$500 for Budding Chefs!

April 03, 2017 at 3:20 AM

Over the weekend, talented Year 12 Food Technology students, Benji Manning and Lewis Elliot joined other teams of aspiring secondary school chefs to be put through their culinary paces in a Masterchef-style cook off held at the Botanic Gardens in Manurewa. As part of the ‘Eye on Nature,’ event, they worked to the theme: 'Edibles: From the Ground to the Table,’ preparing, cooking and serving their dishes in front of a live audience. 

With only 45 minutes assigned to complete six portions of each of two courses, the pressure was on, with the boys’ prior planning critical to their success. Both boys are extremely competent cooks and chose dishes based around their own food interests and the assessment they will complete for Food Technology this year. Both students are working on a design project ‘Aotearoa House’ for NCEA assessment that requires them to investigate New Zealand’s indigenous design culture in the context of food design. Over the course of this academic year, they will investigate native New Zealand ingredients and how these can be used to develop new and innovative food products targeted initially at the artisan food market, with the potential for overseas export. The selection of sustainable and ethical food underpins this project and they carried their research through to the ‘Eye on Nature’ competition. 

Their final menu reflected principles of seasonality and sustainability. Using suppliers from both within the College community and wider geographic region, the boys placed emphasis on sourcing ingredients that were local, ethically farmed and have low environmental impacts. 

Judging the competition were Brian Wallace, senior lecturer for professional cookery at Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT); Henry Spence, chef lecturer at MIT; Sarah Goonan, Fuel4Life programme manager at the Heart Foundation and Renny Apera, senior chef lecturer of patisserie and practical cookery at Auckland University of Technology. 

Under their watchful eye, the boys presented their dishes of Clevedon Beetroot Organic Spelt Risotto with fennel, horseradish and toasted karengo fronds as a starter, and Horopito rubbedVenison with viberi blackcurrant jus, parsnip puree and baby carrots as their main, catching the judges’ attention for second place, winning $500 for their efforts! The judges were impressed with their dishes and commented that Lewis reminded them of a 'young Simon Gault!' 

Well done boys, we’ll look forward to seeing your work progress this year!

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