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Culinary Showcase Offers Solutions to Ireland’s Hospitality Staff Crisis

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Apprentices from across Ireland converged at The Great Southern Hotel to compete in the National Commis Chef Apprenticeship Competition on Wednesday.

Organised by the Kerry Education and Training Board (ETB) in partnership with the Irish Hotel Federation and other industry stakeholders, this event not only displayed exceptional culinary skills but also shed light on a crucial solution to Ireland's ongoing hospitality staff crisis.

The participating apprentices represent a diverse cross-section of emerging talent from Kerry ETB, Cork ETB, Tipperary ETB, Limerick and Clare ETB, Kilkenny and Carlow ETB, Kildare and Wicklow ETB, Cavan & Monaghan ETB, Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim ETB, City of Dublin ETB and promises to showcase a melting pot of creativity and passion

Beyond the competition, the event offered a unique opportunity for attendees to gain valuable insights into the world of apprenticeship.

Live cookery and display competitions were complemented by inspiring talks from prominent figures in the culinary world, aiming to address the current challenges faced by the hospitality sector.

Among the highlights were guest speakers Mike Tweedie, Head Chef of the Oak Room, and Eddie Attwell, Head Chef of Eccles Hotel Glengarriff. Tweedie and Attwell shared first-hand how the Commis Chef Apprenticeship played a pivotal role in growing their teams, offering a tangible success story for businesses considering similar initiatives.

A panel discussion featured culinary leaders John Drummond, Brendan Byrne, Emer Corridan, and Odhran Lucey underscored the importance of mentoring and training the next generation of chefs. Their insights  contributed to the broader conversation about the role apprenticeships play in ensuring the future success of the hospitality industry.

Mallory Higgins, National Apprenticeship Programme Coordinator who led the event, emphasised its significance in addressing the current hospitality staff crisis in Ireland:
She said: "The Commis Chef Apprenticeship Showcase is not just a competition; it's a celebration of the industry's upcoming talent and a practical solution to the staffing challenges faced by the hospitality sector in Ireland. By highlighting success stories like Mike Tweedie and Eddie Attwell, we aim to inspire more businesses to invest in apprenticeships and grow their own skilled teams."

Mike Tweedie, Head Chef of the Oak Room, added: "The apprenticeship programme gives the apprentice the foundations they need and what we do in the restaurant is reinforce what they learned in college. I have two great chefs from the apprenticeship programme already and I have just taken on a third. One day I hope they are better than me and  have their own Michelin star, that means I have done my job, and it is a great thing for me to watch personally.”

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30 years of Innisfallen Island MassThe annual special concelebrated Mass on Innisfallen Island takes place next week.

Next Friday (June 21), members of the public are invited to attend the Mass taking place at 6.30pm. Now in its 30th year, the Mass was originally an idea by […]

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Next Friday (June 21), members of the public are invited to attend the Mass taking place at 6.30pm.

Now in its 30th year, the Mass was originally an idea by Geoffrey O’Donoghue who sadly died four years after it began.

“There was an Augustinian Monastery on Innisfallen Island and the people, including priests and monks and they say Brian Boro, went out there to study. The lake, Lough Lein is called ‘The Lake of Learning’,” said his wife Mary who carries on the tradition in his memory.

“My husband Geoffrey was a descendent of the O’Donoghues and he wanted to have Mass on the island. The O’Donoghues built Ross Castle and owned the lands and the lake surrounding it which was later donated by John McShane to the people of Killarney. He [Geoffrey] asked one of the friars and one day he got a call from the OPW that there would be a plaque unveiled to John McShane and they asked if the Mass could coincide with it. It was attended by Sr Pauline, John McShane’s daughter.”

She added that all the public are welcome to attend. Boats, which will have a nominal fee to cover their costs, will be carrying passengers out from 4pm onwards.

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Photo of “hidden gem” wins Camera Club’s latest competition

A photograph of one of Killarney’s hidden beauty spots was deemed the winner of Killarney Camera Club’s most recent competition. Th standard was high throughout all categories but in the […]

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A photograph of one of Killarney’s hidden beauty spots was deemed the winner of Killarney Camera Club’s most recent competition.

Th standard was high throughout all categories but in the Novice category, Iryna Halaieva’s photograph of O’Sullivan’s Cascade was deemed the winner.

“A waterfall is my favourite waterbody and long exposure is my favourite photographic technique,” she said. “I do my best to have as many waterfalls as possible in my photo collection. I heard a lot about O’Sullivan’s Cascade and wanted to visit that hidden gem of Kerry. So, shortly before our club competition I went with a friend to Tomies Wood to photograph it. It was a dream come true for me.”

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