Five up and coming young chefs have been successfully awarded places on BIM’s Taste the Atlantic Ambassador Programme.
The initiative, which is created by Bord Iascaigh Mhara in partnership with Chef Network, aims to drive awareness of the provenance of Irish seafood among young and aspiring chefs.
Working with Chef Network, nominations were sought from around the country and five candidates have been selected following a written submission and interview process.
The five Ambassadors will now take part in a three-month programme including mentoring from some of our premium seafood producers along the Taste the Atlantic, A Seafood Journey! trail and workshops with Master fishmonger, Hal Dawson and Michelin-starred chef, JP McMahon.
Two of the sought-after places were awarded to chefs Jake Kennedy of Glovers Alley in Dublin and Andrew Zeppa of the Yacht Pub & Upper Deck Restaurant in Clontarf.
He is a graduate of DIT and is also a keen sports fisherman.
Jake will be very much at home on the shore and on boats with Taste the Atlantic producers.
Andrew is from Dublin and has been working at the Yacht Pub and Upper Deck Restaurant in Clontarf for several years.
A high-quality seafood offering at the Upper Deck Restaurant has helped Andrew develop a strong interest in seafood and the culinary skills required to bring out the best in the product.
Andrew wants to get out and about on the water with Taste the Atlantic producers and bring a bit of the west coast back to Clontarf, Andrew is keen to draw on his Italian heritage to create interesting new dishes.
Taste the Atlantic, A Seafood Journey! was developed by BIM in partnership with Fáilte Ireland and the trail, sweeping from Malin Head, Co. Donegal to Kinsale, Co. Cork, showcases the incredible range of seafood producers and visitor attractions along the Wild Atlantic Way to visitors.
Kicking off the Ambassadors programme was a producer visit to Kelly Oysters in South Galway, who introduced them to a third-generation shellfish business that exports around the Globe.
That afternoon they participated in a culinary masterclass on Irish seafood with Chef JP McMahon. The group then visited Killary Harbour in Co. Galway to learn about mussel farming and Seafood Tourism directly from Killary Fjord Shellfish, this, followed by a trip to DK Connemara Oysters where the Ambassadors learned about oyster farming and the storied history of oyster production in Ballinakill bay.
Speaking after the young chefs were announced, Mairtín Walsh, BIM said, “As a member of the interview panel I was struck by the energy and knowledge all of the nominees. We genuinely had a tough job selecting only five chefs, but we can say with confidence they will be vibrant and vociferous ambassadors for premium Irish seafood into the future. We wish them the very best of luck on their seafood journey!”
Executive Chef at Harvey’s Point, Donegal and Chef Network Advisory Council member Chris McMenamin, who also took part in the selection interviews, commented: “This programme is a fantastic chance to show young chefs the wealth of seafood out there on the Wild Atlantic Way; to get to know the producers, understand how it is produced, and get excited about working with it. We would like to see more local seafood featured on menus and these chefs can help champion that and inspire others. At the same time, the programme will greatly expand their knowledge and skills and contribute to their professional development. It’s been really refreshing to meet the candidates and we are genuinely excited to work with the five selected ambassadors over the coming months”.
The young chefs hail from all over the country, Sarah Jane Browne, originally from Kerry, is now Chef/ Manager of Time & Tide in Annagry, Co. Donegal. Jake Kennedy is from Co. Wicklow and is Chef de Partie (Fish Section), Glovers Alley, Dublin. Kevin King is Senior Sous Chef, Connemara Sands Beach Hotel and Spa, Ballyconneely, Co. Galway and is from Clifden. Hailing from Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, Lucas Serpa Maciel Lisboa is Junior Chef de Partie, Bunnyconnellan Coastal Restaurant, Myrtleville, Co. Cork and Andrew Zeppa is Commis Chef at The Yacht Pub & Upper Deck Restaurant, Clontarf, Co. Dublin.
The mentoring programme is underway and is being supported by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.