The inaugural NSW City Vs Country Apprentice Chef Challenge for apprenticed chefs and held at the Watershed Hotel in Darling Harbour was won by the country team, comprising four apprentices from Mudgee TAFE College and four from the Riverina Institute (Albury and Wagga Wagga).
The four apprentices from Mudgee are all in the second year of their training and are students of Mudgee TAFE College. Jamie Henderson and Michael Oakley are both employed by Fish in the Bush Seafood Restaurant. Beau Irvine is from the Wineglass Bar and Grill and Toby Smith works at Waratah Hotel.
Their TAFE Teacher, Kieren Norris organised their participation in the challenge and has good reason to be proud of their achievements. He said, "The Mudgee participants had to team up with the other four, work out their roles in the team, take on a "mystery box" of ingredients, plan a menu and prepare canapés and a three-course meal for 45 of the 90 guests.
"Guests were made up of key industry representatives - from the hotel, food supply, wine and training industries.
The event was coordinated by 2008 Australian Hoteliers Association's NSW Chef of the Year, Daniel Fountain from the Watershed Hotel. "The whole even is Daniel's brainchild", Keiren said.
The judging panel included Humi Zaidi Head Chef Crowne Plaza Darling Harbour, Vanessa Larson from Hills Lodge and Shane Jones from Club Menai. "The judges looked at every aspect of professional cooking and included organisation and planning, cleanliness, menu choice and execution and time management."
Kieren also praised Daniel Fountain for the way the event was organised which included the hospitability and mentoring offered to the competing teams. "All the competitors' transport and accommodation was provided and they were really well looked after over the three days of the event"
"The experience of the competition was really worthwhile for the Mudgee apprentices, and to see them come home as winners of the challenge is fantastic", Kieren said.
Adrian Mitchell, TAFE Western, Institute Director has also congratulated the team and Kieren Norris, their teacher. He said, "This recognition highlights the commitment of the students, and the contribution of their teachers and employers make to their training"
"This award is another great achievement for hospitably at Mudgee. I would like to convey my best wishes to these young men for the remainder for their apprenticeships and in their future careers."
Media enquiries: Hugh Haynes (02) 6393 5930 or 0447 205 411