A Co Armagh man has landed the coveted title as Northern Ireland’s Young Chef of the Year after cooking up a culinary delight at the IFEX exhibition centre in Belfast.
Mark Winter, 23, from Richhill, kept a cool head as he held off hundreds of entrants to win the coveted culinary gong – adding to his 2014 Young Seafood Chef of the Year crown.
Mark, currently honing his skills as a sous chef at the Lough Erne resort in Enniskillen made the final against four other of Northern Ireland’s most talented chefs, before wooing judges with his delightful three-course offering last Thursday afternoon.
Mark had two hours to complete his starter, main course, and dessert before presenting to the judges from all over the world.
When Mark heard his name called out as Northern Ireland’s finest, it was all a bit surreal for the former Markethill High School student.
Speaking to Armagh I, Mark said it “is a dream of mine to get that title over some of Northern Ireland’s top young chefs”.
“I couldn’t believe that I had won it, it was a big shock to the system but I’m now going to push on and in two years time enter Senior Chef of the Year.”
He added: “I think this is a massive step in my career and will only lead me on to bigger and better things as this award holds sway all over the world.”
Mark, who studied professional cookery at the Southern Regional College in Portadown, began his professional journey in industry kitchens.
His hard work and graft has already seen him reap huge benefits, but he wouldn’t be where he is today without his mother.
“Throughout high school at Markethill I always knew I had a passion for food and always wanted to be a chef. I mean from I was 10 or 11 years of age I watched my mother who was a chef; she was undoubtedly my biggest inspiration and to follow in her footsteps has been brilliant.”