Cooking competition heats up 

Award-winning chef team Andrew Chan and Jimmy Jong with team manager Jason Wilkes (centre)

Student chefs are in even hotter demand following their triumphant win at the Northern Territory Golden Chef’s Hat 2008 awards.

The winners of the prestigious Golden Chef’s Hat award, Andrew Chan and Tommy Jong, are both in the final stages of a Certificate III in commercial cookery at Charles Darwin University.

Both are apprentices at the Waterfront Bistro Darwin Sailing Club and are set to complete their qualifications in June 2009.

The winners were chosen from a field of 20 competitors, formed into 10 teams.

Competing teams were given a mystery box of ingredients and tasked with creating a three-course menu with the contents.

Andrew and Tommy used fresh, local ingredients to prepare their winning menu, which comprised an entrée of fresh mussels in tomato coulee on a base of homemade gnocchi, followed by a roulade of barramundi with tom yum broth. The final dish on the award-winning menu was chocolate nemesis tart.

The Golden Chef’s Hat is a prestigious opportunity for talented new chefs to demonstrate their culinary flair and provides a chance of recognition in the international cooking arena.

Winners of the NT competition will represent the Territory at the national competition in Melbourne later this year under the guidance of team manager Jason Wilkes.  National winners will join a team of Australian chefs and represent Australia at the Culinary Olympics.

Judges of this year’s competition were Nestle chef and national manager Peter Dipeno; manager and master chef of the Australian Culinary Federation George Hill; and local chefs Tim De’Sousa from the Trailer Boat Club, and Darren Brenner from the Buzz café. CDU cookery lecturer Steven Sunk, and cookery and bakery Team Leader Bharat Desai were also part of the judging panel.