Dungannon pupil whips up a treat at national cooking competition

The judge was award winning Chef Gary O'Hanlon
The judge was award winning Chef Gary O'Hanlon

A budding chef from a Dungannon school has won culinary acclaim after achieving third place in an Irish Schools Cookery competition.

She was mentored by The Kitchen Restaurant @ Tullylagan House Hotel in Cookstown.

The Junior and Senior Finals were held over the 6th & 7th of May in St. Angela’s College, Sligo. Sixteen finalists from all over Ireland battled it out for the coveted title.

Among the judging panel was Chef Gary O’Hanlon from VM Restaurant of Viewmount House in Longford, the President of the Restaurants Association, Pádraic Óg Gallagher, Head of the Home Economics Department in St. Angela’s College, Sligo, Amanda Mc Cloat, and Home Economics Teacher at St. Angela’s College, Dr. Elaine Mooney.

Chef Gary O’Hanlon commented “I was thrilled to be involved in the Fine Dine at Mine finals over the past two days. The standard from students even as young as 12 really impressed me and to see such enthusiasm and knowledge of product origin was quite impressive. If they all continue towards a career in the food business then our Hospitality sector will be in very safe hands indeed”.

The competition provided secondary school students with an opportunity to work with professionals and learn the tricks of the trade. The local chefs mentoring the students also provided them with an opportunity to cook and eat the best quality food produced in their local areas. Each finalist in the competition had been paired up with a local restaurant and chef to mentor them on their dish.

The competition gave students an opportunity to create tasty, healthy and affordable restaurant meals at home. Students were asked to submit their favourite restaurant meal (main course dish only) for two people. Over 1,400 applications were received from all over the country and then narrowed down to 32 finalists (16 junior, 16 senior).