Wednesday, February 25, 2009

SCA -Nestle Professional Junior Chef of the Year Competition 2009

SCA -Nestle Professional Junior Chef of the Year Competition 2009
The first SCA-Nestle Professional Junior Chefs of the Year Competition, jointly organised by Singapore Chefs Association and Singapore Junior Chefs Club was held on 18th February 2009 at the Temasek Culinary Academy. The event that was proudly sponsored by Nestle Professional brought many young budding chefs, aged 25 and below, from various culinary institutes and even from the industry together.

The sole purpose of the competition is to develop a creative menu using the newly launched concentrated seasonings from Nestle, which are the Chef’s Secret and MAGGI Mild Salsa Sauce. Chef’s Secret is created with the passion from some of the world’s best chefs along with the latest development in sensorial technology. The result— an all-purpose seasoning powder that is balanced, versatile and concentrated. Versatile and convenient to use, Chef’s Secret can be applied to most cooking methods including frying, steaming, boiling, stewing and marinating. It can also be applied to vegetarian dishes. What was most challenging, yet exciting for the competitors is that seasonings with sodium content such as salt and soy sauce are strictly not allowed to be used for the competition.

The competition that lasted for hours, with each team given 2 hours to prepare their dishes, was filled with so much passion and adrenaline rush. Each team had portrayed their own unique cooking technique and style for their own creations. Even though the chefs were busy at work, the whole kitchen was relatively clean as almost all the teams were vying to get the Best Hygiene Award.

Finally, the prize presentation ceremony came. Best Hygiene Award was awarded to Team Tulashi from At-Sunrice Global Chef Academy. The 2nd Runner Up Award was awarded to Simply B.ales from Temasek Polytechnic and the 1st Runner Up Award was awarded to SATS Junior Team. Lastly, came the presentation of the Award for the Champion of SCA-Nestle Professional Junior Chefs of the Year Competition and the award went to Team SJCC. Team SJCC was awarded the Champion trophy, together with paid air ticket and 5 nights free accommodation for 2, to participate in the Oceanafest Salon Olympia Culinaire 2009, Perth with the Singapore Culinary National Team.
SCA-Nestle Professional Junior Chefs of the Year Competition 2009 was a great success! Congratulations to all and Good Job!

Winning team Team SJCC together with WA Oceanafest National Culinary Team

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Origins of Yu Sheng

The Origins of Yu Sheng
Yu Sheng is the first thing that comes to mind for many Singaporeans & it is a must have for every Chinese New Year. Traditionally, raw mackerel was used in Yu Sheng, but as salmon became popular, salmon was used as a replacement. Customarily, Yu Sheng is consumed on the 7th day of the Lunar New Year, however nowadays; many people eat it during any of the days during the festival.

It was created in 1964 by by master chef Than Mui Kai, who was named along with Lau Yoke Pui, Hooi Kok Wai and Sin Leong as one of the Four Heavenly Culinary Kings of Singapore. Yu Sheng we know today originated from a raw fish dish served with porridge in China, but Chef Than Mui Kai made it a dish that has spread throughout Asia and is now a tradition practiced by many in Singapore and Malaysia. Yu Sheng’s unique taste comes from a mix that uses plum sauce, rice vinegar, kumquat paste and sesame oil, which is then drizzled on raw fish, shredded carrots, chilli, turnips, limes, jellyfish, red pickled ginger, sun-dried oranges, crackers and other ingredients, which may reach an outstanding total of 27 ingredients. While adding the ingredients, one is to say positive statements, which match the flavour of the ingredient used.

In Mandarin, Yu Sheng directly translates to"raw fish" but since "fish (鱼)" has the same tone as “abundance (余)”, Yúshēng (鱼生) is interpreted as (余升) meaning to increase in abundance. Hence, it is a symbol of abundance, prosperity and vigour.

The act of tossing the Yu Sheng salad is called Lo Hei, meaning to toss in Cantonese. While tossing the salad, one is to say auspicious sentences or their wishes for the New Year. It is believed the higher the toss, the more luck one will obtain.

With Culinary Spirits,
Sam Yilin