Jack Lenards from Michelin-starred Mews, is the Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year 2018

The  Staff Canteen

The Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year 2018 competition presented by La Rousse Foods has announced this year’s winner - Jack Lenards, mentored by Michelin-starred chef Ahmet Dede of Mews. 

Announced at a gala dinner at the Intercontinental Hotel in Dublin on Sunday, November 4, Jack won the Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year competition after a final skills test with a very specific brief for the last six remaining contestants.

The six Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year finalists were requested to devise two original dishes, inspired by seasonal produce including Irish venison and a selection of raw milk cheeses. Consistently working to strengthen the relationship between chefs and producers, Euro-toques chose the 2018 competition to support the raw milk cheese campaign and champion Irish cheeses.

Jack Lenards
Winner Jack Lenards in action 

Jack's winning dishes were a main course of Roast loin of Sika deer with barley risotto and Douglas Fir double IPA and a dessert of Poached apple, Tawny cider sauce and grated Young Buck cheese, impressing the judges with their flair, imagination and skill in execution.

Manuela Spinelli, Secretary General of Euro-toques Ireland said: “On behalf of all the Euro-toques Ireland team I would like to congratulate Jack on their achievement. The standard of talent was exceptionally high this year and all six finalists represent a bright future of Irish food.” 

Poached apple%2C Tawny cider sauce and grated Young Buck cheese
Jack's Poached apple Tawny cider sauce and grated Young Buck cheese

The Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year candidates cooked two dishes for five guest judges – chefs Liam Tomlin, Kieran Glennon, Jess Murphy, Graham Neville and Gareth Mullins – first producing a starter or a dessert based on raw milk cheese. The candidates used one or a combination of the raw goats’ cheese and sheep’s milk cheese from Silke Cropp and her son Tom’s Corleggy, Mike Thomson of Mike’s Fancy Cheese Young Buck, the mature farmhouse cheese Cloonconra Aibí by James Gannon and/or St. Tola, the soft goats’ milk cheese from Inagh Farmhouse Cheese made by Siobhan Ni Ghairbhith.

The second dish every Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year finalist produced was a main course using an Irish wild Sika venison saddle.

Roast loin of Sika deer with barley risotto and Douglas Fir double IPA
Jack's Roast loin of Sika deer with barley risotto and Douglas Fir double IPA

To produce their two innovative, interesting and accomplished dishes the young chefs had 2.5 hours of focused cooking and each of them was marked under three separate headings – execution and work practice, taste and flavour, and presentation.

Open to professional chefs under the age of 26, the competition has a proven track record in discovering the finest young talent with former winners including Mark Moriarty who progressed to win the World San Pellegrino Young Chef Competition in 2015.

For all the young chefs who have taken part this contest is a unique experience that will provide recognition throughout Ireland and beyond, and act as a prestigious stepping-stone in their culinary career.

As this year's winner Jack will also receives the opportunity of a stage with judge chef Liam Tomlin in his four restaurants in Cape Town, South Africa and he'll spend one week at Kruger National Park.

Jack Lenards and Liam Tomlin low res
Jack Lenards and Liam Tomlin

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 9th November 2018

Jack Lenards from Michelin-starred Mews, is the Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year 2018