Young Norfolk chefs serve up a feast in bid for top title
Three of Norfolk's top young chefs went ladle to ladle yesterday as they battled it out for a prestigious honour.
Edd Watkinson, Lewis Orr and Nikita Hoskin took part in a MasterChef-style cook-off at City College Norwich as they competed to be named Chef of the Future in the 2011 EDP Norfolk Food and Drink Awards.
All had been shortlisted to take part in the contest and were under the stringent gaze of a judging panel as they concocted a main and dessert course for two.
The talented trio were tasked with planning and costing their own two-course menu, with a maximum price of �7 per head.
They were presented with a local free-range chicken and six organic eggs, but had to use their imagination and resourcefulness to arrange other ingredients to make their meals.
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The gifted three were given 30 minutes to prepare, an hour and 45 minutes to create the dishes and then 30 minutes to clean up.
During this time the judges scrutinised their organisation, hygienic practices and preparation work, as well as the final taste, colour, texture and presentation.
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In the judging panel was Holiday Inn regional operations manager Tim Wainwright-Noble, City College's food curriculum programme manager Joe Mulhall, lecturer Nigel Crane and Rachel Baker, from Archant Norfolk – the publisher of the EDP.
Mr Mulhall said: 'We have got a real range of people in the room.
'We have the educational side, industry and also the consumer eye as well.'
Holiday Inn sponsor the award and bringing his expertise to the judging panel was Mr Wainwright-Noble, who has previously worked as an executive chef in five star and Michelin star restaurants.
He said he was looking for a 'wow factor' among the finalists' menus, as well as their presentation and hygiene.
'They are young so we are not looking for a top level chef, but looking for natural ability and something that shows they have gone away and thought about what they have put on the plate,' he said.
He added that he had seen the standard get 'better and better' during his four year association with the award.
Mr Crane said that he had been very impressed with the three, who had each shown very strong elements to their work.
He said: 'I am looking for someone who can show an understanding of the classic methods of cooking, but can add a modern twist.'
The award was open to Norfolk chefs under the age of 25.
It is one of nine categories in the 2011 EDP Norfolk Food and Drink Awards.
Although the judges made their decision about the winner yesterday, the three hopefuls will have to wait until Monday, September 5 to discover who won at a gala dinner and awards ceremony at the Holiday Inn Norwich North.