From seeking asylum to culinary gold for Limerick Institute of Technology student

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Bangaly Doumbouya pictured in Limerick Institute of Technology Photo. Brian Arthur
Bangaly Doumbouya pictured in Limerick Institute of Technology Photo. Brian Arthur

FROM asylum seeker to multi-award winning chef has been quite a journey for a Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) Culinary Arts student.

Bangaly Doumbouya, who won the prestigious Chef Ireland Competition, is a second-year student who first came to Ireland as an asylum seeker in 2007.

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From Guinea, West Africa, Bangaly spent five years in Knockalisheen Direct Provision Centre, Meelick, Co. Clare before he was granted refugee status.

The talented student has this month been awarded the highest possible prize in the Asian Cuisine Competition by the World Association of Chefs Societies and the Panel of Chefs of Ireland.

Last month Bangaly also won third place at the Knorr Student Chef of the Year 2019.

LIT Culinary Arts Lecturer Jim O’ Meara said, “Bangaly is an outstanding student and to win this competition is a testament to his hard work and dedication here at LIT”.

Bangaly first worked as a kitchen porter in the Castletroy Park Hotel in 2013. After that he worked at Hampton’s restaurant for two years and then joined the team at the Shannon Springs Hotel, where Executive Chef Anthony Walsh gave Bangaly the opportunity to be a Commis Chef and immediately identified the new employee’s huge potential.

Bangaly applied as a mature student to the Culinary Arts programme at LIT, “Studying culinary arts at LIT and becoming a chef was all I ever dreamed of doing. I am so happy that I can study what I love at LIT, which has also given me the opportunity to complete a three month work placement at Dromoland Castle Hotel.

“I am very excited about the future for myself and my family as I look forward to hopefully graduating in 2020 and beginning a career in a job I am passionate about”.

Section Head Culinary and Hospitality at LIT’s Sports, Leisure and Tourism Department Joe Mulcahy said, “We are very proud of Bangaly at LIT. I am also pleased that Bangaly had the opportunity to complete his work placement at Dromoland Castle Hotel, which has been a fantastic training ground for many LIT students over the years.

“LIT is a higher education institution that holds inclusivity and access to education among its core values. By opening up education and training to everyone we ensure talents are nurtured, sustainable careers developed, and in many cases dreams realised. This, in turn, benefits both the individual and society as a whole”.