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Natalia’s culinary skills are world class

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By Michelle Crean  

The heat was on but that didn't deter one culinary student from success as local girl Natalia Leane has made it through to the World Skills Olympics in Shanghai later this year.

Natalia from Killarney, a Second Year culinary student at MTU Kerry Campus, secured gold at the National Cookery Skills Competition for World Skills Ireland which took place from Wednesday to Friday last in the Dundalk Institute of Technology (DKIT).

Natalia's marks were combined after three days of intense competition.

She will join the best of Ireland’s talent and winners from over 20 other skills areas who will have the opportunity to represent Ireland at the World Skills Olympics in Shanghai.

Natalia reached the finals after coming through the preliminary round in January. She began practicing for the competition in October putting in the hours after college with her Chef Lecturer Dan Browne as well as working in the exceptional restaurant ‘Kingdom 1795’ in Killorglin where she received lots of support and guidance.

Over three days Natalia had to complete five competitive modules. These examined very specific culinary skills such as pasta making, game butchery and cooking, soups and canapes, classical risotto, a mystery basket and a dessert module to include a handmade puff pastry. Overall, she completed over 15 hours of competition work. Each day she worked to specific service times for each module, delivering the food under strict conditions.

“Her practice and planning were essential here in delivering the dishes on time," Chef Dan Browne said.

"All dishes required a high standard of skill to produce and it became even harder when multitasking four of these dishes at once as in day two. She was working entirely on her own over the three days preparing and cooking all dishes from start to finish. We are very proud of Natalia’s achievement at this competition, it provided an opportunity for Ireland’s most talented student chefs from colleges all across the country to go head-to-head in this tightly fought contest.”

Head of Section at the Hotel, Culinary and Tourism Department at MTU Kerry TJ O'Connor added that Natalia’s great success is a testament to her dedication, skill and hard work.

"Congratulations also to Chef Dan Browne who ensured Natalia was well prepared for the challenges of the event and was ready to produce her best cooking in the heat of competition. A fantastic achievement for them both. It is such an honour for anyone to win on a national stage but now to go and represent your country in front of the rest of the world.”

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Roger and Brendan really into the SWING of things

A Killarney man who has been living in the US for over 30 years has maintained a very strong connection with his hometown through a novel golfing tournament which involves […]

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A Killarney man who has been living in the US for over 30 years has maintained a very strong connection with his hometown through a novel golfing tournament which involves a regular challenge against local players.

Roger O’Sullivan, originally from Loreto Road and a member of the Rainier Golf and Country Club in Seattle, has linked up with another Killarney man, Brendan Keogh of SWING Golf, on several occasions to bring a group of golfers from the Seattle club to play a number of Kerry and Irish courses.

They compete for the Cider Cup which is their own unique take on the Ryder Cup.

In 2010 Roger led a group of 18 golfers from the US to play in Ireland and they repeated the journey and the adventure again in 2012, 2014 and 2017.

They had another trip planned in 2020 but that was cancelled due to Covid but they returned again in 2022 and a group of 44 golfers were back in Killarney in recent weeks to test their skills on the Kerry courses and against local players.

“Since we first started doing this in 2010 we have had 102 different golfers travel from Seattle,” Roger explained.
“I met Brendan Keogh on one of my visits home and he travelled to Seattle, at my request, and organised sponsorship at my golf club.

“Since then our trips have been expertly organised by SWING Golf who book us preferential tee-times, set up the schedule and coordinate our bus drivers. We have never had an issue or anything to worry about. Being friendly with Maurice O’Donoghue, we have always stayed at Scott’s Hotel,” he added.

The US visitors take on local players when in Killarney and this year there was 100 golfers playing on the Killeen course on the first day of their visit.

“The support of the locals has been incredible and I wouldn’t do this without them,” said Roger.
“There have been numerous friendships made over the last 14 years. We have supported a local charity on every trip and for the last two it has been the palliative care unit at University Hospital Kerry. This year we raised €5,100,” he said.

A former student at St Brendan’s College, Roger’s parents were Tony and Juliette O’Sullivan and his father was the head chef in the Gleneagle Hotel for over 20 years before the family purchased Danesfort Lodge at Woodlawn Cross on the Muckross Road.

Roger has been married for 20 years to Amy from Tampa, Florida and they have one daughter, Gracie.
Brendan Keogh joined SWING in the early days of its operation as financial operations manager, working alongside the late Paddy O’Looney.

A member of Killarney Golf and Fishing Club for 40 years, he is the current CEO and he will have served 33 years next September.

SWING, the brainchild of former Kerry Group chief, Denis Brosnan, markets and promotes the premier golf clubs in the south west and also runs an incoming golf agency.

Records show that the company has booked over 350,000 rounds of golf in the south west alone but it also facilitates golfers wanting to play elsewhere in the country.

The company’s senior team of Brendan, Eileen O’Sullivan and Tommy Pierce have 60 years of experience bringing golfers to these shores.

Killarney has been a huge beneficiary as it is a base for most visiting golfers while on the Kerry part of their trip. The locals like seeing the high spending golfers arrive in April for a season than runs until mid October.
2024 is busy and it is also looking positive for 2025.

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Killarney Toastmasters Celebrates 20 Years

Killarney Toastmasters Celebrates 20 Years

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Over 30 members, past and present, gathered last Tuesday in The Dromhall Hotel to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of Killarney Toastmasters club.

Several founder members were present including Frank O’Sullivan and Bernadette Noonan, who are still current members of the club.
Members embrace the core values of Toastmasters International which are “respect, integrity, service and excellence”.
This year Killarney Toastmasters welcomed eight new members of various nationalities, who have brought many talents with them to this international club.
Outgoing president Anthony Walsh said: “I am heartened by the progress of new members and, following the success of the current year, I am looking forward to a bright future for the club.”
Anthony passed the chain of office on to incoming President Ann Hannan, who is very excited about leading the club in the year that Toastmasters International celebrates its 100th Anniversary.

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