Thursday, June 2, 2011

Corrine's FHI Junior Asian Chefs Challenge experience

Our first meeting was held at ToTT Store in November 2010. Some we had worked together before, some were acquaintances, while others were new. I remembered how we sat around the table, trying to be as comfortable as possible with people we have never seen before, not knowing who will be the ones fighting hand in hand with you on this culinary battle field.

Time was running out and we needed to gel quickly. All of us!

Nick, Tiffany and I were selected for the FHI 2011 Junior Asian Chefs Challenge which took place on the 7th April 2011. Prior to the competition we experimented on dishes, each and every component, to see what worked and work didn't. We received valuable feedback from our advisors, and made necessary changes each time we practised. We finally confirmed the menu we would be working on.

Upon our arrival at the hotel, we realised that certain ingredients were damaged along the way and could not be used. Equipments broke and we had to search the supermarkets the night we arrive. The team’s spirit was very down, and everyone was already feeling tired on the first day.

We were scheduled for competition on the third day of the trip. On the secong day, we did our mise en place with the help of Chef Tian Mu and Chef Athejo in the hotel’s production kitchen. We thank the hotel's chefs for there generousity and kind hospitality, even though they themselves participated in the event.

On the third day, the competition day, we woke up very early in the morning and did a final check on all the items needed to be at the hall. Caught up in a little jam, hiccups here and there, and we finally reached our destination. When it was the team’s turn to do kitchen set up, we realized that the stove wasn’t working well, the chiller broke down and we needed to be flexible with our initial plans. The technicians came in a while and managed to fix the chiller, which was a great relieve to us!

The two hours marathon started and we did nothing but the best, at least to our ability. Some equipments did not work and we ran short of time after the first hour but we knew we had to press on. Chef Tian Mu and Chef Athejo had been taken for a roller-coaster ride for the solid two hours, being absolutely anxious for us, while the team members were pushing on to complete and perfect the final touches.

At long last, the results were announced and we did not managed to clinch a Gold Medal for the club. Although our emotions we low, we were not defeated. We just knew we had to do a self- reflection and perform better in our next competition!

Fight on!

Best Culinary Spirits,
Corinne Ruth