Maria Dunne, a student who attends Athlone Institute of Technology, was crowned winner of the Knorr® Professional Student Chef of the Year 2020.
This year’s competition was hosted by TU Dublin, Tallaght Campus with Maria being one of eight students competing in this year’s competition from various third level institutions across the island of Ireland.
The theme, ‘2020 The Future of Foods’, was based on how new emerging food trends such as plant-based diets and lifestyles are changing and evolving food and our relationship with food. The eight student chefs were challenged with plating up two dishes within two hours, all inspired by 2020 food trends. Each dish had to include a minimum of two Knorr® Professional Products and two Future 50 Foods from the Knorr® Professional Future 50 report.
Maria stunned the judges with her dishes and her application of sustainability and local ingredients to produce her starter and main course.
For starter, using ingredients from Knorr® Professional Future 50 Foods Report and those she foraged herself from An Ghrian Glas Farm, County Westmeath she created her own take on garlic mushrooms with a garlic puree and foraged greens.
Ling and Spelt was served for the main course comprising confit ling, Dunany organic spelt, cauliflower purée, lemon foam, wakame and An Ghrian Glas Farm greens.
Maria was commended by the judges for her display of creativity and sustainability in the kitchen.
This year’s judging panel comprised Audrey Crone, Audrey Crone, Executive Chef, Unilever Food Solutions, Darina Brennan, Group Executive Chef of Dalata Hotel Group, Annette Sweeney, Co-ordinator of the culinary arts programmes at TU Dublin Tallaght Campus, Niall Hill, Chef and Food Consultant and special guest judge Food Journalist, Dee Laffan.
“It’s such an honour to receive this award. This competition gives chefs of the future a platform to make a name for ourselves before heading out to the workforce. Everyone did so well today and it was amazing to compete against my fellow peers. I want to thank everyone for the opportunity, especially my lecturers,” a jubilant Maria commented post victory.
This was the 23rd year of the Knorr® Professional Student Chef competition, providing the ultimate showcase for aspiring student chefs to demonstrate their talents in a competitive and highly-charged food environment.