Rochy duo taste defeat in challenge
ROCHESTER has lost the title of Murray River Culinary Challenge champions after Wangaratta’s Laura Costenaro and Taylah Giggins took the honours on September 12.
In a three-course battle, duos from the Murray Mallee, Campaspe, Goulburn Murray and Wangaratta regions battled it out in the Bendigo TAFE Echuca campus’s kitchen.
Rochester Secondary College’s Stephanie Crouch and Jasmin Malham represented the Campaspe region in the four-hour challenge, with the final result coming down to the three judges’ decision.
Moama Bowling Club’s George Santos, Swan Hill’s Boo’s Place Cafe´ and Provedore’s Rebecca Hart and Mansfield’s Megan Knapp from The Kitchen Door were the guest judges for the day.
The Murray River Culinary Challenge is a culmination of local learning and education providers, with the grand finals being held in the victor’s region the following year.
Shane Crispin from North East Tracks Local Learning and Employment Network (NETLLEN), said having representation from the Wangaratta region in the grand final was terrific.
Mr Crispin said the challenge provides students and employers with opportunities.
“The challenge has been going for 12 years and starts with a school-level competition, then regional, then the grand final,” he said.
“The employers in my region value it greatly, they use it as a valuable employment tool to recruit young people to fill the hospitality skills shortage in our region.”
And this year’s result proves there is no shortage of talent in any area.
“It went really well,’’ Anne Trickey, Campaspe Cohuna Local Learning and Employment Network executive officer, said. ‘‘We find that the students who participate in this wind up working in the industry, they get that valuable experience as a work placement and some go on to get part-time work or an apprenticeship in hospitality.
“Because so many of our local chefs are involved in the judging for the challenge, they know the quality of the work and the standard the students work to.
“They know these kids are industry ready.”
Next year’s culinary challenge will be hosted by the Wangaratta NETLLEN group.