Aisling Rock, a 21 year old culinary student from Gort, who represented the European Region of Gastronomy Galway at this year’s European Young Chef Awards in Barcelona was rewarded with the prestigious title of European Young Chef of the year this week.
The dish that secured Aisling her victory against tough competition was Salted Mackerel with Root Vegetables and Potatoes, the ingredients of which were all sourced from the west coast of Ireland. Aisling was one of eight chefs to make it to the final stage of the awards.
The European Young Chef Awards celebrates gastronomy by protecting and promoting cultural and food diversity, culinary traditions, gastronomic innovation and promoting young chefs starting out their careers.
There was reason for double celebration at the event when it was announced that Galway as European Region of Gastronomy will host the IGCAT European Young Chef Awards at GMIT Culinary School in October 2018.
This elevates Galway to the forefront position of culinary activity in Ireland. This will be the second international culinary event to be held in the Galway Region for 2018, alongside ‘Food on the Edge’, an international chef symposium hosted annually by JP Mc Mahon, Michelin Star owner of Aniar and Eat Galway.
Galway and West of Ireland has been designated the European Region of Gastronomy for 2018 designation alongside Noord Brabant in the Netherlands.
The designation will commence from January and celebrates our rich landscape, our food heritage, our people, and our multi-cultural communities through a variety of food festivals and events. This means that we will explore our food and associated culture across five key platforms — Education and Health, Linking Urban with Rural, Cultural Diversity, Sustainability and Feeding the Planet and supporting SMEs and Innovation.
Minister for the Diaspora and International Development Ciaran Cannon extended his congratulations to Gort native Aisling Rock on being named European Young Chef of the Year.
Minister Cannon said ‘I am delighted that Aisling, a native of Gort, has been named as European Young Chef of the Year and wish to congratulate her on this honour.
“Galway`s reputation has been growing in recent years as a centre for the very best that artisan food has to offer and I am delighted that a native of Galway East has given strong proof that it is a reputation that is richly deserved.
“This is a competition organised and promoted by the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism with the objective of strengthening links between the European regions through the talents of young professional chefs while promoting innovation using local cuisine.
“This event is judged by some of Europe’s most prominent chefs and food experts and is an excellent opportunity to showcase what Ireland has to offer in terms of traditional cuisine. Aisling has brought credit and honour to GMIT where she has been a Culinary Arts student and to her native town and county and I wish her well in what will undoubtedly be an auspicious future career,” he said.