Timaru woman books place in cook-off finals

19:10, Jul 10 2014
charlotte manson
ORGANIC CHEF: Timaru's Charlotte Manson is off to Auckland to compete in the finals of the healthy foods competition Ceres Organic Cook-off.

A passion for making bad food good has proved successful for Timaru's Charlotte Manson.

The 21-year-old has made the finals of the Ceres Organic Cook-off competition and will be competing against seven others at the finals in Auckland this Saturday.

She submitted three of her own recipes to the nationwide healthy food competition run by Taste magazine, including a black bean fudge and parmesan tart, but it was her quinoa coffee cake that came out on top.

The first round of the competition involved entrants creating a dish and uploading it online.

A panel of judges chose the top 20 and the top eight were selected by public vote.

Manson has not had any formal cooking training but said she learnt most of her cooking skills from her mother and grandmother.


However, it was her old boss at Mocha Cafe, Mel Palmer, who gave her the confidence to enter.

She said she was nervous as she would be the youngest in the competition and probably the most inexperienced.

"I'm happy to have made it as far as I have but I'm not holding my breath."

Manson couldn't say what the finals would entail as it is a mystery cook-off. Her guess is it will involve competitors getting a box of healthy food they have to use.

The winner of the cook-off will receive a mystery weekend getaway.


● Cream together until light and fluffy 75g butter, 75g coconut oil, cup panela, 2 Tbsp honey.

● In a blender place 2 egg yolks, 4 espresso shots, teaspoon mixed spice, cup almond milk, 3 Tbsp natural yoghurt, 1 cup cooked quinoa – blend until smooth, fold in to butter mixture.

● Sift and fold in 1 cup gluten free baking mix, cup coconut flour, 2 tsp baking powder.

● Beat 2 egg whites to stiff peak, fold into mixture.

● Divide evenly between two tins

● Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 40 to 50 minutes or until springs.

● Ice with coffee icing, walnuts and optional chocolate curls.

The Timaru Herald