Culinary Competitors Present Arms
May 27 2004
CULINARY COMPETITORS PRESENT ARMS
The New Zealand Culinary Team unveiled its taste weaponry last night as it prepares to go into battle against trans-Tasman rivals for one of Australasia's top cooking accolades.
In their first 'live' taste test, the team trialed the dishes selected to take on the Aussies in the West Australia Oceana Fest in Perth, to be held in August.
The NZ Culinary Team, chosen in January, has spent the last three months perfecting and trialing the chosen dishes. At a special dress rehearsal dinner held last night at the Boaters Restaurant in Christchurch, the team gave a VIP group of guests the chance to sample their culinary skills.
The meal began with Roasted Akaroa Salmon Fillet with Chevre de Bellay cheesecake, rhubarb and ruby grapefruit salad, and mushroom essence, accompanied by herbed oil, grapefruit syrup and a crisp mushroom tuille.
This was followed by the main dish of Proscuito Wrapped Loin of Pork, pot roasted, and accompanied by black pudding loaf and whole grain mustard jus. The pork was served with ham and potato hash, savoury red cabbage and mixed greens.
The team ended the evening with a dessert titled Tropicana. This consisted of caramelised pineapple with chilli papaya, mango sorbet, Malibu panacotta and a tropical fruit shot.
The senior team will be going to Perth in August with its 2003 title 'West Australia Oceana Fest Restaurant of Champions Open Team Challenge' where the chefs will strive to bring back the 2004 title.
Gary Miller, business manager of the New Zealand Culinary Team, says the dinner was an opportunity for the team to practice and prepare their chosen dishes for 66 guests invited guests. It provided the chefs with the exact scenario they will face in August.
Captain Jonny Schwass from Barcelona Restaurant in Christchurch, says timing, presentation and taste are essential elements for this competition. "The team showed immense concentration, professionalism and enjoyment from start to finish.
"Last night I feel we showed we are prepared and really looking forward to the competition in August. The chefs dealt well with the pressure and we still have another two months to make refinements to the dishes," said Schwass.
The Restaurant of Champions competition consists of a four-person team event, one of which must be a trainee. The team has four hours to prepare a three-course lunch menu for service to 60 diners. They must produce 66 plates of each course in total, as six of these are taken away during service for judging.
Keith McDonald, National sales manager, MasterFoodServices was among the guests at the dinner. He says Masterfoods is delighted to be involved in helping with the development and training of these chefs.
"The dinner last night was very enjoyable. I could not get over the standard of professionalism the team portrayed throughout the evening.
The dishes have been chosen with the objective to win the competition and having said that, they looked stunning and tasted very interesting," says McDonald.
The team comprises Captain Jonny Schwass from Barcelona Restaurant in Christchurch, the Team Sous Chef Andrew Brown from The Millennium Hotel, the Team Pastry Chef Patsy-Anne Johnson from the Christchurch Casino and the Team Commis Chef Guy Stanaway from The George Hotel.
For the first time, the team will also be accompanied to Perth by a junior team competing in individual classes against their Australian peers.