The pressure will be on when cooking and hospitality students compete live at the Southern Lights Salon Culinaire Saturday 20 May. This is an annual competition, organised by Ara Institute of Canterbury, Otago Polytechnic Cromwell and the Southern Institute of Technology for cookery students, trainee chefs and people in the hospitality industry to test their skills against each other.
“The competition is divided into different kitchen and restaurant classes and categories, including a live component where entrants prepare and present a dish, and a static component, including cold desserts and gateau’s which were prepared in advance,” Salon Director and Ara Cookery tutor Steve Le Corre says.
Participants can win a bronze, silver or gold medal if they reach the required standards. There will be one overall winner for each class and category. The participant with the highest points across everything will receive the title of the year, and will go to the national competition in Auckland later this year.
Ara Certificate in Cookery student Yukiko Mori will participate in one of the live events, in the soup category. It will be her first cooking competition.
“I’m excited, but also a little bit nervous. I think it will be a good experience for me, and it will also be good on my CV for when I’ll be looking for a job”.
Yukiko, who is originally from Japan, is making a Greek lemon and chicken soup.
“The recipe is not influenced by my culture. I’ve made a lot of Japanese food before. Now I want to learn something different. That’s why I’m trying recipes from different countries.”
Cookery student Yukiko Moki in the training kitchen.
The live events are great to learn to work under pressure, Le Corre says. “Students gain a huge amount from this competition. It develops their skills and it stimulates more interest, because they’re doing something on their own. It stimulates their appetite to go and do more.”
The Salon Culinaire competition is being held at the Ara Timaru campus this year. The competition rotates between the three tertiary institutes and this edition has attracted more than 80 competitors from all over the southern region.
Judges are a mixture of hospitality staff, industry managers and chefs. The competition runs from 8am until 4pm in TC and TA-block at the Timaru Campus. Prize giving will be at 5.30pm in the STARZ Restaurant (TC-block). The public is welcome to come along.
Live cooking competitions, static displays, school classes, open classes, cocktail and Barista competitions.