The Winning Edge
Hilary Biller, tasting judge in the Sunday Times Chef Of The Year competition, has some advice for this year's entrants
READ THE ENTRY FORM
The first round of the competition is the most exciting as it’s the first time the judges come together. It’s sad that many entries are eliminated at this early stage due to the rules not being followed, for instance failure to use not using any of the stipulated ingredients featured on the entry form.
The entry is the key to the competition and yes, first impressions do count. Things like neatness and accuracy may seem trivial in a cooking competition, but are important. We often find photography is overlooked. There is nothing like a good picture to tempt a group of hungry judges. Dishes are best photographed on white plates on white backgrounds. This way the food is the hero.
KEEP IT CLEAR
There’s an art to writing a recipe. Start by creating an appetising name for it, which accurately describes your dish; then list all the ingredients in the order they are called for in the recipe. Ensure that recipes are original and easy to follow. Simplicity is often the best policy.
WHAT’S INSIDE COUNTS
In each category of the competition, finalists are given access to a vast pantry from which to select ingredients, beyond the compulsory mystery basket ingredients. Many of last year’s contestants were conservative in their choices, sticking to the more common produce. Exploring more unusual indigenous ingredients may have given them the winning edge.
KNOW YOUR WAY AROUND
Once the finalists have been chosen, they would do well to familiarise themselves with the kitchen at Foodcorp’s The 7th Floor, where the competition will take place. Chef Henrico Grobbelaar, winner in 2009, says his scouting out the kitchen and appliances beforehand was his trump card.
SUNDAY TIMES CHEF OF YEAR 2012
CHEF OF THE YEAR (first prize R50000, second R15000, third R5000) is open to professional chefs over 30.
* YOUNG CHEF OF THE YEAR (first prize R20000, second R5000, third R2000) is open to qualified chefs between the ages of 25 and 30.
* JUNIOR CHEF OF THE YEAR (first prize R10000, second R2000, third R1000) is open to qualified chefs under 25.
* STALWART OF THE KITCHEN (first prize R10000, plus R1000 for each finalist) is open to cooks and chefs over the age of 35 who have never entered a competition before. This is for those whose work forms the backbone of the kitchen. They do not need a professional qualification.
HOW TO ENTER:
Entries must be received by Friday September 14 2012.
Finalists will be notified by Friday September 21.
The finals will take place at The 7th Floor, Foodcorp’s Innovation Centre, from October 2 to 4.
For full details, rules, guidelines, lists of required ingredients and competition entry forms, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit www.facebook.com/sundaytimeschefoftheyear Follow us on Twitter for updates too @STChef2012