Mungret Community College

Culinary Skills and Barista Programmes

Culinary Skills and Barista Programmes

Culinary Arts and Barista:

This year we had the privilege of working with Limerick Hospitality Education & Training Centre in their Roxborough campus. Our students had the opportunity to work with their highly skilled staff and gained a broader insight into the world of coffee and the culinary arts. We hope that these will be available to our students in the future.

‘My TY Culinary Experience’ by Katie Keogh

I participated in the Junior Chef Culinary Skills taster course. This was a six week course run by Diarmuid O'Callaghan (College of FET, LCETB) each Thursday morning in our Home Economics room. The culinary training included kitchen etiquette, cutting and slicing skills, cooking, baking culminating in the preparation of several recipes such as soup, bread rolls, lasagna, curry, naan bread, cupcakes, cookies and tiramisu. Following the completion of this course I was selected to represent Mungret Community College in the Junior Shannon Region Junior Chef of the year qualifiers, competing against ten other schools. This consisted of three days in the Hospitality Campus in Roxboro creating, preparing, cooking and presenting a main course and a dessert of our choice. I was one of four that qualified for the Shannon Region Junior Chef of the Year 2024 Competition. My main course consisted of ‘‘Honey Garlic Chicken Breast’ and my dessert was a ‘Chocolate Lava Cake’.

The Shannon Junior Chef of the Year took place in ‘The Strand Hotel’ on the 16th of April, 2024 and was a live streamed event. The preparation began a month prior to the day of the final in the Hospitality Campus. We devised our menus, received expert advice from our chef mentors, Diarmuid O'Callaghan and Tom Flavin and practised our dishes numerous times in the weeks leading up to the competition. We also had a media day. This consisted of interviews, photoshoots and promos for the live event both inside and outside of the kitchen. On the day of the final we arrived at the Strand Hotel at 8am to prepare for the competition to start at 9:30am. We had a time limit of two and a half hours to prepare, cook and plate up four main courses and desserts for the expert judges, Chef Wade Murphy (1826 Adare), Micheline Corr (The Firm), John Gavin (Owner of the Shannon Springs Hotel), Stefan Matz (Group Executive Chef, iNua Collection), President Alan Fitzmaurice (Panel of Chefs Ireland) and Dr. Loic Guyon (Honorary Consul of France in Limerick). My main course was a Seared Loin of Lamb, Millionaire Potato, Jerusalem Artichoke Pureé, Wilted Spinach, Ballyhoura Mushroom Tart and Jus. I made a Chocolate Lava Cake with freshly made Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream for my dessert. I found this an amazing opportunity for me in Transition Year and a once in a lifetime experience. I learned lots of practical tips and got lots of advice from my mentors, for which I am very grateful and have no doubt will stand to me for years to come.

Following on from this competition my Home Economics teacher encouraged me to enter the 'All Island Healthy Home Chef of the Year Competition'. This is a competition open to all secondary schools in the north and south of Ireland. The all-island event was an opportunity for young people to create tasty, nutritious, and affordable meals at home. This competition involved completing a detailed application form describing the components of a healthy main course dish I could make at home and I also had to upload images of my dish. Entries were submitted for consideration and from hundreds of applications received, the top 16 were selected to compete in a final. I was lucky to be chosen as one of the final 16. All the finalists were then invited to the ATU St. Angela’s campus on the 1st of May, 2024, accompanied by their Home Economics teacher and family members, to recreate their dishes before a panel of judges including award winning chef and TV presenter, Neven Maguire.

Katie in ATU St.Angelas Kitchen.jpg

On the day of the competition I arrived at St. Angela's at 9:30am to prepare for the competition. Neven welcomed all the finalists and their teachers and family members individually on the day, putting us all at ease before we turned up the heat in the kitchen! The competition started at 11:00am and over the course of the next hour and a half we had to prepare, cook and plate up our main course. My dish consisted of a Seared Loin of Limerick Lamb, Millionaire Potato, Salsify Pureé, Wilted Spinach, Wild Mushroom Tart and a Red Wine Sauce. I was kindly sponsored by both the College of FET and the Urban Co-Op Limerick. The expert judges on the day were Chef Nevin Maguire, Derek Gallagher (Head of Dunnes Stores Simply Better), Dr Elaine Mooney (Director of the National Centre of Excellence for Home Economics at ATU St Angelas) and Dr Amanda Mc Cloat (ATU St. Angela’s College President). I wasn’t a winner on this occasion but am delighted to have made the final 16 and proud of my achievement in getting this far and representing my school. I received a beautiful commemorative engraved medal, an apron and a signed copy of Neven Maguire's cookbook for reaching the final. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this fantastic experience from seeing the third level institution, cooking my chosen main course in the ATU St. Angela’s kitchen, seeing the variety of dishes presented by other finalists and their attention to detail in doing so to meeting the panel of judges, including the very talented and innovative chef Neven Maguire.

Katie and Neven Maguire.jpg

For me, without doubt the opportunities I received in advancing my culinary skills in Transition Year have been one of the highlights of Transition Year for me. I look forward to studying Home Economics for my Leaving Cert and hopefully getting to take part in more competitions in the future!

Barista course: this took place in the Roxborough Campus. Students studied the various blends and origins of coffee. The students worked closely with highly skilled Baristas who instructed them through the process of making all types of coffee. This was a great hands-on experience for the students and opened their eyes to the world of coffee and also the possibilities in the world of work. This course is accredited by City and Guilds and awarded to the students once they have met the criteria.

Dromdarrig, Mungret, Co. Limerick, V94ND77.
061 308 880
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