Young chef eyes apprentice title

Young chef eyes apprentice title

MIKAELA COLLINS
Last updated 12:00 09/08/2014
Hayley Southee
DAVID UNWIN/Fairfax NZ

GOOD EATS: Hayley Southee.

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A Palmerston North cook is hoping to put her best knife forward when she represents the city at a national competition to find the apprentice chef of the year.

Hayley Southee, who first started cooking in the kitchens at Palmerston North Girls' High School, will be heading to Auckland to compete for the title of Service IQ Apprentice Chef of the Year at the 2014 Culinary Fare.

The 19-year-old, who works at Nero Restaurant, is one of eight contestants and the only competitor from Palmerston North.

"I'm really excited. I've never done any competitions like this before."

As part of the competition Southee will be cooking two dishes made from a specific list of ingredients sent to her by organisers. "I have a few ideas about what I'm going to cook. But it's a secret," she said.

Southee is not worried about the pressure, it's her favourite part of being in the kitchen," she said.

"I love the rush during service. The heat is awesome and when it's over it's so rewarding knowing you've fed so many hungry people and they've enjoyed your food."

Southee's passion for cooking led her into the job at Nero.

"I was looking everywhere for chef jobs. I applied at places and went knocking on doors and asking. I was so excited when I got my job."

Southee has been using her work at Nero to prepare for the competition and said the staff have been "extremely supportive".

"We have a new head-chef and he's been really helpful. He's been helping me organise new recipes."

Southee said she is "unsure" of how things will go in the competition. "I don't know what to expect. I'll give it a good crack though."

The NZ Culinary Fare runs from August 17 to 19. The winner will win a trip to attend the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival and the opportunity of work experience in two restaurants.

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