Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Whirlpool Challenge cookoffs

The cookoffs at Devonport High started at 9.00 am with the Year 9/10’s Heat 1 teams, then continued on with the Year 11/12’s teams, then 9/10’s again with Heat 2. After the team events came the individual efforts, which I unfortunately missed due to having to take a student back to Hobart in time for a late afternoon dental appointment.

The students all performed brilliantly, demonstrating varying levels of competency and complexity. The buzz in the room (the gym at Devonport High) was palpable, with no one relaxing or slacking off. I have added pics, below, of some of the food produced yesterday and hope you will agree with me that the standard was excellent.

Concurrent to the cookery competition, two separate displays featured decorated cakes/gateaux, as well as muffins which had been entered in the separate competition.

Fee Hoskin was one of the judges for the cake/muffin competition and told me today that the chocolate cake (below, made by a pastry chef from Anvers) featured highly, as did the one decorated with butterflies (below, made by a student). Previously, Fee and I had wandered around the cake display chatting about the various cakes, and it wasn’t until Fee pointed it out to me that I realised that this cake’s layers were separated by a specially handcrafted chocolate plate, as well as sitting on another chocolate plate. Brilliant specialty work!

I watched the Friends school team for a while as they battled to finish up some beautiful looking food.

Lucy, a delightful and enthusiastic student at Devonport High was extremely proud of her cake, below.

But the thing that truly bowled me over was finding out about a separate aspect of life at Devonport High which I had never previously heard of or suspected. Thanks to the initiative of my brilliant former colleague Brian Webber, he showed me through the school’s Catering kitchen. This is a separate entity at the school which runs as a business, doing catering jobs for commercial functions, with the Year 9/10 students taking responsibility for all aspects of the transaction, including ultimately delivering the food to the client, hence taking total responsibility for the deal.

The students catered for Targa lunches this year in the Devonport leg, and apparently did extremely well.

They produce young people who are totally at home walking straight into a hospitality workplace, all ready to rock and roll. This is the brainchild of wonder teacher Matthew Jago, who is passionate about cookery and the education of his students in the finer arts of practical training. The students get accredited for their competencies as they achieve them at school with the catering jobs, and hence can quite easily slide into an apprenticeship or traineeship in hospitality at the completion of their schooling.

Inspirational work! I congratulate everyone concerned on the day, and hope to see much more of the same for our up and coming chefs.

Posted on by Rita


steve said...

Looks like a model we could use down here Rita, any leads?

Rita said...

I'm working on bringing it down here for next year Steve.

Anonymous said...

the cakes look nice except for the choocy skid-mark under the macarons

Rita said...

I thought the 'skid mark' was very Masterchef-influenced

Christina said...

Have to say I looked at said "skid mark" and thought yuk!
Perhaps that could have been done a little diferently but the idea was great.
I'm so impressed! Especially with the cakes. They look amazing.
How talented are these kids?

sir grumpy said...

Yes cakes look great. How's the michelin spare tyre, rita?

Rita said...

Sir G - glad you approve of the cakes, especially now you have been named by Nick Haddow as our food guru, but please don't give me a complex about my michelin! I love my food way too much!

Anonymous said...

Masterchef seems to have a lot to answer for, soory influence over the dishes here.

Lonie Polony said...

My, those children did well. Quite puts me to shame.

I must say, my first thought on seeing the photos seems to be that which many had, namely, "I know the chocolate smear seems to be popular now, but it does look rather like an unappetising accident in somebody's pants."

Anonymous said...

Hey LP

You may know that Rita has been deleting quite a few posts lately and I reckon yours should be one of them.

We all love chocolate and your post just... well puts a bad taste in ones mouth!

Not good for the chocolate industry!


Rita said...

Hi P - I will never delete a comment of Lonies. If you read her blog, you'll understand her, and read her comment in the lighthearted way she meant it.

anbsing said...

Hi Rita and all on blog site, my name is Adrian Singline and I am the Co-Founder and Coordinator of the TAS Cook Comp with my partner in crime Matt Jago, we both are chefs and both are hospitality/food studies teachers and love every minute of it. Just a point I would like to make about the chocolate smear, I think it looks very different on a bright white plate BUT I don’t remember seeing these macaroons being cooked on the day and I remember the judges talking about them. Please correct me if I am wrong Rita??? I hand pick all judges and have done for the past 6 years and think this years judges were fantastic and did a fantastic job. Anyone else out there that would like to judge next year please put your hands up...Also we are after help with working parties for next years event. HOT TIP we are both flying off to Bathurst NSW for their first cook comp in 2 weeks time, so will keep you all posted and will have some pics to show, we are also judging with Lucas from Master chef 09 at this event.

For any more info and soon to be added pictures from the 09 event please visit our web site Thank you all.

Rita said...

Hi Adrian - many thanks for your contribution above. Unfortunately I didn't get to meet you on Tuesday, but Brian did point you out to me. I would have loved to have had a longer chat with Matthew, and meet with you too but obviously there was a bit more going on than Rita's blog interests!
Great news about the Bathurst cook-off. I hope you email me with an account of how things went, and some pics. I will add them here if that's OK.
Re the macaroons/chocolate smear - not quite sure what you meant with your question. I would presume the contestants didn't cook the macaroons on the day for 2 reasons: 1 the lack of oven control/space (there being only the one oven to be used by everyone in each event) at the venue, and 2 didn't the rules state that for some items participants could have pre-prepared things like stocks etc? If it had been me interpreting the rules (I stand corrected here btw), I would have pre-cooked the macaroons too, especially as I knew I wouldn't have control of the oven temps etc on the day, even assuming I could fit my macaroon tray in the oven along with everyone else cooking in my heat who wanted to use the oven for one of their courses.
Anyway - that aside, I was SO inspired by everything I saw on the day, and congratulate both you and Matthew for an excellent job extremely well done.

Anonymous said...

Leo' at it again in the Merc. tassie food standards low=yawn
Weekend Australian mag, 50 best rest in Aus-Tassie gets two-Balck Cow & the Source=yawn

Anonymous said...

yeh im yawning with you anon

Victor said...

Rita - what a lovely post. The kids are truly inspirational, considering what they could plate on the table. Great effort! Thanks.

anbsing said...

Hi Rita, from what I heard from the judges they did mark this particular dish down as the rules to clearly sate ONLY major stock reductions and sauces can be prepared. NEVER in the comps 6 years have people been able to bring in pre made desserts or chocolate garnishes etc, really it hurting the team as they do get marked down if they can not show everything being made by them on the day. I did see, unfortunately pre made chocolate baskets brought in, pity as the dessert came up a treat. On the issue of Ovens, sorry to correct you Rita but there was in fact 3 commercial ovens available on the day - 1- on the comp arena floor set at 180degrees (which had little use on the day), 2 - extremely large pizza oven in the commercial kitchen where people washed up set at 200 degrees, and the 3rd oven in the same room set at 220 degrees. All competitors were made aware of this at the briefing prior to their commencement of their respective section. It was their own choice to use these ovens if they needed etc. The dessert in question looked great i think and again I am a fan of the smear but being pre made and brought in doesn’t do it justice unfortunately.

With that all said ALL students and ALL trade sections did a fantastic job on the day and after 6 years of this comp this years competitors was down a little, and with that said we wouldl love to have your help and support for next year to boost the numbers a little if possible. Next year is already being set and with the winners from Bathurst coming down to compete and in negotiations with Brisbane at the moment looks like next year will be packed once again, busy busy busy.

Thanks for the comments Rita we do appreciate your support.

Rita said...

Hi Andsing - thanks for your reply. I'm glad you elaborated on the oven issue, as I mentioned to one of our teachers after the Year 9/10 heats, when she was talking about the one oven there in the gym, that I'd been in the commercial kitchen (where they all washed up later) and one of the D'port High contestants had rushed in, grabbbed his quail dish from the oven and whizzed back to the gym. I later saw the quail dish plated up and on display. The teacher I was speaking to apparently didn't hear what you mentioned above about the fact that at the briefing you'd explained they could use the other 2 ovens in the separate building, as she expressed surprise about that. I'm glad they had 2 other alternatives, oven-wise.

I hope to see a bigger and better event next year - should be really exciting, and I'll contact you about it soon, or you can email me. Matthew has my email address at work. I support you 100%.

Lonie Polony said...

(((Rita))) (hugs to Rita)

I always find it disconcerting when someone misunderstands me or takes offence where none was intended. Thanks for sticking up for me and realising no harm was meant :)

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Lonie and Rita, my post was intended to be funny.
I will have to go and get my sense of humour checked out!


Rita said...

Au contraire P - you'll have to get your sense of humour checked IN!
(That's a joke, btw!)