29 Nov 2021

Waterford culinary students to cook up a storm at Bellissimo

Waterford culinary students to cook up a storm at Bellissimo

Waterford culinary students to cook up a storm at Bellissimo

A showcase of years of hard work, creativity and finesse is on the menu when the final-year BA (Hons) in Culinary Arts students from Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) will take over the kitchen of Bellissimo restaurant in Waterford for four unmissable nights from 24-27 March 2020.

The 12 students have created tasting menus with a strong focus on exceptional local produce and will be working the kitchen at the event in a variety of roles, from head chef to pastry specialist. Tickets are €60 each for a six-course tasting menu and booking is essential at Among the 12 are a number of students who went to school locally.

They include two Abbey Community College, Ferrybank past pupils Tom Phelan and Michaela Quigley, Saoirse Mooney from Tramore, Aine Brennan, and Hanna Mathe who recently returned from the 45th International Worldskills competition in Russia, where she represented Ireland in Cookery against 46 other countries and won a medal of excellence.

This event is presented by WIT, Pallas Foods and ABP in partnership with Bellissimo restaurant. It aims to highlight how creative and rewarding a career as a chef can be.

One of the key driving forces behind this incredible event is Tony McMahon, owner and restaurateur, Bellissimo Waterford. McMahon first proposed the Chef Takeover project.

He believes there is no better way to address the challenges in the industry than with “the people who will form its future, the young talented chefs and front of house staff that we need to encourage to take on the responsibility with passion.”

“Bellissimo has been creating great dining experiences in Waterford for 20 years and this event promises to be one of the best so far," McMahon says. "Collaboration between all of the parties involved can only make our industry stronger and better and most importantly give our valued customers something to really enjoy and be part of. Fantastic food, talented chefs, a glimpse into our culinary future, an enjoyable night out.... don’t miss it!”

Michael Quinn – a full-time lecturer at WIT and a renowned chef in his own right – has been working closely with his final year BA (Hons) in Culinary Arts students on their Chef Takeover preparations.

A multi-award winner with more than 22 years’ experience, voted Best Chef of the year in 2012 by the Restaurant Association of Ireland. Since then Quinn has moved on to become a full-time lecturer at WIT.

“Our students have used everything they’ve learned throughout their four year to pair mouth-watering ingredients, combining theory, practice, creativity and a phenomenal sense of adventure along the way. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience the best of Irish produce curated by the best of Irish student culinary talent.”

Through teaming with WIT and Bellissimo, Pallas Foods and ABP are supporting the student chefs to put their skills into action.

The goal is to inspire, motivate and, according to Pallas Foods Business Development Chef Patrick Clement, “it is about highlighting how rewarding and creative a career as a chef can be and supporting these young chefs as they begin their culinary journey after college.”

Eoin Ryan, ABP European Sales and Marketing Manager, said “At ABP we have no doubt that the Waterford Institute of Technology culinary students of today will be the successful restaurateurs and chefs of tomorrow. We are thrilled to be able to support the Chef Takeover as it helps prepare students for work as professional chefs in the hospitality sector, therefore training with quality beef is vital. Students will be working with high quality beef and lamb that ABP currently supplies to many of the leading restaurants and hotels across Europe, including Michelin-starred establishments. It is great to be encouraging catering students, and Michael Quinn is an outstanding chef to work alongside and learn from.”

Experience this incredible feast from 7pm from 24-27 March at Bellissimo, Cedar House, Dunmore Rd, Ardkeen, Waterford. Tickets are €60 each for a six-course tasting menu. Booking is online at

This event is presented by the Waterford Institute of Technology, Pallas Foods and ABP in partnership with Bellissimo.

This pioneering event marks the inaugural stage of a much bigger project that aims to design a brighter future for Ireland’s food industry.

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