GARY O’Hanlon of Viewmount House, Longford took the title of Celtic Cook Off Champion for 2012 at The West Cork Hotel last night.
O’Hanlon, who represented Ireland, beat off stiff competition from five of the most respected chefs from the Celtic territories for the second annual Celtic Cook Off event which was held as part of the Taste of West Cork Food festival which runs until this Sunday, September 16th.
Representatives from the other five Celtic territories included Jack Stein (Cornwall) son of restaurateur, chef and TV presenter Rick Stein, Ian Bennett, The Welcome to Town (Wales), Stephane Delourme, The Seafood Restaurant, Cornwall (representing Brittany), Tony Singh, who owned Oloroso Bar and restaurant for over 10 years (Scotland), and Butch Buttery, formerly of Tanroagan (Isle of Man).
The ‘Ready Steady Cook’ style cook off style event saw the master chefs split in to two groups where they each had just thirty minutes to impress the judges using West Cork artisan produce and one ingredient from their home turf.
They were also assisted by three young aspiring chefs from West Cork to help them with preparation and serving.
O’Hanlon’s dish of “White Hornless Heath milk fed lamb with wild artichoke paste, basil hickory smoked cherry tomato, crisp bone marrow, chestnut mushrooms and bagna couda jus won the favour of the judges who commended O’ Hanlon on his use of Irish and local ingredients.
This event was judged by last year’s Celtic Cook Off champion Roy Brett of award winning Ondine restaurant in Edinburgh, UK Masterchef winner Tim Anderson, food writer Joe McNamee and two local guest judges.
Speaking of the event, Neil Grant, General Manager, West Cork Hotel said “We were thrilled to host such a successful night again this year.
The Celtic Cook Off has become a landmark food event for the Celtic regions of Northern Europe since its inception last year and we at The West Cork Hotel are proud to play host to the region’s finest chefs.
He continued, “The Celtic Cook Off opens new doors to local producers and extends the export potential of their products. They also have the chance to promote their fare to top international chefs and be recognised as the “go to people” for the best artisan produce in the world”.
A Taste of West Cork Food festival continues until this Sunday with a number of highlight events still to come including an intimate concert with Declan O’Rourke on Saturday night, many free cookery demonstrations throughout Skibbereen and the finale event of the harvest country fair on Sunday with more than 100 local producers exhibiting their artisan products.