When did you realise you wanted to work as a chef?
I have wanted to be a chef ever since I can remember. I feel very lucky to have been able to find my passion and make it my job.
Where and how did you get your start?
I started culinary school at 15 years old in Belgium. That’s where I met all my best friends and where I fell in love with food and cooking.
Sum up your current work life in one sentence.
It’ s amazing and busy, I’m really happy. I love being busy and cooking inside and outside the kitchen. I travel a lot and cook everywhere which is brilliant as I have the opportunity to mix my two passions: traveling and cooking
Who has been really influential on your career and why?
Everyone I have come across throughout my career has made an impact. I firmly believe that the people who you surround yourself with help define how you make your decisions. A philosophy that you learn in the kitchen, or a piece of advice from someone who is really important to you can change everything. I’m very lucky to have a very close inner circle who are hugely supportive – you cannot be successful on your own.
Where did you last have a great meal?
It was at L’Arpège in Paris which is one of my favourite places. A great meal doesn't mean it has to be in a 3 star restaurant. It’s about the people, the atmosphere and the food.
What made you enter the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition?
I am a competitive person and I love being out of my comfort zone. I always say, "if it’s easy, it’s not fun!” The S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition is an amazing opportunity to test yourself, meet amazing people from the industry, and open doors for the rest of your career.
What piece of advice would you give to people looking to enter the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Competition?
You need to be sure of yourself - it’s a competition so you can’t be half-hearted about it. You have to prepare yourself and be focused. Once you’ve started, try and enjoy it – you’ll probably only enter once in your career, so make sure you get the best out of it.
What was the inspiration behind your dish for last year’s S.Pellegrino Young Chef Competition?
I was inspired by where I live, in Ireland. I live in Galway which is a beautiful city by the sea so there are amazing fish, oysters and seaweed.
What did you find the most helpful/ influential element of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Competition?
The entire team at Aniar was really helpful, from little tips on how to talk about my dish, to how to pack my boxes up ahead of the competition itself. It’s important to get along well with your mentor as they are
the ones that have the experience to guide you and make adjustments to your dish.
What have you done since the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition?
A lot! I’ve been cooking in London, Dublin and Tokyo as well as working on different project in Milan, and Paris. I have also spoken at the Food On The Edge conference which was an amazing experience. Networking is a very important part of the job, so having the opportunity to meet so many people in the industry is fantastic.