Search Is On For Ireland’s Next Top Chef

Aspiring chefs from across the island of Ireland are encouraged to test their culinary skills as the entry deadline fast approaches for this year’s search for Ireland’s Next Top Chef.

Coordinated by the Balmoral Hotel, Ireland’s Next Top Chef was established in 2023 to identify and nurture culinary talent to safeguard the future of the local hospitality industry.

The not-for-profit culinary competition. provides talented chefs with an exciting opportunity to put themselves in the spotlight and showcase their talent to some of Ireland’s top industry-recognised chefs and experts aiming to be crowned the island’s next culinary sensation.

Ireland’s Next Top Chef is open to professional chefs and home cooks. Contestants must submit their signature three-course menu by the closing date of Friday 7th June 2024 to qualify for the live knock-out stages of the competition.

The Grand Finale will take place on Thursday 1st August 2024, at the Balmoral Hotel in Belfast, with the top three chefs competing against each other in a thrilling live cookery showdown to claim the coveted title of ‘Ireland’s Next Top Chef’.

The winner will receive the opportunity to undertake an all-expenses-paid mentorship to cook and train with a leading culinary team at a prestigious two-star Michelin-starred restaurant of their choice; Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London or Chapter One by Mickael Viljanen in Dublin.

John Trainor, Director of Balmoral Hotel in Dunmurry and Stix & Stones restaurant in Belfast, says: “As we kick off this year’s Ireland’s Next Top Chef competition, our goal is to discover and mentor the very best of local culinary talent, ensuring that we continue our region’s proud tradition of producing world-class chefs.

“This not-for-profit competition is designed to equip these promising chefs with the opportunities and resources they need to succeed and establish themselves as leading chefs of the future. This will ultimately ensure the sustainability of our dynamic hospitality industry, reinforcing its vital role in bolstering the local economy.

“Last year’s inaugural competition not only highlighted the competition’s significance within the industry but also set a new standard for 2024 as we aim to make this year’s competition bigger and better in our search to find our next culinary superstar.

“I would strongly encourage aspiring young chefs to enter, as it provides an invaluable steppingstone that could propel their careers in the industry to new heights, as well as winning prizes at each of the 3 stages of the competition including Service Works London apparel and premium Katto Knife Sets.

“Participating also offers aspiring chefs a platform to showcase their culinary skills and an opportunity to learn from some of the top professionals in the industry.”

Last year’s inaugural competition was won by Gareth Crawford of Belfast-based Cú restaurant, who fought off competition from over 24 contestants to impress judges with an extraordinary display of culinary excellence to be named the first-ever winner of the prestigious accolade.

Gareth Crawford, winner of last year’s Ireland’s Next Top Chef competition and celebrated chef at Cú restaurant, says: “Winning last year’s competition was a great milestone in my career. It was not only a platform to showcase my skills but also a really tough challenge that pushed me to excel.

“This competition is an excellent opportunity to hone, test, and celebrate your culinary skills, and I would encourage any professional chefs and home cooks to enter. It is designed to push contestants to refine their cooking techniques and expand their culinary repertoire, providing an intensive, hands-on experience crucial for both personal and professional growth.”

Ireland’s Next Top Chef is sponsored in 2024 by Balmoral Hotel, Sysco Ireland, Bunzl McLaughlin, Tanqueray Gin, Anjo Wholesale, Lakeview Farm Meats, Frylite Solutions, Heverlee Premium Pilsner, Direct Wine Shipments, N4networx, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Keenan Seafood, Féile an Phobail and Ryak Cleaning & Support Services.

The deadline for entries is 12 noon on Friday 7th June 2024. Contestants can submit their applications and find out additional information via

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