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Conor hoping to be top chef

South West College catering student Conor Keegan

FINALIST…South West College catering student Conor Keegan

A STUDENT chef at the South West College in Enniskillen has reached the final of a national cookery competition.

Conor Keegan (18) has claimed a place in the final of the Knorr Student Chef of the Year competition, where he will battle it out with the cream of Ireland’s student chefs.

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The NVQ level professional cookery student explained that he found the competition online, entered by sending in a menu of recipies and was the chosen for the final.

The theme of this year’s contest is ‘Wise up on Waste’, to coincide with the European Year Against Food Waste, with the finalists being tasked with using sustainably sourced ingredients and limiting the amount of food waste generated.

Now in its 17th year the competition continues to go from strength to strength and provides an opportunity for the next generation of Ireland’s culinary stars to showcase their skills and knowledge in front of an expert judging panel.

Conor will be preparing a main course, using Knorr bouillon, of Thornhill duck breast with creamed Savoy cabbage, along with having to create a unique dessert using ingredients taken from a mystery basket on the day.

Conor will be hoping that the countless hours he’s spent in the kitchen honing his dish and expanding his flavour range will pay off on the big day.

This year’s judging panel features for the first time TV presenter, food writer and proprietor of Ballyknocken House Catherine Fulvio, along with head judge Mark McCarthy, business development chef at Unilever Food Solutions and Pat Zaidan, chef lecturer at Dublin Institute of Technology.

The finalists are aiming for the incredible top prize of a trip for dinner to the three Michelin starred restaurant Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy. Each finalist will need to explain the personal influences behind their dishes and in keeping with this year’s theme the students will have to demonstrate effective waste management techniques and sustainability.

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The final cook-off will take place on Tuesday, February 11 at the Dublin Institute of Technology,

“I’m getting nervous now that it’s coming closer, but I’m looking forward to it,” said Conor.

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AN ENNISKILLEN student was edged out in the final of a national cooking competition.

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