Judge and executive chef of the Ballina RSL and Bowling Club, Gerhard Spatz, overlooks Wollongbar apprentice chef Nadia de Jong as she competes in the WorldSkills Cookery Competition.
Judge and executive chef of the Ballina RSL and Bowling Club, Gerhard Spatz, overlooks Wollongbar apprentice chef Nadia de Jong as she competes in the WorldSkills Cookery Competition. Jay Cronan

Whipping up a winner

THEY had to be apprentice chefs attending TAFE courses and they had to be under 19 years of age.

Yesterday morning in the commercial kitchen at the Wollongbar TAFE campus, a quiet hum descended as 11 apprentices from the Northern Rivers set about preparing entrees, main courses and desserts, competing in the WorldSkills Cookery Competition.

They had to prepare, cook and serve two portions of each course by lunchtime.

The competition was open to apprentices from the Mid and Far North coasts, with two winners in each section. The winners will go to the national titles next year and have a chance to compete in the international finals in Germany in 2013.

Annie Cavanagh from You and I Catering is a TAFE cookery teacher and was one of yesterday's three judges, alongside chef Daniel Lange from Byron Bay and executive chef Gerhard Spatz from Ballina.

"It was a great day, with great smells and great tastes," Ms Cavanagh told The Northern Star.

"Students were judged on their preparation, cooking, timing, hygiene, presentation and of course the taste of their entries. The winners' entries were outstanding."

TAFE Wollongbar's commercial cookery co-ordinator David Foster said it had taken a huge effort by many people to enable the apprentices to achieve their goals in the competition.

"All our eligible apprentices went in for it, and the result was very close," he said.

Gold medal winner Nadia de Jong said she felt "really good" about her success.

"My family is all into cooking - my uncle was a chef and we spent five years living in France, where I'd go to the markets with my grandparents and choose the best produce to take home and cook.

"That was a really influential time for me. Food was the centrepiece of our day.

"All the same, when I get home tonight I might ask my boyfriend, who is also a chef, to cook our dinner!"

 

The winners are:

Gold: Nadia de Jong, from the Byron @ Byron, and Joseph O'Grady, from Fleurs, Ballina

Silver: Jessica Logan and Elvis Allenby, both of the Ballina RSL

Bronze: Angelica Rose, from The Point, Ballina Ramada, and Brad Cooper, from the Casino RSM



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