Search is on for Ireland’s Next Top Chef with launch of 2024 competition

Aspiring chefs from across the island of Ireland are being encouraged to test their culinary skills with the launch of this year’s search for Ireland’s Next Top Chef.

Tourism Ireland’s Alice Mansergh and The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Ryan Murphy joined hospitality industry leaders and prominent names from Ireland’s culinary scene to celebrate the much-anticipated return of the not-for-profit culinary competition.

Coordinated by the Balmoral Hotel, Ireland’s Next Top Chef was established in 2023 to identify and nurture culinary talent aimed at safeguarding the future of the local hospitality industry.

The competition provides talented chefs with an exciting opportunity to put themselves in the spotlight and showcase their talent to some of Ireland’s top industry-recognised chefs and experts aiming to be crowned the island’s next culinary sensation.

The Lord Mayor of Belfast was hugely impressed with the competition organiser’s energy and ambition for this year’s contest and looked forward to the culinary delights that aspiring chefs bring to the table as they showcase their talent.

The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Ryan Murphy said: “I’m thrilled to give my wholehearted backing and support to ‘Ireland’s Next Top Chef’ as a monumental boost for the hospitality industry in Belfast and beyond.

“This innovative competition not only showcases the incredible culinary talent we have in our city, and across Ireland, but also emphasises the vital role the hospitality sector plays in our economy and cultural heritage.”

Alice Mansergh, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “I am delighted to attend the launch of this year’s Ireland Next Top Chef 2024 competition. Food and drink are an intrinsic element of any holiday experience. Tourism Ireland works hard to showcase our world-class culinary offering overseas.

“We highlight our local produce and artisan producers, attractions, our food markets and tours, as well as our beautiful landscapes, to remind potential international visitors that the island of Ireland is a great choice for a holiday with wonderful food and drink.

“Chefs have an important role to play when it comes to overseas tourism and making sure that our visitors have a fantastic experience when they’re here. They’re the people who take our fresh local ingredients and create something wonderful. They bring the best of ingredients from field, or sea, to fork – while also supporting our farmers, food producers and fishermen, benefiting local communities across our island.”

Ireland’s Next Top Chef is open to professional chefs and home cooks. Contestants are required to submit their signature three-course menu by the closing date of Friday 7th June 2024 to qualify for the live knock-out stages of the competition.

The Grand Finale will take place on Thursday 1st August 2024, at the Balmoral Hotel in Belfast, with the top three chefs competing against each other in a thrilling live cookery showdown to claim the coveted title of ‘Ireland’s Next Top Chef’.

Ireland’s Next Top Chef

The winner will receive the opportunity to undertake an all-expenses-paid mentorship to cook and train with a leading culinary team at a prestigious two star Michelin-starred restaurant of their choice; Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London or Chapter One by Mickael Viljanen in Dublin.

John Trainor, Director of Balmoral Hotel in Dunmurry and Stix & Stones restaurant in Belfast, says: “As we kick off this year’s Ireland’s Next Top Chef competition, our goal is to discover and mentor the very best of local culinary talent, ensuring that we continue our region’s proud tradition of producing world-class chefs.

“This not-for-profit competition is designed to equip these promising chefs with the opportunities and resources they need to succeed and establish themselves as leading chefs of the future. This will ultimately ensure the sustainability of our dynamic hospitality industry, reinforcing its vital role in bolstering the local economy.

“Last year’s inaugural competition not only highlighted the competition’s significance within the industry but also set a new standard for 2024 as we aim to make this year’s competition bigger and better in our search to find our next culinary superstar.

“I would strongly encourage aspiring young chefs to enter, as it provides an invaluable steppingstone that could propel their careers in the industry to new heights, as well as winning prizes at each of the 3 stages of the competition including Service Works London apparel and premium Katto Knife Sets.

“Participating also offers aspiring chefs a platform to showcase their culinary skills and an opportunity to learn from some of the top professionals in the industry.”

Last year’s inaugural competition was won by Gareth Crawford of Belfast-based Cú restaurant, who fought off competition from over 24 contestants to impress judges with an extraordinary display of culinary excellence to be named the first-ever winner of the prestigious accolade.

Gareth Crawford, winner of last year’s Ireland’s Next Top Chef competition and celebrated chef at Cú restaurant, says: “Winning last year’s competition was a great milestone in my career. It was not only a platform to showcase my skills but also a tough challenge that pushed me to excel.

“This competition is an excellent opportunity to hone, test, and celebrate your culinary skills, and I would encourage any professional chefs and home cooks to enter. It is designed to push contestants to refine their cooking techniques and expand their culinary repertoire, providing an intensive, hands-on experience crucial for personal and professional growth.”

Ireland’s Next Top Chef is sponsored in 2024 by Balmoral Hotel, Sysco Ireland, Bunzl McLaughlin, Tanqueray Gin, Anjo Wholesale, Lakeview Farm Meats, Frylite Solutions, Heverlee Premium Pilsner, Direct Wine Shipments, N4networx, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Keenan Seafood, Féile an Phobail and Ryak Cleaning & Support Services.

The deadline for entries is 12 noon on Friday 7th June 2024. Contestants can submit their applications and find out additional information via www.irelandsnexttopchef.com.

 

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