Schools from Cavan, Monaghan and The Boyne Valley (Meath and Louth) came together last Wednesday the 24th of April, to take place in the Regional Final of the Schools TY Young Cook of the Year in Cavan Institute. Six teams of two students represented Inver College from Carrickmacross (Martha Alcaide Ruiz and Amaya Labrador), Beech Hill College Monaghan (Tiah Leonard and Honor Colleran), St Aiden’s Comprehensive in Cootehill (Sarah Reynolds and Muireann Daly), Loreto College Cavan (Jenna Smith and Niamh Boyle Drought), St Joseph’s Mercy Secondary School Navan (Lara Fanning and Niamh O’Leary) and Sacred Heart Secondary School Drogheda (Saidhbhe Elmes and Chloe Cromwell).

Schools from Cavan, Monaghan and The Boyne Valley Flavour’s Region (Meath and Louth) came together on Wednesday the 24th of April to take place in the Created In Cavan Regional Final of the Schools TY Young Cook of the Year in Cavan Institute. Front row l-r Saidhbhe Elmes and Chloe Cromwell, Sacred Heart School, Drogheda, (Second Place); Judge Carmel Biggane, Supervalu Food Academy, Created In Cavan Regional Final of the Schools Young Cook of the Year 2024 Winners Amaya Labrador and Marta Alcaide Ruiz from Inver College, Carrickmacross, Judge Norbert Neylon, Oakroom Restaurant, Judge Montxo Herrera, Killua Castle; Loreto College, Cavan, Jenna Smith and Niamh Boyle Drought (Third Place). Back row l-r Pauric White, Cavan Institute; Niamh O’Leary and Lara Fanning, Mercy College, Navan; Cllr Carmel Brady, Leas Chathaoireleach, Cavan County Council; Muireann Daly and Sarah Reynolds, St. Aidan’s Comprehensive Cootehill; Michelle Marron, Cavan Institute and Siobhan Sheils, Food Strategy Co-ordinator, Cavan County Council and Sinead McKenna, Cavan Institute.

This is the second year of the regional competition that is run in association with Created in Cavan, Cavan County Council, Boyne Valley Flavours, Cavan Institute and the Cavan and Monaghan Education Training Board. Students were tasked with using as much local produce, from their region, in their dishes. Judges also asked the students to complete a technical skill as part of the competition. Each team were asked to segment an orange using techniques shown to them that morning.

The six teams had from 10.30 am until 12.30 pm to prepare, cook and present one main course dish and one dessert dish to impress the judges. Judges on the day included Norbert Neylon of the Oak Room restaurant, Montxo Herrera, Head Chef of the new Twelve Points Restaurant at Killua Castle in Meath and Carmel Biggane, Food Academy Manager for SuperValu Ireland.

Siobhán Sheils, Food Strategy Co-ordinator with Cavan County Council was delighted to see lots of different produce from the region being used by the students. “We were glad to see a positive reaction from all the schools involved. It’s great to have their teachers here today and to have the focus on local produce around Cavan, Monaghan, and The Boyne Valley. We hope that all the students will continue to use and promote the importance of local produce.”

Michelle Marron of Cavan Institute welcomed all attendees once the Judges had finished their deliberations. She congratulated the students and their teachers on the effort that was shown throughout the competition. Cllr Carmel Brady and Leas Cathaoirleach of Cavan County Council also welcomed the students and the Judges. “The students here today have inspired us all with their amazing culinary skills. The aim of today was to engage with local schools and to educate the participants on the importance of our local food economy.”

Winners Amaya Labrador and Marta Alcaide Ruiz from Inver College, Carrickmacross pictured with their teachers and Pauric White, Cavan Institute

Each Judge thanked the students before awarding 3rd, 2nd and 1st place. Norbert Neylon presented the award for 3rd place to Jenna Smith and Niamh Boyle Drought of Loreto College Cavan. Montxo Herrera presented second place to Saidhbhe Elmes and Chloe Cromwell from Sacred Heart Secondary School in Drogheda and Carmel Biggane presented first place to Martha Alcaide Ruiz and Amaya Labrador of Inver College in Carrickmacross.

All students received a certificate of participation and a goodie bag.

Students were made aware of the apprenticeship in culinary arts that is now running at Cavan Institute. The Commis Chef Apprenticeship is a formal structured two-year education and training programme, incorporating periods of off-the-job training and skills development in college and work-based knowledge and skills development on-the-job skills in an approved industry kitchen. A great way for students to work and still get their qualification with Cavan Institute.

For more information on how you can get involved with Created in Cavan as a food business, producer or food retailer then contact Siobhán at food@cavancoco.ie