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Local Flavour

By Joanna Mannington

Junior MasterChef Heats

Mercury Bay Area School held its inaugural Junior Masterchef Heats on Wednesday 23 November in the food room. Sixty two children from Year 7 and 8 (Intermediate School) joined by a few 9’s (third form) entered this year and the standard of food prepared, cooked and presented was the best to date. The kitchen was humming all day with positive energy.

In the heats, the students had an hour to cook their ‘Signature’ dish. They could work with a partner if they wished. It was interesting to see what the students chose to cook. There was a repeat of sushi, nachos, burgers, pasta dishes and curry and spaghetti bolognaise - all dishes that we make in class. The boy’s dishes were protein heavy and demonstrated their ability cooking steak, fish and beef patties. Several students made their sauces and doughs from scratch. It was encouraging to see that lots of vegetables were present in the dishes, that savoury dishes outnumbered sweet, and that clean-up was completed quickly and without struggle.

Thanks to the parents for supporting their children to supply the ingredients and the home room teachers for reminding and supporting their students to organise themselves.

We had a mixture of teachers and senior students judging the final dishes alongside my observations on the technical, health, safety and teamwork components. The finals will be judged by local hospitality business owners and the winners will receive gift vouchers from ESPY Café. Thanks for their support of our Hospitality programmes this year.

The following children won their heats.

Heat 1: Kayden Te Manu and Nikora Marks for their triple beef burger. The burger patties were cooked so that they were caramelised on the outside and were moist and juicy on the inside. They were stacked with grilled cheese and burger sauce. Buns were toasted and there was a good helping of salad. Presentation was simple but the wow factor was the height, layering and colours of the fresh ingredients. The burger tasted as good as it looked. These boys were finished first and cleaned up well.

Heat 2: Maggie Warwick and Molly Casey A tasty, balanced and well-cooked execution of several components demonstrated the skill, organisation and team work of this pair. The presentation of their curry and all the side dishes was fresh and appealing with a contrast of textures spice and temperatures. The chicken was cooked safely and was tender in its sauce. The rice was cooked perfectly - must have been listening in class, and the poppadum was crisp.

Heat 3: Gray Hill made pork and prawn gyoza that were plump, juicy, crispy and had a deliciously balanced dipping sauce. Thought was put into the presentation with Gray bringing in presentation platters from home. He worked solo and was well organised, safe and hygienic. The judges ate the whole platter. The winners will be joining the following semi-finalists on Wednesday, 30 November for the Finals which will test their skills with a mystery bag challenge.

Caption : Maggie Warwick and Molly Casey.


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