Dublin student, Roisin Gallagher is enjoying the ‘sweet’ taste of success having been chosen the overall winner in the recent nationwide search by banana importer Fyffes to find a new mouth-watering dessert that has a banana as its key ingredient. Responding to the invitation fronted by celebrity cook, Donal Skehan, Roisin was amongst a large group of what the popular television presenter called ‘creative and inventive meal-makers’ who accepted his challenge to design a desert that could become a meal-topping choice on tables around Ireland and abroad.
Currently living at home in Drumcondra with her parents Una and Dominic, whilst completing her Erasmus Mundus Master Degree in food innovation and product design with Technology University Dublin, Roisin has recently returned home to complete her thesis, having spent time studying in Paris, and more recently Naples. A qualified dietitian, who worked in Temple Street Children’s Hospital for a number of years, Roisin admits to having a passion for food and cooking from a young age.
“As long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed baking, particularly with my mam as a young child. In more recent times, since lockdown began, my passion for food has now expanded into food photography as well,” Roisin says. In creating her prize-winning entry, a ‘Banana and Caramel Layer Cake’, which won the ‘Best Ingredients’ category, Roisin drew inspiration from a recipe she discovered on a trip to Hungary some years ago. “At its core are very thin layers of banana sponge, infused with banana, chocolate and cream ganache, all topped off with caramel and hazelnut praline,” Roisin explains.
Devised by Fyffes to mark the annual National Banana Day held recently, the invitation to ‘design a dessert’ was in-line with a similar event which took place last year when the challenge was to capture the national lockdown-relieving popularity of home cooking by asking Ireland’s bake-at-home families to come forward with new and innovative recipes for banana bread.
Complementing what he called ‘the exceptional level of skill’ revealed by all who took part in the Competition, Donal Skehan said: “the success that Roisin has achieved reflects the dedication and devotion she puts into her baking and the obvious enjoyment she gets from it”.
Responding to the widespread level of interest that the event has generated amongst the public, Fyffes marketing manager, Emma Hunt-Duffy said: “what’s really exciting to see is the increasing number of young people now taking part in the competition; it’s fantastic that our baking challenge appeals to the next generation of cook-at-home enthusiasts”.
“Also noticeable is the extent to which entrants are willing to experiment in finding new ingredients and taste combinations, especially when formulating recipes to suit those with particular taste preferences and those with allergies or other dietary needs,” Ms. Hunt-Duffy added.
Other category winners in the competition are :11 year-old Clíodhna Mulkearns from Letterkenny (Best Junior Baker under 12 years); 15 year-old Claire Griffin from Skibbereen, West Cork (Best Junior Baker aged 13 – 17); Brianna Turner from Ennistymon, Co. Clare (Best Gluten-Free); Alline Isense Dalpiaz from Killorglin, Co. Kerry (Best Styling) and Kirsten Meehan from Stoneybatter, Dublin (Best Vegan).
Further details of each category winner and their winning recipes can be viewed on http://www.facebook.com/FyffesIreland/