20 May 2022

Kildare chef wins top Aramark prize for plant-friendly menu

Well done, Megan!

Kildare chef wins top Aramark prize for plant-friendly menu

Chef Megan Delaney from Maynooth

Maynooth chef Megan Delaney has been named the winner of Aramark’s Chef of the Year 2021, making an impression on the judges with her take on a plant forward menu.

In total, seven of the catering service provider's finest chefs competed against each other in a thrilling live cook off. They included Stephen Power, Irish Prison Services Training Centre; Megan Delaney, SAP Dublin; Danko Loncar, Avoca Monkstown; Sinead Connolly, Avoca Rathcoole; Andy Byas, JP Morgan and Jeff Murphy from Apple, Cork.

Competitors were required to prepare, cook, and present two portions of a main course dish.

Each dish had to be at least 75% plant based with a focus on using Irish seasonal fruits and vegetables. Each competitor was also required to present two portions of a hot dessert course with Fairtrade chocolate as the key ingredient.

Megan wowed the judging panel, which included Ross Lewis, Michelin-starred chef from Chapter One Restaurant, with a main dish of tempura of stuffed courgette flower, seared monkfish, curried pumpkin velouté and cauliflower rice, followed by a white chocolate and raspberry fondant. 

The highly competitive competition saw second place awarded to Andy Byas, while Stephen Power was highly commended for his exceptional hygiene standards.

Derek Reilly, Culinary Director for Aramark: “At Aramark we pride ourselves with recognising and rewarding exceptional culinary talent. After a challenging year and a half, it was great to see our talented chefs back in the kitchen showcasing their culinary skills. This year our finalists were asked to demonstrate their innovation, inspiration, and skills, while truly champion areas including sustainability, provenance, and seasonality. We are extremely proud of each and every one of our finalists who surpassed all expectations with their exceptional cooking.”

Shane Flynn, Managing Director for Aramark Food Services, Facilities Management & Avoca, Ireland said, “We are passionate about keeping the customer at the heart of everything we do, and that includes giving our guests choices to lower their impact on climate change through the food they eat. We are focused on creating locally sourced, seasonal, and sustainable menus, with a close to zero food waste approach. With the help of our teams and partners, we’re committed to creating and serving healthy, delicious meals.”

Following the announcement, Megan said: “I feel very honoured to have won the title of Aramark Chef of the Year title. Congratulations to all the other finalists and a very big thank you to Derek Reilly and the Aramark team for coordinating such a well organised, streamlined, and exciting competition. It’s great to be back in the kitchen and competing at such a high level.”

Following her win, Megan will now go on to compete in Aramark’s European Chef’s Cup in Prague. The Aramark Ireland Chef of the Year event was supported by Unilever Food Solutions and Hugh Jordan.

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