Foie Gras Toffee Apples, Pigeon Hot Dogs, Celeriac baked in Rye with fermented Hay with Roasted Hay Tea – just some of the dishes that helped Mark Moriarty, of Greenhouse on Dawson Street, Dublin, win the 2013 Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year.
Mark was runner up last year and was clearly delighted to have got through the final against some tough competition from chefs from four other top restaurants including Locks, Pichet, Forty One and Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud.
The winner was decided through a series of gruelling tests over the past three months culminating in a gala “Carnival of Memories” dinner served in the Google's Garage Café.
Judges were looking for talent and enthusiasm but also for contestants to have a passion for Irish food and heritage. The aim of the competition is to help identify young talents of the future and this year's winner received a stage at ALMA, the international school of Italian cuisine in Colorno in Italy as part of their prize.
Finalists spent the early part of the day preparing a vegetarian dish and a pheasant course for the judges who this year included Elena Arzak, of Arzak in San Sebastian.
The final meal prepared by the young chefs this year was memorable and fitted well into this year's “Food Memories” theme. Thankfully there were no chemistry sets in evidence this year and the focus was firmly on good ingredients cooked appropriately with flair and focus.
We began with Mark's foie gras toffee apple canapés which consisted of foie gras encased in a sweet-sour apple gel on a stick, and distinctly more-ish pigeon hot-dogs.
Other memorable courses included Brian O'Flaherty's roast vegetables and “Beach Walk” by Kevin Burke, of Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, with cockles, mussels, scallop and lobster in a delicate creamy velouté and an artful parsley gel to lift the flavours.
Gráinne O'Keefe of Pichet cooked mallard breast with roasted beetroot, turnip and Savoy cabbage and Paula Levy of Locks served an intriguing apple themed dish to finish off the meal.
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