A LIMERICK chef who won €100,000 and saw his product displayed on over 100 Lidl shelves across the country is encouraging others to take part in the new season of the televised competition The Taste of Success.
Padraig McCarthy, 33, from Ballinacurra, but now living in Caherconlish, said winning the competition last year was “an absolute dream” and has encouraged all ambitious chefs and cooks to apply, saying “it’s a life-changing experience.”
RTÉ One’s ‘The Taste of Success’ programme is back and they are now looking for new food product ideas.
The winner will walk away with a guaranteed contract with Lidl Ireland, which will see their product on shelves in 140 supermarkets nationwide, and a total prize fund of €100,000, including a €50,000 cash lump sum.
Padraig, who won the first season of ‘The Taste Of Success’ with a slow braised beef short rib in a pancetta and cider sauce, is fronting a campaign to encourage others to sign up.
“To anyone who is thinking of applying, you have to be passionate about your food, have confidence in your product and the courage of conviction and just do it, just enter. If you are not in you can’t win. It’s a massive opportunity and it’s defiantly changed my life for the better and I would encourage anyone to go and do it,” he said.
It has been an emotional but hugely rewarding journey for the talented chef who was forced to take a sabbatical from his 10-year career, due to a cancer diagnosis, which he successfully battled. He was also on kidney dialysis but thankfully received his transplant this January. Padraig said when he heard about the competition he jumped at it; “if there was any opportunity for me to get back involved with food I was going to take it.”
“The show was great; meeting people from so many backgrounds with such a wide range of products. It really highlighted the food talent and the quality of food we have in this country, ” he said.
Colm Crowley, head of production, RTÉ Cork, said the first series of the Taste of Success had an average of over 340,000 people tuning in each week.
“This competition offers a fantastic opportunity for someone to make their career in food production a reality and potentially create new jobs,” he said.
Aoife Clarke, head of communications from Lidl Ireland, said Padraig’s product was a “gem”, “which became an immediate hit with the Irish public. Ireland has such a rich food culture and an amazing level of innovation so we are really excited to get on the road again and see what season two brings,” she said.
RTE has advised that this competition is open to anyone who has a wonderful food product, such as “your granny’s delicious bread recipe, a tasty new jam or sauce combination you’ve concocted or your special occasion desert”.
The prize fund includes a lump sum of cash, product development and marketing, and royalties of three per cent of the retail price of the winning product based on actual sales. Royalties within the first six months are at least €25,000.
The closing date for applications is Thursday, May 7 at 5pm. See www.rte.ie/thetasteofsuccess