He is only 14 years old but Manfred Manglicmot's dedication and focus to the art of egg poaching has managed to turn the head of seasoned chef Martin Bosley.
Manfred emerged the winner from WelTec's New Zealand's Hottest Chef-to-Be competition on Saturday from a field of 75 contestants who were vying for a week-long apprenticeship at the Wellington chef's restaurant.
The knockout competition saw contestants have to first separate an egg as quickly and cleanly as possible, then whip it to the correct consistency, and then finally poach an egg that was up to Bosley's high standards. Manfred told The Dominion Post he felt shocked when named the winner as he was up against a lot of much older contestants.
The Year 10 pupil at St Patrick's College in Wellington said it was his first time whisking egg whites, but he was not about to crack under the pressure.
"I love cooking. It's what I want to do when I grow up," he said.
"I can't wait to see Martin Bosley's kitchen.
"It'll be the first time I've been in a proper restaurant kitchen before."
Bosley said he had a feeling from the start that Manfred would be a contender - his intensity stood out a mile.
"He was a bit of a crowd favourite because he was genuinely into it and so focused on what he was doing.
"When he was poaching his egg he kept bathing it in water and playing with the flame to make sure it was just right."
Manfred's week in the kitchen at the restaurant based in the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club would see him immersed in basically everything.
"We might also get him cooking a few staff breakfasts. I'm not sure he'll see that one coming," Bosley said.
WelTec organised the competition at Frank Kitts Park to promote its hospitality courses and its recent move from Petone to Cuba St in Wellington.
- The Dominion Post
Testing drugs on animals is:Related story: Animal tests 'key' to brain disease cures