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Jack O’Keeffe, a second year student of the Bachelor of Business in Culinary Arts Degree in the Department of Tourism & Hospitality at Cork Institute of Technology, was the winner of the prestigious Knorr Young Chef of the Year title.
As part of his prize, he and his mentor, Chef John Hartnett, travelled to Barcelona for a cooking master class in Catalan cookery organised by 'A Taste of Spain' - the first boutique agency in Spain to specialise in designing and organising food and wine trips and activities for culinary professionals and international foodies.
They first went to La Boqueria market at Las Ramblas where they spent the morning browsing the market and selecting ingredients for a Catalan Cookery masterclass. They then went on to the kitchen for the afternoon to prepare the meal in a masterclass, with cooking teacher Juame Brichs, which was followed by their enjoyment of the meal they prepared.
On the following day, Jack went to the esteemed El Cellar de Can Roca in Girona, which is owned by the three Rocha Brothers who achieved 3 Michelin Star status in 2009, a level of quality not currently achieved in Ireland. There, he dined from the ‘Menu Festival’ for over 4 hours, experiencing amazing food and service.
Jack, who is 19 and from Doneraile in Co Cork, said: “This has been a fantastic experience. To get to learn about Catalan culture and food and to eat in a world class restaurant has inspired me even more to attain my professional goals in the culinary field”.
The Department of Tourism and Hospitality at CIT encompasses the areas of Culinary Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Bar Management. It has over 750 students across these disciplines and is located in a modern purpose-built building on CIT’s Bishopstown Campus.
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