THREE aspiring Bega chefs have tasted success at the TAFE NSW Culinary Competition.
Laura Kite, Zoe Crosbie and Andrew Mitchell combined to secure a bronze medal.
Ms Kite is an apprentice at Waterfront Café, Ms Crosbie at the Merimbula Aquariam and Wharf, and Mr Mitchell at Wheelers Restaurant.
The trio was accompanied by TAFE Illawarra Bega head chef Dave Arens, who said they performed well in the circumstances.
The Bega team went into the competition under strength, after Lachlan McNeil withdrew.
“They were down one person, so they were under the pump,” Mr Arens said.
“But they worked and communicated well together.”
The competition was held at the Ultimo TAFE campus in Sydney.
Ultimo had representation, while visiting teams came from the Hunter, Ryde, Nowra and Bega campuses.
“We were the team that travelled the furthest and we were commended by the judges for that,” Mr Arens said.
The format for participants was a “mystery box” challenge.
Mr Arens said teams were given an hour to prepare a menu, write workflows and collect ingredients.
Competitors had 90 minutes to prepare an entrée, followed by another hour for the main dish and dessert.
Mr Arens said the pressure was similar to being in a kitchen.
“The standard of competition was very high,” he said.
“We had a younger team than most, but they did a great job.”
The competition’s head judge was Australian Culinary Federation vice-president Darren Ho.
Other dignitaries included George Diamond, who is the executive chef at Keystone Hospitality.
“It was industry networking for the students,” Mr Arens said.
Head teacher of Hospitality and Tourism at TAFE Bega Deidre Jory said she was happy with the result.
“They did an excellent job,” she said.
“I am extremely proud of these students – they stood up against their city counterparts.”