breakfast and Pork dish.  David Stewart won a bronze for his Fish dish, while Stacey Carr-Kennedy won bronze for her Novelty Cake.  Adrian McCarthy received two Certificates of Merit for his Senior Lamb and Senior Duck dishes.

Away from the heat of the kitchen, our bar-tenders were up against serious competition in the National Cocktail Championships but were always in the running.  In the end, Michaella Leonard won a bronze medal.  The boys, Daniel Gardiner and Chris Fitzsimons, were not too disappointed and certainly delighted for Michaella. Lecturer Joe Molloy was satisfied with everyone’s performance on the day, and is already looking forward to developing new ideas for next year.  To cap off an already great week, Marcella Furey and Claire Patterson teamed up again for a Mystery Basket Cookery Competition and came away with well-deserved Bronze Medals.

In acknowledging the achievements of the team, Dr Seán Duffy, Head of School of Tourism thanked all students and staff involved, in particular the support team of Tim Dewhirst, Noleen Boyle and Brigid McGinley as well as the student supporters who travelled to Dublin and all the staff in Killybegs for their wonderful and good-natured support and good wishes.

Click here for more information about programmes at LYIT’s School of Tourism.



Tue, 24 Feb 2015 13:01:00 GMT


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