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Gourmet baked potato for just $3

Gourmet baked potato for just $3

17 year old Jodi Gatchell used both budgeting and cooking skills to win a UCOL competition for a great tasting baked potato recipe that costs no more than $3 to make.

Jodi created a baked potato dish using a creative range of ingredients, including silver beet, bacon, feta cheese and chilli and ginger sauce.

She doesn’t plan to stop at winning the competition: She’s just finished her final year at Awatapu College and has enrolled for the one year Certificate in Hospitality and Professional Cookery at UCOL. She plans to get the international City and Guilds Certificate in Food Preparation and Cooking, as well as two further certificates from UCOL.

Jodi has also started work as a chef at Café Cuba after working there part time in the kitchen, and has done work experience at Aqaba. She says she asked all of her employers whether she should study “and they all said if I wanted to get somewhere I should do the programmes at UCOL.”

To create her $3 potato recipe, Jodi used budgeting skills learned at Awatapu College as well as her experience baking potatoes at Café Cuba. She started with the price of the potato then worked up, basing her costs on four servings – just the right number to trial the dish at home with her parents and sisters.

Chef Lecturer Nigel Sadler says Jodi’s creation was unusual in its combination of flavours, looked good on the plate and provided great value for money. But the real proof will be in the eating by 20 of Jodi’s best friends. As winner, she not only receives a set of chef knifes but also gets to invite her friends to a special lunch at UCOL’s training restaurant, Ambitions. Her recipe will feature on the menu.

The baked potato competition was open to all secondary school students in the Manawatu, and was held to mark the United Nation’s International Year of the Potato. Chef Nigel says it was also a great way to demonstrate that good food needn’t be expensive, given the need to be economical in difficult financial times.

Samantha Davey from Palmerston North Girls’ High School took second place. Jessica Love from St Peters College was third, and fourth place went to Stewart Smyth from Feilding High School. They all receive a copy of Potato Favourites by Allyson Gofton as prizes.

If you want to try Jodi’s recipe, you need:

4 medium potatoes

4 rashers of bacon

4 tablespoons of sweet chilli and ginger sauce

125 grams of feta cheese

Half a bunch of silver beet.

1. Bake the potatoes in a microwave or a conventional oven.

2. Chip and fry the bacon until crispy.

3. Chop silver beet into strips.

4. Chop feta into small squares and put some aside for the top.

5. When the potatoes are done, leave to cool for 20 minutes then scoop out the middles.

6. Mix with the bacon, silver beet, feta and chilli sauce.

7. Stuff skins with the mixture, top with extra feta and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

8. Serve straight out of the oven with extra chilli and ginger sauce on the side.

The Year of the Potato has been a good one for UCOL’s School of School of Tourism, Hospitality and Continuing Education.

Earlier this year three Culinary students won a visit to Savour New Zealand, an elite food and wine master class held in Auckland in May, for their orginal potato dishes. The competition, run by Horticulture New Zealand, required entrants to create short videos of an original potato dish and upload it onto the competition website.

You can find out more about UCOL’s Certificate in Professional Cookery Level 3 at


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