17 February 2016
By Tom O’Sullivan
Co. Down student Jody Seed wins KNORR Student Chef of the Year competition after exciting cook off at Athlone Institute of Technology
Jody Seed representing Southern Regional College, Newry has been crowned KNORR Student Chef of the Year 2016 after a thrilling cook off hosted by Athlone Institute of Technology. Not only did Jody overcome a challenging theme set out by KNORR, he also successfully fought off the challenge of fourteen other rising stars to claim the top prize, one of those being Joseph Doverman of Cork Institute of Technology.
Students were challenged to create a starter using sustainable Irish seafood and a main course celebrating Irish venison. Students were also asked to demonstrate an understanding of the challenges of culinary sustainability, food waste management and allergen awareness.
Celebrating its 19th year in 2016, KNORR Student Chef of the Year, the most celebrated student chef competition, is open to catering colleges, institutes of technology and training centres across the island of Ireland.
The theme of this year’s competition was ‘The Future of Irish Cuisine’ and focused on celebrating Irish ingredients and cooking methods. This year’s competition was judged by a panel comprising Unilever Food Solutions’ Business Development Chef, Mark McCarthy; guest judge and San Pellegrino World Young Chef of the Year, Mark Moriarty; and Michael Gantley, Chef Lecturer, Athlone Institute of Technology.
Jody impressed the judges with his trio of seafood ‘Pot-roasted turbot, ragout of mussels, leeks, bacon, cider and poached oyster, lemon confit and oyster foam’.
For his main course, he served a ‘roast haunch of venison with red cabbage, pickled pear marmalade, parsnip puree, charred tender stem broccoli, glazed carrot and garlic kale.
He chose local, sustainable products as he believes the relationship between the chef and the local producer is key to the success of Irish cuisine.
Speaking at the awards presentation, Mark McCarthy said: “The KNORR Student Chef of the Year competition is an ideal platform for the country’s brightest talents to not only demonstrate their culinary flair and talent, but to also develop new skills that are certain to serve them well as they embark on what I am confident will be long, successful careers.
“The greatest challenge for everyone in the foodservice industry, and indeed those starting out, is that it constantly changes. This is why we ask our student chef finalists to not only think about the story behind their dishes, but to also tackle some of the current issues that are facing the industry, whether this is cutting down on food waste in the kitchen or meeting legislation changes. I’m happy to report that all our students created wonderful menus this year, while also meeting our challenge excellently. I feel inspired and confident that the future of our foodservice industry is in safe hands.”
Guest judge, Mark Moriarty added: “The standard of entries this year was extremely high. There is so much talent on the island and KNORR Student Chef of the Year is a wonderful way of recognising the creative thinking and innovative ideas of the next generation of top-class chefs. I was really impressed by how important local produce is to the students and how they married that with great tasting dishes.”
As well as the much-coveted KNORR Student Chef of the Year title, Joey is going on a fantastic culinary experience in the Danish capital, Copenhagen. On one night, he will dine in style at Relae, the world’s leading sustainable restaurant and the second night will have them dining in Amass. He will also get an opportunity to take a unique food tour of Copenhagen, the ultimate way to experience the best of Danish food and culture from a local’s perspective.
Completing the top three was Emma Horkan from Dundalk Institute of Technology and Raminta Astrauskaite from Athlone Institute of Technology who finished in second and third place respectively. The hygiene award was presented to Cameron Ashcroft from Northern Regional College (Ballymoney Campus).