Waterford's Natchanon Justiooksan came second in the Apprentice Chef South East final
Natchanon Justiooksan of St. Paul’s Community College in Waterford scooped second place in the South East final of the 2019 Apprentice Chef Schools Programme, with Martha Cleary from St. Declan’s Community College, Kilmacthomas, also making the final.
Sponsored by Flogas and Failte Ireland, the seventh annual event took place at Waterford Institute of Technology.
The theme of the Apprentice Chef project was ‘good mood food’, promoting the importance of healthy eating in overall personal, physical and mental well-being, as well as combating obesity and other health issues. Each finalist’s dish had to include ‘good mood foods’ based on seasonality, availability, locally produced and fresh unprocessed ingredients.
Natchanon impressed the judges with his panfried salmon with asparagus, basmati rice and pomegranate, as did Martha with her duck breast, green beans, carrots with sesame and rosti potato.
Natchanon and Martha along with the other finalists were presented with a chef’s uniform, certificate and specially monogrammed chopping board. Their schools will also receive a one-day cookery workshop from the Apprentice Chef culinary team.
Martha Cleary also cooked up a treat at the final
This year, due to the level of interest from schools throughout Munster, it was divided into two events, with Ellie Sugrue from Mercy Mounthawk College Tralee winning the title of Supreme Apprentice Chef at the South West final and Sophia O’Leary from Midleton College, Cork, winning the title at the Waterford event.
Co-founders Mark Murphy of IT Tralee and Mark Doe of justcooking.ie are delighted with the response to date and plan to expand the programme even further over the next few years.
“Over 4,000 secondary school students have been involved in culinary mentoring workshops to date. It is part of a three-year strategy to target 60 schools in Munster and expanding to secondary schools in Connacht in 2020 and a possible national event in 2021 or 2022,” Mr Murphy said.
Mark Doe added: “The Apprentice Chef team is committed to running an educational programme that has viable learning outcomes for all who take part. The workshops and the mentoring process ensures that every student taking part benefits enormously from the experience.”