Tonight’s sold out Chef Collab event in The Backstage Bar in the INEC, Killarney sees a host of incredible chefs taking part. Here we chat to a few of them about what it’s like to take part.

It goes without saying in any job that learning from our peers and gaining valuable experience from those who are more experienced is the best way to learn. Being a chef is a prime example of a career where this is never truer. Chefs at the highest grade still partake in stages and events with their peers from around the world to share and learn and having good mentors from the outset is the difference between a dream becoming a life-long passion.

The Chef Collab was created for exactly these reasons. It was founded by Chad Byrne, head chef at The Brehon Killarney, in 2018 to help connect young chefs with more experienced individuals for mentorship. The programme's main aim is to offer chefs an opportunity to thrive alongside some world-class chefs in order to elevate their skills.

As part of the programme, young chefs spend up to three days in their mentors’ kitchens, learning new skills and working together to create a dish. Each pair then cooks their dish at the Chef Collab event, resulting in a multi-course meal cooked by some of the best chefs and up-and-coming talent. 

Chef Collab May 2019

Chef Collab May 2019

Chef Collab's event tonight

The event in Killarney tonight has a stellar line-up of chefs taking part. Jonny Davidson, head chef at James St South in Belfast, will be overseeing the whole event, with all of the commis chefs under his guidance to create the snacks for the evening.

Theo Clench from London's Michelin-starred The Clove Club will mentor Ruth McMorrow from The Ross Hotel in Killarney and together they will create the evening's starter.

The fish course will be looked after by Kevin Burke from The Ninth in London and young chef Anamaria Inok from The Lake Hotel.

Abraham Nur from The Brehon Hotel will be mentored by Karan Mittal from Ananda in Dundrum, Dublin who was awarded Rising Star of the Year at our 2018 F&W Awards, and together they will create the middle course of the meal.

The main course will be created by John O'Leary, chef de cuisine at Adare Manor, along with Kamil Sznerys from the Gleneagle Hotel.

Gavin McDonagh of Shelbourne Social in Dublin will mento Patrick Ihil from the Killarney Park Hotel to create the dessert course for the evening.

Taking part in Chef Collab

Here, we chat to a few of Chef Collab's participants from this and other events about what the experience is actually like for them.

Theo Clench with Ruth McMorrow outside The Clove Club.

Theo Clench with Ruth McMorrow outside The Clove Club.

Theo Clench, The Clove Club

“Chad contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in taking part and I thought it would be a cool thing to do. It’s a nice thing to give young chefs a good experience; I wish someone had done that for me when I was starting out. 

Ruth spent three days with me at The Clove Club. The experience went really well; she has a great attitude and got along with the team. I think she saw lots of new and exciting things she hadn’t seen before and it's good for her to see how we operate. Everywhere you work you get a different aspect and a new way of doing things, it's always an eye-opener. 

We're doing the starter for the event. We talked about it before she came and we decided we’re doing something cold and she really wanted to focus on seasonality. We tested out a few things and came up with our dish. It’s going to be good fun tonight! 

We always try and mentor the young guys in our kitchen on how to get better and improve. I always think the next generation should be better than the last. We haven’t done our job properly if they haven’t learned anything.”

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Chef Collab gives chefs of the future the chance to grow and work with some world class chefs for a few days, honing their skills and elevate to the next level. ast week, our Head Chef @chefkaran.m welcomed @abrahamnur5 from The Brehon Hotel in our kitchen to share his knowledge with this talented young chef. On Monday May 27th, they will cook a dish together during a sold out masterclass in Killarney. We are happy to be involved in such an inspiring initiative! . . . . . #ananda #anandadundrum #dundrum #indianfood #indiancuisine #foodstagram #instafood #foodporn #foodphotography #foodgasm #foodie #irishfood #igersdublin #picoftheday #photooftheday #world_super_pics #europestyle_ireland #living_europe #topeuropephoto #ireland_insta #irish_daily #irelandgram #map_of_europe #ig_ireland #bestofireland #dublinireland #chefcollab #chefslife

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Karan Mittal, Ananda Restaurant

"I’ve known Chad for a while and love the work that he does. He invited me to take part and I couldn’t be more thankful to him for the great opportunity. I think it’s a great initiative to inspire young chefs and motivate them to become better. I always believe that the more you teach, the more you learn. As a chef, there’s nothing better than if you can inspire someone to become a chef and help them hone their skills. Chef Collab is a great learning curve for us as well to share our passion with the amazing chefs that are part.

I’ve had good mentors at every stage of my career. A lot depends on the mentor and the way they groom and teach you. In Ireland, I’ve been inspired by the great community of chefs. Especially chef Gavin McDonagh, who mentored me for EuroToques Young Chef of the Year Competition and he has driven me to become better. 

It was great to have Abraham Nur from Brehon Hotel to work with me in Ananda for two days and see him getting inspired by our wonderful team. It’s great for me to exchange ideas and knowledge with the other chefs so it was a pleasure to have him." 

Yvonne Coughlan, The Lake Hotel

" My head chef, Noel Enright, asked me to get involved last December as he thought it would be a great way for me to gain more experience from other chefs. The Chef Collab is a great way of connecting with other chefs in the industry and a fantastic way of learning the trade through other experienced chefs.

It was a brilliant learning experience for me to be sent to Forest Avenue in Dublin, which was slightly out of my comfort zone, but the experience was unbelievable.

It's important to learn from others in the industry as what we do is hands-on and practical. It is great to be able to be sent to a totally different kitchen environment and to learn the trade from different chefs from around the world."

In the kitchen at a Chefs Collab event.

In the kitchen at a Chefs Collab event.

Noel Enright, Executive Head Chef, The Lake Hotel

"I’ve been involved since the start. Chad came to me with the idea and I wanted to be on board. I cooked at the first one and mentored at a couple and now I host and just generally just help out.

It's not a secret that chefs are in short supply and at recruitment is important for me and encouraging chefs is important. People’s perceptions of the industry can be bad, but there are sides to the job that are good and we want to make people aware of that through these events too. 

It's a positive thing and once there are positive reactions and feedback, then that's a step in the right direction. If we do something that gives someone a feeling that cheffing is something they’d like to get into, that’s a good thing."

Paul Brogan, Forest Avenue

"I've taken part in three Chef Collab events, mentoring at two. I bought into the idea because I think the concept is brilliant. Encouraging young chefs and pushing them to be better is really important; getting out to other restaurants for experience is essential.

Mentoring is just part of our job, it’s a skill in itself. I found it takes time to learn how to do it properly and when you're part of Chefs Collab and seeing other chefs doing it, you learn from each other about mentoring, from cooking techniques or flavour and teaching skills and how they talk to people.

Everyone’s first time together is just on the day before service. There’s no division and separation and everyone helps each other out and has a good night. It's really an amazing and worthwhile experience."

Make sure and tune in to our Instagram Stories from 3pm today as The Chef Collab takeover for the evening, live from the event!