We are always delighted to hear about young chefs being celebrated and the European Young Chef Award 2018 was held in Galway this week, which saw Andreas Bjerring from Aarhus-Central Denmark announced as the winner of this year’s competition.

Galway is the 2018 European Region of Gastronomy (ERoG) and so played host to the competition this year. They are also the first region in Ireland to hold this award. Hosting the prestigious European Young Chef Award has built on the wide-ranging and vibrant programme of events, festivals, projects and initiatives which have taken place throughout the year as part of the Galway, West of Ireland ERoG 2018, which has enhanced Galway’s food culture and created a lasting impact for the region.

The European Young Chef Award aims to promote culinary innovation using traditional cuisine and local produce, highlight sustainable food cultures and inspire future ambassadors for the Regions of Gastronomy in Europe.

The event provides participants with the opportunity to learn about the gastronomic heritage of different regions and saw the young chefs showcase traditional dishes and local food products from their own region as well as compete for the title of European Young Chef 2018 by creating an innovative version of a dish which is traditional to their region.

Galway chef Aisling Rock held the title from last year’s awards which took place in Barcelona, while Andreas Bjerring from Aarhus-Central Denmark, European Region of Gastronomy was announced as the European Young Chef 2018, with his dish ‘Memory of my Childhood’ which was an  innovative take on the traditional Danish recipe ‘Larded Apples’.

Memories of my Childhood by Andreas Bjerring

Memories of my Childhood by Andreas Bjerring

Ireland’s 2018 representative, Galway chef and final year student in the GMIT Culinary Arts programme, Andrew Ishmael, served his signature dish of beetroot-cured mackerel with horseradish pannacotta, pickled shallot and fennel, which is a twist on the classic combination of mackerel with horseradish cream.

Andrew Ishmael, Ireland's 2018 representative in the competition

Andrew Ishmael, Ireland's 2018 representative in the competition

The panel comprised of leading chefs and international experts, including Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur JP McMahon, judged the dishes based on their innovation, taste, presentation and cleanliness. The judging panel commented that they were very impressed with this year’s standard, and head judge JP McMahon highlighted the interesting storytelling which came from all of the contestants’ presentations and cooking.

This year's 10 finalists in the European Young Chef Award

This year's 10 finalists in the European Young Chef Award

The competition saw contestants from Ireland, Portugal, Catalonia, Romania, Slovenia, Italy, Finland and The Netherlands compete for the title of European Young Chef 2018. The European Young Chef Award was organised by the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Art and Tourism (IGCAT) in collaboration with key partners in the Regions of Gastronomy and was hosted by the four key European Region of Gastronomy 2018 partners: Galway County Council, Galway City Council, GMIT and Teagasc.