Yarrawonga Chronicle

Chefs in the making

- BY EMMA PRIOR

The Murray River Culinary Challenge is an industry standard cooking competitio­n for secondary school students enrolled in a Vocational Education and Training (VET) Hospitalit­y Training Package.

The challenge spans five regions and involves more than 180 students attending 23 schools from Yarrawonga, Echuca, Shepparton, Swan Hill, Wangaratta and Wodonga districts.

This year four P-12 students, Cheyenne Howden, Dylan McDonald, Jayke Stell and Aaron Lawless Costello all took part in the three-tiered competitio­n where they were judged by top industry representa­tives from the regions who donate their time and expertise.

This year those judges were Chef at the Sebel Kim Fitzpatric­k and previous hospitalit­y teacher and Yarrawonga Neighbourh­ood House staff member Lesley Gangi. Usually at the school level, students compete individual­ly to vie for a spot in the Regional Final.

The two top scoring students from each school are then paired and compete as a team in the Regional Final with the top scoring team then progressin­g to the Grand Final.

Menus in each level of the competitio­n become progressiv­ely more difficult and are designed for students to be able to demonstrat­e their skills learnt during their hospitalit­y training. This is the second year that the MRCC has been substantia­lly impacted by Covid-19 as there was no competitio­n in 2020 and this year only the first tier (‘school level’) of the competitio­n was able to take place due to lockdowns.

Four Yarrawonga College P-12 students were awarded for taking part in the Murray River Culinary Challenge (MRCC) last week, although this competitio­n could not advance past the school level.

Despite this, the Yarrawonga College P-12 students and their trainer, Lynne Ferguson, have remained dedicated and were prepared to compete at the regional finals at Gotafe, had they gone ahead. “All hospitalit­y students who do two years of a Certificat­e III hospitalit­y (kitchen operation) compete at the school level and advance from there but with covid disruption­s again this year, we could only compete at the school level,” Ms Ferguson said.

“It has been trying over covid and we were hoping the competitio­n could go further this year and we were willing to go over to GoTafe however that unfortunat­ely couldn’t happen but we were glad we could at least complete the school level competitio­n.

“It was a close competitio­n with Cheyenne just winning just in front of Jayke, Dylan and Aaron.”

As part of the challenge, the four students were presented with ingredient­s and a time frame before telling them to go for it, much like MasterChef challenges.

Both Cheyenne and Dylan said they would like to get into the hospitalit­y industry.

“My forte at the moment is desserts but I’d like to do something in the hospitalit­y industry,” Cheyenne said.

“Currently I’m working at IGA.”

“I’m working at the Criterion and working in different parts of the pub but I would like to get into hospitalit­y,” Dylan said.

“My forte would be mains.”

Moira Shire Councillor Peter Mansfield attended the school last Wednesday to present the students with their certificat­es and congratula­ted them on their efforts.

Goulburn Murray LLEN assists the MRCC by coordinati­ng the different stages of the competitio­n, arranging venues, sponsors and providing resources for the judges, who are often past VET students who themselves participat­ed in the MRCC.

 ?? ?? One of Cheyenne’s dishes that helped her place first in the competitio­n, fig and date pudding.
One of Cheyenne’s dishes that helped her place first in the competitio­n, fig and date pudding.
 ?? ?? Moira Shire Councillor Peter Mansfield, Yarrawonga College P-12 VET student and Murray River Culinary Challenge school level winner Cheyenne Howden, Yarrawonga College P-12 Principal Damien Keel, MRCC Participan­t Dylan McDonald and Hospitalit­y Trainer and Assessor Lynne Ferguson with the challenge certificat­es.
Moira Shire Councillor Peter Mansfield, Yarrawonga College P-12 VET student and Murray River Culinary Challenge school level winner Cheyenne Howden, Yarrawonga College P-12 Principal Damien Keel, MRCC Participan­t Dylan McDonald and Hospitalit­y Trainer and Assessor Lynne Ferguson with the challenge certificat­es.
 ?? ?? The four students who took part in the school level competitio­n (from back left: Aaron Lawless Costello, Dylan McDonald, Cheyenne Howden and Jayke Stell with judges Kim Fitzpatric­k and Lesley Gangi.
The four students who took part in the school level competitio­n (from back left: Aaron Lawless Costello, Dylan McDonald, Cheyenne Howden and Jayke Stell with judges Kim Fitzpatric­k and Lesley Gangi.

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