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Winners of Young Chef Young Waiter Awards revealed at Titanic Belfast event
The two winners will represent Ireland at the World final in Monaco in November
 Fri 22nd September 2023

Pictured at the final of the Young Chef Young Waiter Ireland Awards 2023 at Titanic Belfast are Francesca Motta, winner of the Young Chef award and Stiofán Feeney, winner of the Young Chef award. They are joined by Robert Lee Mulcahy, Chairman YCYW Ireland and Monaco and Judith Owens MBE, Chief Executive of Titanic Belfast.

Galway native Stiofán Feeney, who is currently working at Stage Italy in Rome, beat off stiff competition to win the Young Chef award and Francesca Motta, who works at Chapter One in Dublin, won the Young Waiter award. Both will now go on to compete at the world finals in Monaco in November 2023 to celebrate culinary professionals and hospitality excellence.

Runner-Up in the Young Chef Category, Ian Harford is currently working at the Red Bank Restaurant, Carrick on Shannon, Co. Leitrim. Runner-Up in the Young Waiter Category, Aoife Brennan is a Food and Beverage assistant at Ballyfin Demesne, Co. Laois. In her own words “The favourite part of my job, apart from serving our guests, is meeting and chatting with people from all over the globe”.

In the final of the competition, which was held at Titanic Belfast this week, a host of professional young waiters and chefs took part in a comprehensive judging day with a number of culinary challenges and serving challenges. Online judges included Chef Richard Corrigan and chef-proprietor Anna Haugh of Myrtle London, while at the live final Group Executive Chef at Harcourt hotel Collection Gordon Smyth, Noel McMeel of Ebrington Hotel, and Adrian McNally, Titanic Hotel Belfast, part of the Harcourt Hotel Collection, were joined by alongside other well-known advocates for new talent.

Pictured: Young Chef Young Waiter finalists Charlie Bullick, Morgan Dudley, Stiofán Feeney, Ian Harford, Francesca Motta, Hugh Graham, Aoife Brennan and Conor Barry.

Those vying to be crowned Young Chef were given 3.5 hours to create a three-course meal whilst the Young Waiter candidates had to select pairing wines for each course and undertake a number of challenging scenario-based situations before taking part in an interview with the judges.

Industry guests from across the tourism and hospitality industry, including Tourism Northern Ireland, Belfast Met, Hospitality and Tourism (HATS) Network and Harcourt Developments, were invited to attend the final part of the competition for an intimate lunch whilst the judges observed for the final part of the challenge.

Pictured: Chef Gordon Smyth (Redcastle Hotel), Clement Gaffney (Harcourt Developments), Francesca Motta (winner of Young Waiter), Lisa Marshall (Director of Sales and Marketing at Harcourt Developments) and Stiofán Feeney (winner of Young Chef Award), at Titanic Hotel Belfast

Robert Mulcahy, founder of Young Chef Young Waiter in Ireland and Monaco commented, “The YCYW competition highlights hospitality, culinary arts and promotes Ireland’s colleges, as training grounds for the next generation of hospitality leaders. YCYW is honoured to have industry ‘heroes’ as judges once again this year, with over 100 years’ experience between them, to select the individuals who will now go forward to represent Ireland in Monaco, at the World Final on 23-24th November."

Judith Owens MBE, Chief Executive of Titanic Belfast commented: “The Young Chef Young Waiter competition is a fantastic initiative that showcases the up-and-coming stars of those working in hospitality and provides a very important platform to encourage more young talent to pursue a career in the industry.”

“The response to this year’s event has been incredible and we at Titanic Belfast were delighted to give participants the chance to use our kitchen and Titanic Suite to demonstrate their skills and culinary flair to the judges and invited guests. Congratulations to Stiofán Feeney and Francesca Motta and I wish you both the very best at the world final.”

Judge, Chef Richard Corrigan added: “This competition celebrates excellence and promotes culinary arts and hospitality as a career of choice. The judges were very impressed at the extremely high calibre of talent of all of our finalists and each one of them should be very proud of themselves. I look forward to following the careers of our winners, and indeed our fantastic group of finalists, in the years ahead as I am confident they will all have very bright futures.”

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