Thank you Chef Martin Ruffley for inviting me to the reception & celebratory dinner of the European Young Chef Awards, hosted by GMIT as part of Galway, West of Ireland 2018 European Region of Gastronomy (ERoG).
Sensitively curated for the occasion this dining experience, with tables of soft tones & foraged foliage was a reflection of the love and care that had gone into organizing this event.
As I sat in the Galway City Restaurant, I considered how the soft pink buds delicately arranged around golden glowing candles somehow represented the growing talent & inspiration present in the room.
The department of Hotel & Catering Management are now a leading light in creative culinary education, particularly in the area of sustainability, and it is evident that the year long European programmes that many of these young students participated in will have a life-long effect on both their personal lives, and the communities within which they dwell.
The day’s festivities & events were incredibly inspiring & the enthusiasm & passion of the chefs taking part in the competition was palpable and instantly contagious.
The future of our food industry, and arguably our planet, rests in the hands of our younger generations, and I am exceptionally inspired by how the staff at GMIT have taken on the role of thought leaders in the area of sustainability.
During the evening meal, programme co-ordinator for ERoG, Galway, Elaine Donohue, described Galway’s food culture as inclusive and socially diverse, a theme at the heart of the Region of Gastronomy mandate. Conor Spacey, from Food Space talked about the importance of cooking in season, zero waste kitchens & locally sourced produce.
The day included a range of incredible events including workshops for school children with Feast Ireland, culminating with the awards reception & dinner.
Congratulations to the overall winner, Chef Andreas Bjerring, from Aarhus-Central Denmark, with his dish ‘Memory of my Childhood,’ which was an innovative take on the traditional Danish recipe Larded Apples.
The other finalists were Beatriz Costa from Minho in Portugal, Eric Díaz from Barcelona in Catalonia, Andra Andriuc from Sibiu in Romania, Zok Žurman from Slovenia, Daniele Coccett from Terra di Marca in Italy, Suvi Mäki from Kuopio in Finland, and Tim Bressers from Noord-Brabant in The Netherlands.
The European Young Chef Award is organised by the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Art and Tourism (IGCAT) in collaboration with key partners in the Regions of Gastronomy.
The European Young Chef Award was hosted by four European Region of Gastronomy 2018 partners: Galway County Council, Galway City Council, GMIT and Teagasc