Meet the Finalists- Meet Conor Halpenny!
Tankardstown Chef Conor Halpenny was announced as a finalist in the Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year Competition held in Soder + Ko in Dublin on November 2nd.
The young finalists had to showcase their interpretation of the theme 'Origins of Contemporary Irish Cooking' through their menu creations while keeping Irish provenance and their own influences at the forefront of their minds.
Cooking was always something in Conor's life and at the event he explained that it was instilled into him from an early age.
Conor's dish drew inspiration from both the 'Land and Sea' resulting in an exquisite creation. Delicate amounts of charred squid, pickled cucumber, ham fat, squid ink mayonnaise, samphire, nori, seagrass, oxtail vinaigrette, salmon roe and lavender flowers were all beautifully presented against the stunning mother-of-pearl inner casing of the Abalone Shell.
The dish was very well received.
The next stage of the competition is a Culinary Skills Test Cooks Academy on the morning of Sunday 29th November. In association with La Rousse Foods, the competition’s main aim is to search for Ireland’s young food heroes who contribute to developing Irish cooking and promoting our unique culinary craft at home and abroad.
The five finalists will have to prepare two dishes for the judges including special guest judge, three Michelin Star chef Clare Smyth, using two specified ingredients.
Conor's key element for his savoury dish will be Sole while the key element in the sweet dish will be Shana Wilkie’s single origin organic chocolate.
What dishes Conor will create remains classified information for now... but the Judges will certaintly be in for a taste sensation.
The winner from the competition will be announced on Monday 30th November. This year’s main prize includes a stage at Gordon Ramsay’s flagship restaurant – Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in London. Although, all eyes are on the main prize, Conor participated primarily for his love of cooking Contemporary Irish Food! The future of Irish Food is in very skilled hands.
Afterwards, Conor and his mentor Head Chef Rob Krawcyk will create a main course for the Gala that is being held in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin. There will be 200 food critics and foodies at the event, that will be treated to a five course banquet with the maincourse representing Brabazon Restaurant's unique cooking style.