WA SEAFOOD APPRENTICE OF THE YEAR ANNOUNCED
Filleting knives were being sharpened and seafood cooking skills put to the test for this year’s WA Seafood Apprentice Competition – as apprentices from across Western Australia competed to take out the soon to be coveted award. The Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) hosted the competition for the first time this year to recognise the high calibre of work of apprentice chefs in kitchens across the state to promote WA seafood.
The competition brief was simple and included apprentices designing a dish using WA seafood, ensuring the dish made it onto their restaurant’s menu as a ‘special’ and uploading a photo of their dish and menu to their personal preferred social media platform (Facebook or Instagram). The competition was announced open on the 11 of April and closed on the 31 of May.
Judges had the arduous task of selecting a winner from eight outstanding dishes including; mouth-watering local Esperance champagne crab in handmade ravioli with fermented butter, aromatic 2 Oceans Abalone Wonton Soup, charming sous-vide smoked Fremantle Octopus terrine and delightful crispy skin Albany Garfish.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC), Alex Ogg, congratulated the eight finalists and praised each apprentice for taking the initiative to learn about their WA seafood industry and the products they showcased.
“We were ecstatic with the quality and presentation of the seafood dishes that put a public spotlight on apprentices’ skills, creativity and knowledge of their local seafood industry.”
“While there is an overall winner, the competition has been designed to showcase the diverse skills and talents across the state, as well as getting apprentices to learn more about WA seafood and some of the more obscure, underutilised product offerings. As their career develops in hospitality, they will be strong advocates for the seafood industry in Western Australia on the back of this experience. There is not a better time to instil our states sustainable seafood product knowledge into the DNA of developing chefs.”
Mr Ogg said that this year’s winner proved what the competition was all about – a seafood experience. He said not only did the winner produce an excellent dish, they labelled the seafood correctly, created a story, did their research on sustainability including the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and spoke directly with the local producer to find out more about the seafood they highlighted. Mr Ogg said that this level of information about provenance assists the consumer in understanding and making conscious decisions about their seafood options.
“We are delighted to announce the winner for this year’s WA seafood apprentice competition is Jiann Woei Yeo from Uma at the Pan Pacific. Jiann’s dish resonated with our judges because of the utilisation of an underutilised species – WA sea mullet. The mullet, from the waters of Peel Harvey, has been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) – the world’s gold-class standard for sustainable fishing. It was excellent to see Jiann correctly label the mullet as MSC certified and advise that it was caught by local Peel Harvey fisher Damien Bell from BellBuoy Seafoods.”
The runner up was Muhammad Mohamed from Steve’s Bar and Cafe in Nedlands who created a beautiful, delicate dish using another underutilised species Fremantle sardines. Third place went to Ashleigh Winfield from Taylor St Quarters in Esperance for her handmade ravioli using the bi-product and underappreciated species -champagne crab.
Concluding, Mr Ogg congratulated all apprentices on their hard work, dedication and commitment for entering the first year of the competition and advised them to continue learning about WA’s great seafood industry and spreading the word around this competition.
“Competitions like this give WAFIC the ability to educate the hospitality industry and the community about WA’s world-class, sustainable seafood industry. It’s great to see the hospitality industry getting so involved and supporting our WA seafood producers.”
Jiann receives a $250 worth of filleting knives and a training session with WA Seafood Ambassador Don Hancey at the 2019 State Seafood Awards.
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- 2 Oceans abalone wonton soup by James Staunton from Fish Face and Takeaway in Esperance.
- Local champagne crab and celeriac in handmade ravioli with fermented butter by Ashleigh Winfield from Taylor St Quarters in Esperance.
- MSC certified WA sea mullet ceviche with fish cake, Asian style verde and crispy fish skin by Jiann Woei Yeo from UMA at the Pan Pacific.
- Sous-vide smoked Fremantle Octopus terrine served with chill and lime sambal by Tiharne-Blay Bertrand from Latitude 32.
- Crispy skin Albany Garfish by first year apprentice Trystin Hart from Fire House in Belmont.
- Geraldton Kingfish Frikadell with Abrolhos half shell scallop, served with coconut and chilli foam and Thai infused Exmouth prawns by apprentice Tom Bennett from Harbour View in Geraldton.
- Fino glazed Fremantle sardines, parsnip croquettes, chilli sambal, blistered tomato and pickled broccoli stems by Muhammad Mohamed from Steve’s Bar and Café in Nedlands.
- Sesame seed crusted tuna with soba noodles by apprentice Stewart George- Kennedy from the Bayview Bar and Restaurant in Bunbury.