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Finalists Announced for 2013 All-Ireland Knorr Student Chef Competition

Fourteen of Ireland’s most-talented and gifted student Chefs have won their place in the finals of the 2013 All-Ireland Knorr Student Chef of the Year competition. 

Representing culinary colleges and institutes from across Ireland and for the first time, Northern Ireland, the student chef finalists will travel to IT Tralee on Wednesday, 27th February to battle it out for the title of ‘Best Student Chef’ in Ireland’s premier student chef competition.

The theme of this year’s competition is ‘Seductive Nutrition’ to coincide with the recent launch of Unilever Food Solutions’ third World Menu Report which calls on chefs to reduce the calories of their dishes without compromising on taste to help combat the global and national obesity crisis. 

Judges TJ O'Connor, Martin Shanahan & Mark McCarthy

Rather than creating a new ‘healthy’ dish, students have been challenged to take a popular dish and give it a healthy twist all under the watchful eye of the judging panel: Mark McCarthy, Business Development Chef at Unilever Food Solutions, TV chef Martin Shanahan of Fishy Fishy restaurant in Cork, TJ O’Connor, Head of Section, Hotel, Culinary and Tourism Department at IT Tralee and, just announced, celebrity dietician, Paula Mee.

Now in its 16th year, the Knorr Student Chef of the Year competition is a respected and keenly-fought competition in the Irish culinary calendar, with previous winners going on to enjoy exciting careers in the food-service industry both at home and abroad. 

Part of the Overall winner's prize is a master-class & a meal in  a 3-Star Michelin Restaurant

For this year’s fourteen hopefuls, a win not only means the title of ‘Best Student Chef in Ireland’, it also means a fantastic grand prize of a culinary adventure in Girona, Spain, where the lucky student will take part in an exclusive Catalan cooking masterclass and will dine in style at the 3-Star Michelin restaurant El Cellar De Can Roca, voted the second best restaurant in the world! 

The finalist must prepare a fish dish as a starter

On the day of the final, the finalists will be asked to create a starter and main course using Knorr Bouillon and at least two other products from the Knorr ingredient portfolio. The starter must be fish-based to complement the skills and interests of guest judge Martin Shanahan. Students will also be asked to submit their menu in advance to be nutritionally analysed ahead of the final cook-off, and will be encouraged to use Unilever Food Solutions’ new calorie calculator (available free on the Unilever Food Solutions’ website, to analyse the calorie content of their dishes. 

Students will be evaluated on their creativity, practicality and effective use of Knorr products, as well as their chef skills, the composition of their dishes and overall presentation. The finalists will also be asked to explain to the judges the personal influence behind each of their dishes. Points will be awarded for how students express themselves through their menu, as well as for how tasty and attractive the dishes sound.

Previous winners going on to enjoy exciting careers in the international food-service industry

Looking forward to this year’s final, Mark McCarthy, Business Development Chef and head of the judging panel said: “Knorr Student Chef is a brilliant opportunity for talented amateur cooks to showcase their cooking skills and demonstrate their innate culinary creativity in front of leading food professionals. By challenging students to give popular dishes a healthy twist, we feel this year’s theme is particularly relevant. I’m also excited to open up the competition to Northern Ireland for the first time and I’m really looking forward to seeing the creativity and skill in the next generation of Ireland’s master chefs.”

Knorr 2013 Student Chef of the Year Finalists: 

Gerard Phelan, Waterford Institute of Technology.
Ethna Reynolds, Letterkenny IT, Donegal.
Eugene Corbette, Limerick IT.
Jack O Keeffe, Cork Institute of Technology.
Stephen Griffin, IT Tralee, Co Kerry.
Connor Roben, Dublin Institute of Technology, Cathal Brugha Street.
Jane Peaker, North West Regional, Co Derry.
Seamus O’Brien, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Co Louth.
James Gumley, Athlone Institute of Technology, Co Westmeath.
Tyler Greer, Belfast Metropolitan College, Belfast.
William Dawson, South Eastern Regional College, Bangor, Co Down.
Kevin Farren, Northern Regional College, Co Antrim.
Matthew Kennedy, Southern Regional College, Portadown, Co Down.
Martin Carroll, Southern Regional College, Newry, Co Down.

The Knorr Student Chef of the Year Award Final cook-off will take place in IT Tralee’s Catering, Hospitality and Tourism building in the North Campus on Wednesday, 27th February 2013. 

Congrats to all the finalists and a special 'Good Luck' to fellow Donegal chef Ethna Reynolds!

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