By Pauline Stewart.
It seemed like chaos but it wasn’t. Far from it. Every Home Economics student in the Year 10 class at Mercury Bay Area School was in the throws of preparing their favourite burger from ‘scratch’.
This means each student had ordered the ingredients for the burger prior to this cooking competition from a long list of options down to the choice of bread for the bun, choice of cheese and contents of the mince. The mince needed to be cooked, ingredients sorted, sliced and measured and contents arranged exactly as they would have them to serve the burger to a chef.
This is a key point. There was a guest chef, and this chef was to judge the best tasting and best presented burger and there were to be two runners-up.
The competition was keen and time was also a consideration. Everyone had the same time to prepare their burger before presenting it to the chef. Accompanying their plate was a list of the ingredients the student had used.
Encouragement and advice could be sought from Sue Huntleigh-Smith, (known as Mrs HS - Home Science or Boss of the Kitchen) as well as Tracey Spiers, the Hospitality teacher. This cooking competition in previous years before covid had the student travelling to Hamilton competing with other schools This is very difficult with the SH25 A closures and the threat of more slips, so the decision was made to invite a guest chef to come and be the taster and judge. It wasn’t quite the level of Master Chef, but the students worked hard and there was an air of competitiveness and jovial rivalry.
For Sarah Fordham, the Chef of Marina Bay Eatery on the Esplanade in Whitianga, there were a lot of burgers to taste. With Sarah’s partner and tasting assistant (too many for one person) Jess Francis, both struggled a little with about 28 presentations. The students enjoyed their special visitors very much.
The results are to be announced and prizes awarded after the second Home Economics Class does the same exercise this week. The informer will be publishing the winners and some hints from The Chef.
Comments from the Home Economics Room during the cooking competition -
“One put pineapple- that changed the taste playing field – you look for the difference.”.
“Can we eat it now?” Toby
“I was disappointed. I had to leave on an errand and when I returned. The bun I had selected was gone. I felt robbed.” Wyatt
“My list was massive, the only one with onion rings.” Anon
“I asked myself – is this (the burger) what I would love to eat?” Anon
"One wise saying – “It all starts with the prep. Put all your love into the prep.’ Chef Sarah.
Caption: The only student to present onion rings with the burger.