Scampi tortelloni and hard-work has seen an AUT trainee chef make the top four in the annual Fonterra Foodservices Proud to be a Chef competition.
The 10 finalists were all celebrated at an event at AUT on Wednesday night and student Lyle Robertson from the School of Hospitality and Tourism, who works at Euro restaurant, was just one deserving chef.
The four winners were selected after the finalists met in the kitchen to cook an original recipe they had created in an effort to show the highly esteemed judging panel how they handled the heat.
Each of the top four takes away an all expenses paid trip to Melbourne where they will meet Australia’s best trainee chefs to compete for an international culinary sponsorship valued at $7,500, tailored to the winner’s aspirations for their professional career as a chef.
Lyle Robertson's experience
Robertson says although the nerves were running high he’d been working hard in the lead-up to the cook-off.
“This was my third competition so I was really ready for the challenge,” he says.
“I put in the hard yards and I did feel that I had a good shot at it.”
The calibre of the other contestants and the well-run and professional event made the experience all the more valuable for him.
All about the competition
The cook off was judged by top chefs Michael Meredith (Merediths, 2011 Cuisine Restaurant of the Year winner), Tony Astle (Antoine’s), Geoff Scott (Vinnies) and Brenda Tweddell from Fonterra Foodservices.
The judges were looking for a mix of passion and ambition along with an interesting and successful recipe.
Judge Brenda Tweddell said the standard of cooking was excellent and the judging panel commended each of the finalists for putting on a tough competition.
“We were treated to some innovative and exciting dishes from young chefs who had put a lot of effort into their creations. It is a credit to their respective training organisations for nurturing artistic chefs who are of great benefit to the industry.”
Robertson’s winning dish was a Scampi tortellini with a baby pea mousse and a boublanc sauce.
The three other winning chefs were William Mordido from Auckland, Zac Saunders from Lower Hutt and Zane Neutroski from Christchurch.