Secondary school students from across Munster and Leinster came to Kerry yesterday to cook in the IT Tralee state of the art kitchens for the 2017/2018 Flogas Ireland and Fáilte Ireland supported Apprentice Chef Finale.

Earlier this year, each finalist was assigned an experienced chef to provide mentoring to help them design and create a unique signature dish using locally sourced ingredients. Input from nutritional therapist, Susie Cox, ensured each dish had a “Good Mood Food” influence. Dishes including mussels with chorizo, venison sliders and a black sole roulade were served to a panel of discerning judges who were overwhelmed by the exceptional standard.

However, it was a dish of pan seared Skeaghanore duck with a sweet orange glaze that earned Natalia Leane from Killarney Community College the 2017/2018 Supreme Apprentice Chef title. Kerry also took second place thanks to a dark chocolate mousse with raspberry sorbet, honeycomb shards, shortbread crumb and filled profiteroles by Isabelle Lynch of Mercy Mountawk, Tralee.

As the winner, transition year student Natalia, who celebrates her 17th birthday tomorrow today, walked away with a prize package that included a set of professional knives from McDonnells, €1000 equipment for her school, a year’s subscription to Easyfood Magazine and a professional food styling session at Easyfood Magazine HQ this summer. She was also presented with a specially commissioned Supreme Apprentice Chef perpetual trophy.