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14 Aug 2022

ATU Killybegs culinary students success at Salon Culinaire at IFEX Belfast

Students and lecturers took home nine awards from the prestigious event

ATU Killybegs culinary students success at Salon Culinaire at IFEX Belfast

Students and academic mentors from ATU Donegal, Killybegs, took home a fantastic nine awards from the Salon Culinaire at IFex 2022.

The event is Northern Ireland’s largest and most prestigious chef competition with hundreds of chefs competing during the three days. There was a variety of junior, student, senior competitions and ATU Donegal, Killybegs was proud to receive nine awards across a number of classes. 

Jamie Herrity, a third-year student in Culinary Arts at ATU Donegal, Killybegs, currently working at Thyme Out Café in Letterkenny, was awarded a silver medal in the Edible Art competition. He also earned a bronze medal in cold plated sweet/dessert.

Jamie spent over 100 hours in preparation for these two competitions, refining the technical aspects of his sugar craft.

His mentor, Karl McNulty, Lecturer at ATU Donegal, Killybegs said: “Jamie and I started preparing for this competition in early February. Sugar craft is an art in its own right, and requires a certain level of finesse and perfection, which Jamie really excelled in. I am thrilled for Jamie that he got his just award.” 

In addition to this, Karl himself swooped a gold award in the senior competition of floral sugar craft. As well as mentoring Jamie for the competitions, Karl felt empowered to enter the competition himself, which is testament to his own approach to continuous professional development.  

Aoife O’Donnell from Dungloe in Co Donegal also excelled when on centre stage. She is a second year Culinary Arts student and won a silver award in the Plant Based Chef Challenge.

Aoife truly pushed the boundaries by playing on the senses with her very tasty dish.

She said: “Tim Dewhirst, my academic mentor at ATU Donegal, Killybegs, really forced me to push the boundaries in terms of my menu design. Tim and I spent several weeks doing extra work outside of our normal college hours and I am very grateful to him for his time."

Aoife has proven that hard work really pays off. 

In the Junior Chicken Category, Sean Bovaird, also from Donegal, took silver, and with students from the Higher Certificate in Culinary Arts, Maher Almousa and Baraa Zairabani obtained three certificates of merit and a certificate of participation in the Senior Duck and Senior Lamb category.

Again, their mentors, Eddie McMenanim and Jonathan Sultan, culinary lectures at ATU Donegal, Killybegs worked tirelessly with the students to make sure they were prepared and ready for the competition. 

Nicola Dunnion, Head of Department, congratulated each participant, including those who on this occasion did not obtain awards. S

“This was a tremendous team effort by students, lecturers, technicians and support staff," she said.

"It is fantastic to see our students being brave and putting themselves on stage, and willing to be critiqued on their skills. This can only aid them in their journey in becoming the best chefs they possibly can be.” 

If you would like to become part of this journey, ATU Donegal, Killybegs is currently recruiting for several programmes for individuals currently in employment: 

Certificate in Culinary Skills, fully funded through Springboard+, 2 days per week during the academic term in ATU Donegal, Killybegs, places are limited. 
Higher Certificate in Culinary Arts, fully funded through Springboard+, 2 days per week during the academic term in ATU Donegal, Killybegs, places are limited. 
BA (Hons) in Professional Kitchen Management, one-year programme, part-time, online with limited block delivery in ATU Donegal, Killybegs. Suited to chefs working in industry with a Level 6 or Level 7 award or recognized prior learning will be considered in accordance with the quality assurance procedures at ATU Donegal. 

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