Ireland Wins Olympic Bronze

Team Ireland has won a bronze medal at the Culinary Olympics in Germany after battling it out against 66 other nations. Over 1,800 chefs took part in the international showcase event in Stuttgart, cooking a full three-course meal for 75 people in the junior category and 110 in the senior category.

Team Ireland junior captain Chris Leech (24), who is from the village of Naul in north County Dublin, described the win as a “phenomenal achievement for a small nation”.

Chris is a sous chef for catering company Sodexo. Following in his father’s career path, he gained experience with a catering company while in transition year and worked his way up through culinary school and with the renowned Raymond Blanc.

After getting the call from the Panel of Chefs of Ireland, who chose the team through a combination of assessments, he travelled to Limerick each week where the team trained for the Culinary Olympics.

At the event, the junior team delivered a confit butternut squash fondant with an avocado chilli mousse, a special cracker and pickles on top. For the main course, they delivered pork fillets wrapped in a burnt leek powder, carrot purée, roast carrots, a potato terrine, braised pork belly croquette, and a cabbage ball with streaky bacon and “loads of butter”.

Team Ireland was made up of a senior panel and junior panel as well as two helpers, amounting to 24 people in total. They faced giants such as Sweden, South Korea and Canada, who each brought four teams and close to 500 spectators.