The Malton’s John O’Connor Reaches Final Five of Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year 2012 Competition

The Malton’s John O’Connor Reaches Final Five of Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year 2012 Competition

The excitement is building at The Malton, as Chef John O’Connor prepares to take part in the final of the Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year 2012 later this month.

John, from Tralee, is one of five young finalists, whittled down from almost 50 applicants; that are vying for the coveted title that could change his culinary career. John and the other young chefs, aged between 18 and 26, are the final five to be chosen from the countrywide competition, now in its 22nd year. In association with Failte Ireland, the Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year competition aims to search for Ireland’s Young Food Heroes that can contribute to developing Irish cooking and promoting it at home and abroad. The first stage was an online application, after which participants had to submit a recipe that reflected their own take on Irish cooking. Those who advanced were then interviewed before the finalists were selected.

On Tuesday 30th October, John joined the other finalists in the 2012 Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year competition in Dublin’s, Cooks Academy on South William Street, where invited guests and press watched them create taster dishes that celebrated Samhain (Ireland’s Harvest festival) by using local and seasonal foods. Each dish highlighted one producer from the finalists’ local area with all the main ingredients being sourced within a 50 mile radius of where they’re based. John cooked delicious Fillet of Wild Brill, Maharees Lobster and Crab Meat Tortilloni, Sea Spaghetti, Pea Puree and Lobster Broth, cooked en papillotte. Along with being made with ingredients from unique and local producers, John’s dish carried his own personal style to the table.

John, who works as Demi Chef de Partie under the guidance of Executive Chef, John O’ Leary at The Malton said “Growing up in North Kerry an area surrounding by wonderful farmland and seasonal produce had an important impact on my decision to pursue a career in Irish Cooking. At The Malton I have been given the opportunity to display my talent, enthusiasm and passion for food as it is important for me to work in a kitchen with a strong commitment to Irish food. Working alongside Executive Chef, John O’ Leary has given me the opportunity to gain experience in modern Irish cooking and learn from his international experience.”

John added “As a young Chef growing up in Ireland it is wonderful that the food and cooking of Ireland is steeped in history and heritage. I believe in using classic ingredients and traditional Irish recipes to embrace home cooking and giving it a modern twist. In representing modern Irish cooking I consider it important to embrace the ingredients we are known for and changing the way we think about them, so we can create modern Irish Cuisine. The Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year 2012 competition gives me this opportunity, and I’m very excited about the upcoming final later this month.”

The Grand Final will take place on November 25th and the winner will be revealed at an exclusive mystery event. One of the judges for the final is Dublin-born guest chef Trevor Moran, Sous Chef at Restaurant Noma, Copenhagen that holds two Michelin stars and was voted best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine for three years running (2010, 2011, 2012).The lucky Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year will win an all-expenses paid stage in a top international restaurant, amongst other exciting opportunities that are sure to fast track their culinary career.

Executive Chef, John O’ Leary wishes John every success in the upcoming final “Talent, enthusiasm and passion for Irish food are all on the menu for this year’s competition which aims to illustrate that good Irish food can come from any gastronomic background – and John has these ingredients in bucket loads! All of us here at The Malton are routing for John, and are positive he will do himself, and indeed Kerry proud.”

The five finalists in the Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year 2012 are John O’Connor, The Malton, Killarney; Ciaran Elliott, Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, Dublin; Jack O’Keeffe, Springfort Hall, Mallow; Keelan Higgs, Locks Brasserie, Dublin; and Mark Moriarty, The Greenhouse, Dublin.

For more information on the competition visit and to learn more about The Malton’s dining experiences visit


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