Young chefs step up to the plate to scoop bronze win
THEY came, they cooked and they conquered. Mt Druitt chefs Patricia Dacayo and Chelsea Williams have won a prized bronze medal in Australia’s oldest culinary competition.
Competing for the first time against many more seasoned chefs, they stepped up to the plate to take home a gong in the 2016 Nestle Golden Chef’s Hat award.
“The judges said our dishes were the most complicated,” said Ms Williams, an 18-year-old apprentice chef, who, like her partner, works at the Amora Hotel Jamison in Sydney’s CBD.
They prepared four main courses and four desserts in 90 minutes, as they went hat-to-hat with 21 other pairs from around NSW at the Ryde TAFE.
Their bronze-winning menu included mains of pan fried chateaubriand, carpaccio of short ribs with ricotta, mushroom sphere, miniature legumes and thyme port jus, and desserts of caramel flan, crushed almond praline, coconut parfait, and grapefruit gel and rhubarb coulis.
The competition for under-25s included higherranked commis chefs and demi chefs.
“I think they had a little advantage,” said 22-year-old Ms Dacayo. “Everybody else seemed to know each other. They also brought along their own equipment.”
“It was a real eye-opener, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn,” Ms Williams said.
The two plan to have another crack next year.
Australian Culinary Federation competition director Deb Foreman said: “Putting yourself up to be judged among your peers is tough. We know they will all take a lot from the experience.”