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Two student chefs from Ulster University Business School have scooped top marks at the most prestigious culinary concours to take place in Northern Ireland this year.

Callum Irwin who works in Muddlers Club, Belfast won the Balmoral Hotel Pro Master Chef #WeAreFeile title following a series of hotly contested heats. Callum has also secured a stage with Michelin starred chef Nigel Haworth. Frazer Cunningham (pictured above), a chef in Belfast’s Fitzwilliam Hotel won the “People’s Vote”.

Balmoral Hotel Business Development Manager Colm Glover says the event was intended to raise visibility for the recruitment crisis facing the restaurant sector across Ireland -

"The standard of competition exceeded our highest expectations and I want to congratulate everyone who took part because the final result was very tight. We set out to achieve three objectives with this scheme, to highlight the crisis in the hospitality sector of recruiting workers, to showcase local talent and local produce and to attract young people to choose being a chef as an exciting career path. Undoubtedly we have achieved the first two of those objectives with the grand finale being a simply wonderful event and now the work begins to achieve the third objective of attracting young chefs to be the next star of the industry.

Callum and Fraser were a credit to their restaurants at Muddlers Club and the Fitzwilliam Hotel but more importantly a credit to Ulster University where they both are currently studying”

Professor Una McMahon-Beattie, Head of Department for Hospitality and Tourism Management, said

“Ulster University Business School is committed to working collaboratively with industry to create effective talent pipelines. Callum and Fraser are excellent ambassadors for Ulster University Business School and the Hospitality and Tourism Industry as they have successfully demonstrated their creative culinary skills in a highly competitive setting. Their success and enthusiasm will inspire young people to consider hospitality and tourism as a career of choice.”

The Balmoral Hotel Pro Master Chef awards raised £700 for the NI Air Ambulance Service.