WA Shark on Show at Taste of Future Cooking Competition
Skills, patience and creativity were all put to the test when 7 hospitality students from across WA competed in the Hospitality Group Training (HGT) ‘Taste of the Future Schools Competition’. And students had no shortage of support – as sponsors, teachers and family members were there to cheer them on. With time ticking, and 3 well-known Western Australian chefs walking the room – the students embraced the pressure with no tears or tantrums (no reality TV drama in sight).
The competition, in its 6th year, took a different pathway when students were asked to cook with local seafood ( a first for the tournament!). WAFIC sponsored the competition by supplying South-West Bronze Whaler, and after 3 years of using chicken – it came as a surprise to students. You can imagine the disbelief when teachers informed participants they would be cooking with Western Australian shark!
The aim of the annual cooking competition is to encourage hospitality students to pursue a career as a chef. Open to all year 11 and 12 students across Western Australia – each school can enter one student into the competition to go-in-the-draw to win an apprenticeship scholarship valued at $5,500 sponsored by oil2u. The top finalists are then invited to enter a cook-off where they produce one main dish with the chosen protein. Each of the final dishes are judged by well-known local chefs who select a winner.
It was evident that inventiveness was in the air as students produced 7 unique dishes – making it extremely difficult for a winner to be chosen. From grilling, pan frying and steaming to using ingredients such as chilli, lemon, pepper, cranberries – these students were not just your average do-it-yourself home cooks! There was no canned spaghetti or baked beans in sight. The room bursting full of supporters were in awe of the skill and passion found in the dishes. The three judges WA Food Ambassador, Don Hancey, Clarke’s of North Beach chef and owner, Stephen Clarke, and Executive Chef of Perth Arena Paul Beard all admitted the difficulty faced to select a winner.
Don Hancey declared that all the dishes were “real food” and congratulated each of the participants on their accomplishments and Maddison Buckley from Swan Christian College was deemed the winner with her Harissa Bronze Whaler Shark served with Lemon Mayonnaise and Herb Oil. The Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) would like to congratulate all the participants in this year’s competition. It also goes to show that cooking with seafood, and in this case WA shark, doesn’t have to be difficult!