Killian Crowley: “We are the next generation of Irish chefs who can make a change”

Killian Crowley will represent UK and Ireland at the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Grand Finale in Milan. He talks about his career and experience in this interview!

Killian Crowley from Michelin-starred Aniar in Galway, Ireland triumphed during the local heat of S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2018 with his striking signature dish of 'turbot, kohlrabi and sea purslane'.

The chef de partie and ambassador for Irish food will now take on the ultimate challenge, cooking for the UK and Ireland at the international Grand Finale.

We found out more about the young chef with a passion for food.

Please describe your signature dish, and explain why you choose this dish over any other?
My dish is really simple dish: a fish cooked on the bone, vegetable cooked in salt crust and a beurre blanc sauce with some sea vegetables.

The dish is inspired by the west of Ireland: seaweed, oysters, fish and sea vegetables. All the ingredients are sourced from there and that’s the most important thing for me. I use this produce every day in Aniar. If your area is surrounded by beautiful produce and producers you have to use them. It’s part of the culture of food in Ireland. For me, it central to its identity. 

Killian Crowley signature dish
Killian Crowley signature dish

What made you become a chef?
I love food 
and everything that’s related to it: sharing, spending time around a table. I love cooking as much as eating! 

Who has influenced you in your career?
All the chefs with or whom I worked for have influenced my career. They were all really good teachers in terms of the techniques and the knowledge they imparted to me! Where I can’t work, I go and eat to experience the place. I think it’s also way of learning as well.

On an everyday basis, I’m inspired by nature and people because its where it’s from and to who we give that matters the most.

Since coming to Ireland and working in Aniar, I have become really infatuated with the quality of produce in the West of Ireland. Here, we have direct contact with the source of the food. This, combined with our work ethic gives me hope for the future.

Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years’ time? 
I have lots of ideas and projects, I dream big but don’t we all! I have realistic projects and goals like running my own restaurant in the West of Ireland, with the highest standard of produce and quality.

I want to make things different and find a way to have a sustainable place to work and live. Work life balance is just as important as the best sustainable local produce. That’s something I learned from working at Aniar and attending Food on the Edge.

We are at the beginning of the next generation of Irish chefs who can make things change in this industry. Make things better for customers, staff and producer: that is the way forward.

Killian Crowley during the local competition
Killian Crowley during the local competition

What is the most exciting/challenging element of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition for you?
Meeting the best young chefs of the world and the others before! As a chef now you need to be accessible and open to meet a lot of new people all the time. Create new contact and friends, food is all about sharing inside the kitchen and outside as well.

Why do you think you can win the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2018 title?
I think that the ethos behind the dish and a story it has to tell is most important. I have a solid background in food, but I have even more to look forward to now, from my position in Europe and the development of Irish food, without forgetting that you represent a brand as well.

If you weren’t a chef what would you be?
A designer.

What’s your most memorable food experience?
I have a lot of memorable food experiences. They are all different. Being around a table with a simple meal and great people, or going for a 3-star meal and having a culinary experience.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I love music. I listen to a lot of music from everywhere and different genres. It’s really like food. I love spending time in nature and fishing, just being outside and having a normal life. Traveling is very important to me, discovering all the time. I love having that feeling of missing home because I enjoy it even more when I return!

Read the interview with Angela Hartnett, the UK & Ireland mentor chef

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