Euro Toques Young Chef of the Year 2011

EuroToques Young Chef of the Year 2011Ireland's Culinary Elite Salute A Rising Star

The Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year competition has been a highlight of Ireland’s pre-Christmas culinary season for 21 years, and attending the finalists’ lunch and announcement of the winner is always a treat.

No less so this time around, when a beautiful meal was cooked by the finalists and served in the atmospheric surroundings of the Cellar Restaurant at Dublin’s Merrion Hotel in November, and attended by many great representatives of the best of Irish cooking - including Myrtle Allen of Ballymaloe House, who founded Euro-Toques Ireland in 1986 following the foundation of the parent organisation in Brussels.

Gearoid Lynch, Myrtle Allen, Kamil Dubanik, Seamus CommonsEstablished as a lobby group addressing the concerns of Europe’s top chefs and cooks about food quality and the future of food, and as a network of like-minded chefs, it was a visionary movement from the outset and has proved an increasingly important guardian of European culinary heritage.

The Irish branch is very active, with almost 200 members who meet regularly, campaign on vital food issues and run events - of which the annual Euro-Toques Food Awards and the Young Chef of the Year competition are the among highlights.

The Young Chef of the Year competition is rigorously run, with each participant nominated by a senior chef who will commit to mentoring them for the competition. The daunting series of hurdles to overcome includes a written submission (essay) on a given topic, an interview and, for the finalists, a practical skills’ test in a member kitchen. Then finally – in what must be a nerve-wracking experience while they await the judges’ verdict - the participants cook a presentation lunch for invited guests.

Kamil Dubanik - Euro-Toques Ireland Young Chef of the Year 201123-year old Kamil Dubanik, was declared the winner of the title 2011 Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year after fighting off stiff competition from five other finalists. This is the second year running that the winner has come from Knockranny House Hotel in Westport, Co Mayo, and the third consecutive year that chefs mentored by the hotel’s Head Chef, Seamus Commons, have reached the competition final... There must be something in the air in Co Mayo – and there is certainly something in the water, as turbot farmed on Achill Island was one of the ingredients the young chefs had to use in the dishes they created for their Skills Test.

Kamil’s journey to this extremely prestigious culinary award is remarkable. Originally from Poland, he has been in the kitchen only three years, starting out as kitchen porter at Knockranny House Hotel. Since then he has worked his way up to his current position of Demi-Chef de Partie, and recently completed an Advanced Certificate in Professional Cookery at GMIT.

He will relish the top prize for the 2011 Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year -an all-expenses paid stage at London's favourite restaurant, The Ivy, under Executive Chef Gary Lee, plus a one week stage at the award winning Michelin star Chapter One Restaurant in Dublin under the tutelage of Euro-toques head chef Ross Lewis.

Kamil Dubanik competed for this honour along with his fellow finalists - Aisling Gallagher (24) from Ballynahinch Castle, Galway; Kyle Greer (24) from Number 27 Restaurant Belfast; Micheal Harley (22) from Rathmullan House, Co. Donegal; David Magaeen (24) from Restaurant Victoria Belfast; and Margaret Roche (23) from The Cellar at The Merrion Hotel Dublin.

The Euro-toques Young Chef competition emphasises training and development, with the role of the mentor being central to the process. Among the overall prizes, each of the finalists won a unique food experience with sponsors BIM and Failte Ireland:

BIM will host a one day practical on-site introduction to the complex world of the seafood industry, visiting a seafood facility and discussing how fish is caught or harvested, bought, and sold, and what this all means to a chef; it includes meetings with key industry personnel, processors and industry chefs.

Failte Ireland will host a Food Tourism road trip - an educational 4 day food focused road trip taking in ‘hands-on’ cooking time in top professional kitchens, visits to artisan food producers; tastings, demos, unique meal experiences and overnight stays with exemplary Irish food and hospitality operators.

Turf smoked WoodcockThe awards lunch was an impressive affair, with each finalist showcasing local seasonal produce as much as displaying their cooking skills. Imaginative seasonal dishes presented to guests included a delicious Jerusalem artichoke soup, made by Micheal Harley of Rathmullan House, Co Donegal (renowned for the organic walled gardens); an unusual dish of Turf smoked Woodcock, cooked by Aisling Gallagher from Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, Co Galway (our Hotel of the Year, and renowned for country sports, including shooting in season); and Kamil’s own dish of Loin of Wild Fallow Venison (see below).

2011 Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year - THE WINNER’S RECIPES:

Note: These recipes illustrate the level of expertise demonstrated by the participants; they may be quite demanding to make in domestic kitchens as each dish is composed of a number of elements and, in some cases, special ingredients or equipment may be called for. However, the dishes may be simplified or used as a source of inspiration by the home cooks, who may find some elements especially appealing.

Kamil Dubanik’s Culinary Skills Test Dish: Roast Troncon of Achill Island Turbot, Dublin Bay Prawn Tortellini, Jerusalem Artichoke, Mushroom, Cheek, Liver, Dublin Bay Prawn, Lovage Roast Troncon of Achill Island Turbot, Dublin Bay Prawn Tortellini, Jerusalem Artichoke, Mushroom, Cheek, Liver, Dublin Bay Prawn, Lovage (slightly amended from the original recipe submitted)

Achill Island Turbot


Achill island turbot 1-1.5 kg (whole fish)
Salt to taste
5ml oil


Cut 150g steaks through the bone of the whole turbot, going across the fish. Ensure the roe is removed.

Season the fish and seal the turbot on a preheated pan for 2 minutes on either side.

Place in a roasting dish and put in a pre-heated oven 175ºC. Cook for 4 minutes on one side, turn the fish and cook for a further 4 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave to rest for two minutes.

Remove the skin and the fin from the cooked turbot.

Langoustine Tortellini

Ingredients for stuffing:

4 langoustines (Dublin Bay prawns), shelled & diced
2g basil
1 tomato petal, skinned & diced
Salt, pepper
Ingredients for pasta:
125 g grade 00 flour
2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
10 ml olive oil


Sift the flour and salt into the thermo mix. Add 2 egg yolks, 1 whole egg, pinch of salt and half tbsp of olive oil. Blitz altogether.

Remove the dough from the thermo mix and knead well with both hands until firm, smooth and silky.

Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge. Leave to rest for 30-45 minutes.

In a bowl, mix the langoustine with the shredded basil and tomato. Season to taste.

Roll out the pasta with a pasta machine, cut the pasta into discs. Place some of the mix in the centre of the pasta disc, egg wash the pasta and fold it over. Bring the 2 corners together and pinch together.

Blanch in boiling salted water for 1 minute and refresh in ice water.

Keep covered in fridge until ready to use.

Jerusalem Artichoke Purée


200g Jerusalem artichokes (peeled & finely chopped)
15g butter
10ml water
20ml fresh cream
Salt to taste
1tsp oil


Heat the oil in the saucepan. Put the artichokes in the hot pan and sweat them down for 2-3 minutes. Add the butter and water. Cover the artichokes with a cartouche and cook until soft.

Once soft, add the cream and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and blitz well with a hand gun. Season with salt. Pass the purée through a fine sieve. Set aside for assembly.

Pickled Mushrooms

Ingredients for pickling liquid:

25ml water
25g sugar
50ml rice vinegar
Pinch fennel seeds
1 sprig tarragon


Toast the fennel seeds in a hot pan. Add water, sugar & rice vinegar and bring it to the boil. Remove from the heat. Chill the liquid slightly and add the tarragon leave to infuse for an hour. Pass through a fine sieve and set aside.

Ingredients for mushrooms:

30g mushrooms
100ml pickling liquid


Place mushrooms in the vac pack bag and pour in the pickling liquid. Close the bag in the vac pack machine.

Leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Remove the mushrooms from the liquid and set aside for assembly.

Lovage Powder


1 bunch lovage
80ml rapeseed oil
25g tapioca maltodextrin


Dry out lovage in a dehydrator. Blitz to a powder in a food processor. Reserve two spoons of blitzed dried lovage. Place the rest in thermo mixer, add the oil. Put the lovage oil in a pot and warm at 60°c for an hour.

Strain the oil through a cloth. Place in food processor with tapioca maltodextrin and on a medium speed pour in flavoured oil.

Set powder aside for assembly.

Langoustine Cream


25g butter
15g carrot (finely chopped)
15g onion (finely chopped)
15g fennel (chopped)
5g fennel seeds
5g coriander Seeds
1 sprig thyme
100g prawn shells
15ml brandy
15g tomato purée
250ml fish stock
50ml fresh cream


Melt the half of butter in a deep pan, add fennel, onion, carrot, thyme and cook to a light brown colour.

Place prawn shells on gastronome tray and roast in preheated oven to 175-180ºC for 30-45 minutes.

Mix them with vegetables and add brandy and Flambé.

Next add tomato purée. Cook it out for few minutes.

Add white wine and fish stock. Bring stock to the boil, skim, season lightly and simmer gently for 45 minutes.

Blitz everything together with a hand processor and pass stock through a fine sieve.

Reduce by half. Add cream, bring to a boil and simmer for a while.

Set aside.

Assemble as illustrated.

The winner, Kamil Dubanik’s dish for the 2011 Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year Presentation Lunch, held at The Merrion Hotel Dublin
Monday 28th of November;

Loin of Wild Fallow Venison with Coco Roll, Quince Paste, Cabbage wrap, Chestnut Fondant & Gin JusLoin of Wild Fallow Venison with Coco Roll, Quince Paste, Cabbage wrap, Chestnut Fondant & Gin Jus

Matching Wine, from Findlaters: 2008 Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva



120g loin venison per portion
1 tbsp oil
1 sprig rosemary
2 juniper berries (cracked)


Place venison, cracked juniper berries, rosemary in a bag and leave over night. Remove from the bag and season. Seal off the venison in a hot pan until golden brown and place in pre heated oven for 8 minutes (medium).

Remove from the oven and cover with tin foil.

Allow to rest for 3 minutes

Quince Purée
2 quince (peeled, core removed & chopped)
10g sugar
1 stick cinnamon
¼ vanilla pod
20ml water


Place the quince, water, cinnamon, vanilla and the sugar in a pot and cover with a lid. Cook slowly on a low heat until soft. Place the cooked quince and liquid in a blender and blitz until smooth. Set aside.

Coco Sausage Roll


200g fresh puff pastry
250g venison mince
1 sprig thyme (chopped)
50g fatty smoked bacon (minced)
1 pear (diced)
1 pinch ground juniper
1 shallot (finely chopped)
1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
60g 85% chocolate (cut fine)
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp oil


In a pan, sweat the shallot, garlic, thyme, juniper for 2-3 minutes. Leave to cool. Place the venison and smoked bacon mince in a mixing bowl, add the shallot mixture, pear and the shaved chocolate. Mix well.

Fry some of the mix to check for seasoning. Place the venison mixture in a piping bag. Pipe the mix onto the puff pastry 2 cm cylinders.

Egg Wash the edges on the pastry. Fold over and seal. Press the edges with a fork and brush with egg wash. Place onto a greased baking sheet.

Bake in a pre heated oven 210°c for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Cut into 3 inch/7.5 cm lengths for serving.

Set to one side.

Cabbage Ball


½ head cabbage (washed & finely chopped)
1 shallot (chopped)
4 outer leaves from cabbage (pre blanched)
20g smoked bacon
1tsp truffle oil


In a warm pot, melt the butter until lightly foaming. Add the shallot and thyme. Sweat until soft but with no colour. Add the cabbage and cook until tender. Season With salt and add the truffle oil.

Form into a ball shape and wrap in the outer leaves. Wrap the ball in cling film. Set aside.

When heating them up place them in boiling water for 3 minutes.

Remove the cling film and place on the plate.

Potato, Smoked Bacon & Chestnut Fondant


2 large baking potatoes (peeled)
50g peeled chestnuts
1 banana shallot
40g smoked bacon (diced)
1 sprig thyme
10g butter
20ml cream
250g duck fat


Sweat off thyme, smoked bacon and shallot in butter with no colour. Add the chestnuts and the cream. Bring to simmer and purée in a food processor until smooth. Place in a disposable piping bag and set aside.

Cut the potato into rings using a 2 inch/5cm diameter scone cutter. Remove the centre of the fondant with a melon baller. Seal on all sides until golden in a hot pan.

Confit the potato in duck fat with some thyme and garlic and salt.

When ¾ cooked, remove from the duck fat. Pipe the chestnut filling into hole in centre and finish cooking in the oven.

Gin Jus


100 ml gin
1 shallot
1 tsp sugar
¼ orange zest
2juniper berries (cracked)
1 sprig thyme
50 ml game stock


Sweat the shallot, juniper berries and thyme. Add orange zest and sugar. Caramelise. Add the gin and burn off the alcohol. Add the game jus and reduce to sauce consistency. Season to taste.

Assemble as illustrated.

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