21 April 2021
By Tom Collins
Fifteen-year old Skibbereen pupil, Claire Griffin is enjoying the ‘sweet’ taste of success having been chosen a top winner in the recent nationwide search by banana importer Fyffes to find a new mouth-watering dessert that has a banana as its key ingredient.
Responding to the invitation fronted by celebrity cook, Donal Skehan, Claire was amongst a large group of what the popular television presenter called ‘creative and inventive meal-makers’ who accepted his challenge to design a desert that could become a meal-topping choice on tables around Ireland and abroad.
A dedicated home economics pupil, currently studying for her junior certificate, Claire is joined at Skibbereen Community School by her mother Mary, who works as a special needs assistant, whilst father Brendan is a stonemason builder. The middle child of three, Claire’s older brother Daniel is studying for his leaving certificate and younger brother Michael is in second year. An avid baker since a young age, Claire has ambitions to be an dietitian when she leaves school. In addition to her passion for cooking and baking, Claire is a committed member of Skibbereen Rowing Club.
In creating her prize-winning entry, which she names ‘hazelnut and chocolate caramel cake’ and which won the ‘Best Junior Baker aged 13 – 17’ category, Claire combined a delicious fusion of banana, and caramel, all topped off with a mouth-watering, chocolate-flavour icing, grated chocolate and chopped hazelnuts.
Devised by Fyffes to mark the annual National Banana Day held recently, the invitation to ‘design a dessert’ was in-line with a similar event which took place last year when the challenge was to capture the national lockdown-relieving popularity of home cooking by asking Ireland’s bake-at-home families to come forward with new and innovative recipes for banana bread.
Complementing what he called ‘the exceptional level of skill’ revealed by all who took part in the Competition, Donal Skehan said: “the success that Claire has achieved reflects the dedication and devotion she puts into her baking and the obvious enjoyment she gets from it “.
Responding to the widespread level of interest that the event has generated amongst the public, Fyffes marketing manager, Emma Hunt-Duffy said: “what’s really exciting to see is the increasing number of young people now taking part in the competition; it’s fantastic that our baking challenge appeals to the next generation of cook-at-home enthusiasts”.
“Also noticeable is the extent to which entrants are willing to experiment in finding new ingredients and taste combinations, especially when formulating recipes to suit those with particular taste preferences and those with allergies or other dietary needs,” Ms. Hunt-Duffy added.
Other category winners in the competition are: 11 year-old Clíodhna Mulkearns from Letterkenny (Best Junior Baker under 12 years); Roisin Gallagher from Drumcondra, Dublin (Best Ingredients); Brianna Turner from Ennistymon, Co. Clare (Best Gluten-Free); Alline Isense Dalpiaz from Killorglin, Co. Kerry (Best Styling) and Kirsten Meehan from Stoneybatter, Dublin (Best Vegan).
Details of each category winner and their winning recipes can be viewed on http://www.facebook.com/FyffesIreland/