Practice paid off for two Nelson College student chefs testing their skills in the National Secondary School Culinary Challenge regional competition.
They took out a gold award for their entry of leek tart on smoked leek puree and stuffed chicken breast wrapped in bacon with a chicken lollipop. The dish was designed by Aaron Ballantyne of Hopgoods and teacher Quinton Gately.
Louis Clarke, 16, and M Chakkapong Khalan, 17, said they were pleased with their result and put it down to their great time management.
"We just stayed relaxed and calm. We've cooked the dish 10 times in two weeks," Louis said.
The team also had stand-in, James Newport, 16, who learnt the dish in case Louis or M were unable to compete.
Nayland College pupils Michael Newton, 17, and Connor Murray, 18, received a bronze medal for their leek tartlet and roasted lemon and rosemary breast of chicken.
"Near the end we were a bit flat out. I think we did very well considering the time we had to practise," Connor said.
The event, held at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, was judged under the World Association of Chefs Society guidelines. Teams start with 100 and marks are taken off for non-compliance.
Teams that score 100 receive a Gold Medal with Distinction, 90-99 Gold, 80-89 Silver and 70-79 Bronze.
Chief judge Glenn Fulcher was impressed with the calibre of both dishes.
"Both chickens were cooked very well, they were really moist."
Fulcher said this was the first year the competition had been run in the South Island and it wasn't uncommon for only a couple of entries due to the high standards the competition calls for.
The Nelson College winners take away a $500 Bidvest voucher and a set of flat plates for their school. They will compete at the September national competition in Auckland for a $2000 City and Guilds scholarship.
- The Nelson Mail
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