About Us

Learn more about The Apprentice Chef Programme.

About The Apprentice Chef.

The Apprentice Chef programme is a highly successful programme run by a professional team of chefs and nutritionists, running for the past 7 years with over 4,000 students taking part since its inception.

Students from Transition year get to create their own dish, using local ingredients and find out what it is like to be a professional chef, during this 3 month mentoring programme. The challenge is to create a dish using locally sourced ingredients to ensure "Good Mood Food".

In creating these dishes, they will choose local fresh foods and cook them in professional kitchens with an eye on healthy eating, especially good mood food, that is food that supports good mental health for life.

At the end of the programme in May there will be regional finals in Tralee, Waterford and Galway, where an eventual winner will be awarded a regional final prize.

The Apprentice Chef Programme

About the programme.

The Apprentice chef programme is open to all secondary schools, with students entering from Transition year. To date we have had over 4000 students from all over Munster take part in the programme.

2019/20 should see us opening the programme to secondary schools from the Galway region, as the Galway Institute of Technology joins Tralee and Waterford.

Programme Details.

The Apprentice Chef 2019.

The programme runs from October to May and the students will learn everything there is to know about cooking a local, fresh , nutritionally balanced meal that supports brain health.

They will be cooking under professional guidance and mentoring in a professional setting in the culinary departments of the Institute of technology , located near to their school.

At the end of the programme in May there will be regional finals in Tralee, Waterford and Galway, where an eventual winner will be awarded a regional final prize.

The Apprentice Chef Team

Meet everyone involved!

Mark Doe
Co-Founder & Mentor

English born chef Mark, has spent over twenty years working in some of Europe's finest Hotels and Restaurants including The Ritz hotel, London, The Merrion Hotel, Dublin and the Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise liner and two years working in Australia. Mark has won many awards for his cooking, including the overall winner of the Moreau Chablis Fish Dish of the Year Award 2004. In 2007 Mark and his wife Bernie (who also has over 20 years in the catering industry) set up Just Cooking cookery school in Firies, Co. Kerry. The school has gone from strength to strength and Mark is constantly in demand for cookery demonstrations and guest appearances around the country as well as presenting a fortnightly cookery slot on Radio Kerry. Also a keen advocate of developing cooking skills at an early age, Mark runs incredibly popular kid's cookery workshops during school holidays. Mark also teaches food and nutrition at Tralee Youth Reach.

The Apprentice Chef Programme
Mark Murphy
Co-Founder & Mentor

Cahirciveen native and Killarney resident Mark Murphy has spent his career in the catering industry. A trained chef with many years experience, Mark is now a Culinary Arts Lecturer at the IT, Tralee. In 2005 he co-founded the award winning Chapter Forty restaurant in Killarney, specialising in fine dining experiences. Passionate about developing great chefs of the future, Mark is an advocate of instilling the joy of cooking in young people.

He was instrumental in gaining full support and the use of the facilities from the IT, Tralee and I.T Waterford to host The Apprentice Chef in the colleges.

The Apprentice Chef Programme
Susie Cox
R.G.N, Nutritional Therapist

Susie Cox, from Dublin originally, is a qualified General Nurse, and Ballymaloe chef. She lives on an Organic farm outside Tralee, with her husband and children. She is also a Nutritional therapist, and has over 10 years experience working in the field of alternative health; through Nutritional therapy consultations and working in Health shops. She has been the voice of Nutrition with Radio Kerry for many years.

She has a special interest in getting children to understand the importance of eating good fresh food and in keeping harmful chemicals to a minimum in our diet and environment in general. She is an advocate of growing your own foods and using wild fruits and berries.

The Apprentice Chef Programme
Louise Brosnan

Louise has worked as a chef for over 18 years and is currently working as a Sous chef at Solas restaurant in Dingle. She has previously worked at the Global village restaurant idas in Dingle.

In 2015 Louise gained a B. A honours degree in culinary arts whilst studying at I.T Tralee. Louise has also lectured at the Dingle cookery school and completed a 3 week culinary internship with Michelin star chef Dani Barry.

The Apprentice Chef Programme
John Murray
Senior Judge

John is a former senior lecturer in culinary arts from the ITT Tralee, he has been the president of the Irish panel of chef for numerous years and also a senior member of the Fellow Epicurean World Masterchef's Society. John has also represented Ireland as an international representative in culinary competition as well as being a judge. Johns dedication to industry and the progression of young people being a considerable passion throughout his career.

The Apprentice Chef Programme
TJ O' Connor

TJ is currently head of section at the Hotel and Catering department at I.T Tralee. He has major international experience gained through 5 star international hotels where his position as head chef has come to bear on the standard required for the next generation of young chefs. Actively involved in Food 4 thought, Taste Kerry and numerous culinary organisations his experience is invaluable as to the future progression of this programme.

The Apprentice Chef Programme
Bernie Doe

Bernie has over 20 years of experience in food and beverage management, including the QE 2 cruise liner, The Barbican centre London and the Guinness storehouse. Bernie is currently the administrator of the Apprentice chef and is vital in the smooth running of the logistics involved in running this extensive programme.

Thank you to everyone who helps this programme happen.

The Apprentice Chef Sponsors

The Apprentice Chef Ltd,
Firies, Killarney, Kerry.
(086) 609 5318
Mon-Fri 9:30am-5:00pm.
24 X 7 online help.